Let’s take a mid-term exam. Who is Boise State’s midseason Most Valuable Player for 2019? Well, it’s not rocket science. As Preseason Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, STUD end Curtis Weaver had the most preseason hype of any Bronco, and he has delivered. Weaver is tied for the national lead in sacks at 9.5, already equaling his total from 2018, and he has broken the MW record for career sacks. Pro Football Focus grades him as one of the top five pass rushers in the country.
But Weaver’s been a complete player this year. He’s third on the team in tackles with 31 and has two pass breakups and a forced fumble. We saw him drop into pass coverage more than once last week at BYU. Weaver’s still in the mix as a first-round NFL Draft pick next spring. It’s been quite a ride for a guy who was a late commit to Boise State—as in, on National Letter of Intent Day in 2016. Weaver went for the Broncos after late pushes from USC and Washington State.
BACHMEIER PASSES HIS MID-TERM
One game away hasn’t prevented Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier from garnering more national notice. Bachmeier has been named to the Football Writers Association of America midseason watch list for the Freshman All-America team and the Freshman of the Year Award. You’d hope he’d be on this list. Bachmeier is 6-0 as a starter and has thrown for 1,547 yards and nine touchdowns against three interceptions. He’s still second in Mountain West pass efficiency behind Hawaii’s Cole McDonald with a rating of 149.2.
THE STRUGGLING JORDAN LOVE
The Game of the Week in the Mountain West is Utah State at Air Force. It’s not just a matter of the Aggies handling the Falcons’ triple-option, but how USU quarterback Jordan Love will play. Love was the Preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and was tabbed as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate. But he was just 13-of-31 for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception against an average Nevada defense last week and is under 50 percent over the last three games. Love is seventh in Mountain West pass efficiency with a rating of 118.7—not good. He’s thrown six TD passes versus nine interceptions. “His guys need to pick him up,” Utah State coach Gary Andersen told the Deseret News. “You have to catch contested balls and you have to make plays when you have layups.” (I’m sure it goes deeper than that.)
YOTES TRY TO AVOID AN ASHLAND TRAP
College of Idaho goes for its 12th straight win Saturday when it takes on Southern Oregon in Ashland. The seventh-ranked Coyotes have a two-game lead in the Frontier Conference and look for their second victory of the season over SOU (the Yotes held off the Raiders 41-38 in Caldwell in September). But this will be tricky. The Yotes have won at least one game at every Frontier Conference venue—except for Raider Stadium in Ashland. The Yotes are 0-4 all-time in the facility, with their lone win in the Rogue Valley coming in 1948, a 27-20 victory in Medford in the season-ending Pear Bowl.
SHELLSHOCKED BENGALS GO TO CEDAR CITY
After a week of reflection, the Idaho State Bengals have probably figured out what hit ‘em last week. They’ll regroup from the 45-21 loss at Idaho with a chance to right the ship at Southern Utah on Saturday. Yes, chances are good, as the Thunderbirds are 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the Big Sky. One of the lone bright spots for ISU in Moscow was senior wide receiver Mitch Gueller, who had a career-high 11 catches, the most by a Bengal in four years. They covered 166 yards, putting him over 3,000 career receiving yards, just the ninth player in Big Sky history to reach that milestone. Gueller now has 3,104 receiving yards.
ALSTON ALL IN AS A LEADER
Early last season, Derrick Alston’s role changed from benchwarmer (no other way to put it) to go-to scorer for Boise State men’s basketball. Going into this season, the role of leader has been definitively added. Alston met with the media Thursday and talked about how important that is to him. “It’s definitely a growth period for me—really taking it head-on,” said Alston. “I’ve been able to hold guys accountable and really be supportive, too.” Between the stat lines you’ll find other invaluable facets of Alston’s game. He was third in the Mountain West in free throw shooting last season at just under 82 percent, and he had the highest field goal percentage of any guard in conference play at 49 percent.
The Idaho Steelheads have a travel-heavy weekend coming up, playing at Wichita Saturday night and at Allen Saturday night and Sunday. If the Steelheads somehow come home with a sweep, they’ll have their best start in more than 10 years. The Steelies’ leading goal-scorer is Will Merchant with three. And former Boise State standout Troy Merritt is in a rain delay in the second round of the ZOZO Championship in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, outside of Tokyo. Six inches of rain have fallen on the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club course, and the tournament will finish on Monday.
THE END IN SIGHT FOR SHERLE
Boise State women’s soccer enters the final homestand of the season with a Division I-best 15 wins this season and hopes to come out of it as Mountain West regular season champions. A sweep of Colorado College today and Air Force on Sunday will do it. Senior Day on Sunday will mark the final regular season home match in Raimee Sherle’s amazing career. The former Rocky Mountain star is the Mountain West’s career leader in goals with 55. Sherle hasn’t scored in the past five games, but she’s become more of a facilitator down the stretch, assisting on the Broncos’ game-winning goal last Sunday at Colorado State. She has eight assists this season.
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October 25, 2012: Former Boise State star Doug Martin logs the first 100-yard rushing game of his NFL career, going for 135 to lead Tampa Bay to a 36-17 win at Minnesota. Martin had it wrapped up by halftime, gaining 106 yards on 14 carries before the intermission, including a 41-yard scamper. But his biggest play of the night came through the air when he bolted 64 yards on a screen to score early in the third quarter. The only other former Bronco ever to rush for 100 yards in an NFL game had been Brock Forsey, who ran for 134 for the Chicago Bears in a 2003 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
(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.)