Rejuvenated Robert Mahone sets a new tone

Not a lot of news out of Boise State’s second scrimmage of spring football Saturday night, and that was by design. Local media were allowed to attend for their own edification, but there wasn’t much of substance reported. One theme that emerged, though, was the rise of running back Robert Mahone. A year ago, Alexander Mattison was the presumed 2017 starter, but he was rehabbing after shoulder surgery. So it was supposed to be Mahone’s golden opportunity, but he was outshone by Ryan Wolpin in the spring game. Then Mahone spent most of last season behind Wolpin on the depth chart, right through the Las Vegas Bowl. Mahone rushed 12 times for 34 yards against Oregon, but it was Wolpin putting up 71 yards and two touchdowns.

Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks said Mahone had “very little confidence” last season. The turning point may have been the Virginia game. Coach Bryan Harsin said Mahone was going to get his shot. That consisted of only three carries for 21 yards, even though he was the only Bronco running back who managed a run longer than eight yards in the ultra-frustrating loss to the Cavaliers. After a bye week, Mahone got the start at BYU, but a lost fumble in the first quarter sent him to the bench. He had no more than two carries in seven of the next eight games. Now, Mattison is again sitting out the spring—but this time Mahone is well-positioned to be his primary backup.

Cedrick Wilson has a busy week ahead as he sets the table for the NFL Draft later this month. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com notes that Wilson has been getting keen interest from the Cleveland Browns, who spent a lot of time with him after his impressive Pro Day last Tuesday. The former Boise State wide receiver had already met with the Tennessee Titans the day before, and Pauline says he has private workouts scheduled with the L.A. Chargers and Carolina Panthers this week. Pauline cites the Pro Day numbers Wilson improved upon after the NFL Combine, including 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash (although I didn’t see that number reported). Wilson ran a 4.55 at the Combine.

From a Colorado State perspective, the Rams’ 59-52 overtime loss to Boise State after leading by 25 points was considered an implosion. Well, there will not be an implosion when Hughes Stadium comes down. The demolition of the 32,500-seat facility that housed CSU football for 49 seasons will begin today with the tearing down of the large structure on the west side that includes the press box and luxury suites. The concrete that fills the stadium bowl is expected to be removed by July. Colorado State debuted its new $220 million, 41,000-seat stadium last season.

It’s going to be a complete rebuild for new Colorado State men’s hoops coach Niko Medved, as forward Prentiss Nixon, CSU’s leading scorer, has decided to transfer. “A business decision had to be made for the betterment of my family and I,” Nixon tweeted. He averaged 16.1 points per game and hit 66 three-pointers this past season. Nixon was said to be among Larry Eustachy’s biggest supporters before the former Rams coach was suspended and ultimately forced to resign. Colorado State was worried about the Mountain West’s top rebounder, 6-11 forward Nico Carvacho, who had also been granted a release to talk to other schools. But Carvacho has decided to stay in Fort Collins.

The Idaho Steelheads and goaltender Tomas Sholl simultaneously saw their streaks end Friday night, but it took overtime at Allen to do it. The Americans edged the Steelheads 5-4, snapping Idaho’s eight-game winning streak and Sholl’s run of nine straight victories. The Steelies bounced back with a 4-2 win Saturday night to end the regular season. They rested Sholl and started Michael Bitzer between the pipes. Bitzer faced only 17 shots and rejected 15 of them, notching a victory in his first game since March 13. Now it’s on to the Kelly Cup Playoffs, as the Steelheads host those same Allen Americans in Game 1 Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.

Another year of heartbreak for the Boise State women’s gymnastics team, which scored well but fell short in its quest for a first-ever berth in the NCAA Championships. The 15th-ranked Broncos placed fourth at the NCAA Columbus Regional Saturday with a 196.200—they had to finish in the top two to make nationals. Boise State junior Shani Remme qualified as an individual for the second straight year, though, tying for first in the all-around with a 49.25. UCLA and Arkansas advanced on the team side. The national meet is set for April 20-21 in St. Louis.

Back to football—there’s no quarterback controversy at College of Idaho this spring, as Darius-James Peterson returns as the clear-cut starter. Peterson’s backup last year, Tyler Cox, is getting a head-start on a potential coaching career, serving as an offensive assistant on Mike Moroski’s staff. In the Yotes’ final scrimage before their Purple & Gold Game next week, Peterson lit things up nicely Friday, rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 153 yards and two TDs.

This Day In Sports…April 9, 1993, 25 years ago today:

An Opening Day crowd of 80,227 at Mile High Stadium greets the Colorado Rockies, as big league baseball comes to Denver with an 11-4 Rockies rout of Montreal. But the big story was the crowd—as it would be all season. The Rockies drew almost 4½ million fans that year, a major league record, averaging 56,751 per game. Coors Field, which opened two years later, has a capacity of 50,398.

(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.)