There’s been a lot of talk this summer—especially at Mountain West Media Days—about the strength of the Mountain West at quarterback. Let’s discuss amongst ourselves. The last time there was this kind of buzz was 2013, the “Year of the Quarterback.” The headliner was Fresno State’s Derek Carr, considered at the time a Heisman Trophy candidate. Carr didn’t make it New York, but he has had a decent NFL career in Oakland. There was also San Jose State’s David Fales, who played two NFL seasons, plus Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton, Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson. Boise State’s Joe Southwick, going into his senior year, was kind of an honorable mention in that club.
This year’s group is led by USU’s Jordan Love, plus Hawaii’s Cole McDonald and UNLV’s Armani Rogers (by the luck of the draw, Boise State gets to face all of them). But Love is not a logical Heisman candidate, and there’s plenty of unknowns after that trio. For example, Phil Steele’s fourth-team preseason All-Mountain West quarterback is Wyoming’s Sean Chambers, who threw all of 25 passes last season, although he did string together three straight 100-yard rushing games. The 2019 MW cast doesn’t measure up to the one six years ago at the outset. But it’s not where you start, of course; it’s where you finish. Where will Boise State’s QB fit in—once we know who it is—at the end of the season?
THE OTHER CHOICE AT NO. 2
Do not forget about senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson this month. Some “ifs” for you: If Chase Cord is 100 percent at the outset of the season—and if Boise State is fortunate enough to redshirt Hank Bachmeier—Henderson is a solid bet for the No. 2 spot. He was Brett Rypien’s primary backup for the final two months of last season after Cord tore his ACL. But it was a scary proposition, as Henderson was unproven. He still is, but he’s ready to step it up, and he’s proving to be a leader. How many of us considered last winter that Henderson would actually be in this position come fall camp? But he showed in the spring game that he has come miles from where he was a year ago. Henderson was 9-for-13 for 187 yards and the day’s lone TD pass. It’s not so scary anymore.
THE WIN THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
To honor college football’s 150th anniversary, Sports Illustrated released its top 10 bowl games of all-time Monday. And there it is at No. 1: the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. You already know all this, but it never gets old. Here’s the narrative from SI’s Scooby Axson: “On paper, this game had no business being competitive. Boise State, a mid-major upstart, was a touchdown underdog against Oklahoma, a member of college football royalty. The two teams scored 22 points in the final 90 seconds of regulation, with Boise blowing an 18-point lead along the way before using a 50-yard hook-and-lateral play on 4th-and-18 in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game. Down by a point in overtime, Boise continued its trickery, using a Statue of Liberty play to win the game, setting off a wild celebration, complete with a marriage proposal.” Yessir.
KELLEN’S O.C. DEBUT: FORGETTABOUTIT
You knew the cynical ones in Cowboys Nation—and there are lots of them—would be going ballistic over offensive coordinator Kellen Moore guiding Dallas to just nine points in the preseason opener against San Francisco. The best line I’ve seen is a headline in the Wichita Falls Times Record News: “Kellen Moore’s offense provides chance for Dallas Cowboys fans to overreact.” Quarterback Dak Prescott started, completed all four of his throws, and was done. Backup Mike White misfired on two probable touchdown passes in the second half. It was a preseason game. And reports say the Dallas offense had a great day of practice Monday in Oxnard, CA. But a segment of Cowboys fans will hear none of it.
NO YOELI IN NOVEMBER
When Boise State faces BYU on the basketball court for the first time in 11 years on November 20, the Cougars will be missing their best player. The NCAA has suspended star forward Yoeli Childs for the first nine games of the upcoming season due to an alleged paperwork snafu when he returned to school in May after declaring for the NBA Draft. Childs received impermissible benefits after not filing forms related to his agent. BYU’s schedule is not out yet, but he’ll likely be gone until early December. That’s a blow, as Childs averaged 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a junior last season. The Broncos won’t have Oregon transfer Abu Kigab by the time of the game against the Cougars. Kigab will be eligible at the end of the first semester, approximately one month later.
PRIMARY TARGET IN THE KIBBIE DOME
Idaho held its first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday. No stats were available, but Jeff Cotton appears to be the one player who got the best of the Vandal defense, hauling in four touchdown passes. Cotton is poised to be Idaho’s feature receiver this season. The 6-2, 204-pound senior from Tucson made 49 catches for 656 yards and seven touchdowns last season, a year after transferring from Pima Community College and redshirting. Cotton caught a TD in each of the Vandals’ first four games last year. A start like that this season would be slightly beneficial against Penn State August 31.
IT WAS OVER EARLY FOR THE HAWKS
Spokane scored five unearned runs with two outs in the top of the first inning Monday night, and it was enough to top the Boise Hawks. The visitors went on to a 6-5 win over the Hawks at Memorial Stadium, dropping Boise 10 games under .500 for the season. The Hawks can admire one of their alums from afar, though. The Yankees’ Gleyber Torres smashed three home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Baltimore Monday. Torres now has 13 homers against the Orioles this season, one short of the big league record for dingers versus one team—14 by Lou Gehrig against Cleveland in 1936. Torres is batting .283 this season with 26 homers and 69 RBIs.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!
August 13, 2013: Bishop Kelly graduate Nick Symmonds turns in the top American men’s 800-meter performance in international championship competition in 41 years when he wins the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Symmonds, a five-time national champion in the 800, claimed the highest spot on the podium in the event for the U.S. since Dave Wottle’s gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)