Wolf Pack is water under the bridge for the Broncos

Boise State doesn’t have much time to feel sorry for itself after the gut-wrenching 72-71 loss to No. 10 Nevada Tuesday night. There’s actually a “big three” that has emerged in the Mountain West this winter—the Wolf Pack, Fresno State and Utah State—and if the Broncos want to make it a “big four,” they’ll have to pick themselves up off the mat and upend the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon in Taco Bell Arena. Boise State expended a lot of energy staying with the Pack for a full 40 minutes; it’s going to be tough to duplicate that. Fresno State is tied for second with the Broncos at 3-1 in Mountain West play but is 12-4 overall, including a 19-point win over Northwestern and a 22-point romp over Cal. No rest for the weary.

Longtime Nevada beat writer Chris Murray of Nevada Sportsnet gave the Broncos a backhanded compliment before the game Tuesday, writing, “Boise State is remarkably average across the board. The Broncos don’t do a ton of things great, but they also don’t do many things poorly.” Murray noted that Boise State has been good at avoiding avoiding fouls defensively, with opponents going to the free throw line just 18 times per game. The Wolf Pack came into Boise averaging just under 25 free throw attempts a game, 23rd in the nation. So what happened? The Pack was 11-for-17 from the stripe; the Broncos were 18-for-23.

YOU CAN START COUNTING DOWN NOW

It’s official. The 2019 season is 226 days away. This didn’t seem like news when it came out Wednesday, but it does eliminate one opportunity for big exposure for Boise State. The date for the Broncos’ season opener against Florida State has been confirmed as Saturday, August 31. The neutral-site contest will be played at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. There had been a possibility that the game could be moved to the previous Thursday or Friday, giving it a feature spot in prime time during the first week of the college football season. That won’t happen. To be sure, the bloom is off the Seminoles’ rose after their 5-7 disappoinment in 2018.

RYPIEN’S STOCK IS RISING

Draft analyst Kyle Crabbs has been tweeting a lot about Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien during East-West Shrine Game practices. Here’s another from Wednesday’s drills: “Welp. Prettiest ball of the day goes to Brett Rypien up the left sideline on a vertical route to (Nick) Brossette. Dropped it right in the bucket.” It’s been that kind of a week for Rypien, who met with the Denver Broncos on Monday. Reports say he has also met with the Miami Dolphins. Makes you wonder if Rypien will not only be drafted, but will sneak into the middle rounds. Projections going into Shrine week had him on the bubble. The game itself is Saturday at 1 p.m. on NFL Network.

THE TANGLED WEB AT WASHINGTON

Chris Petersen has tapped his Boise State roots again to hire a wide receivers coach, although this time it’s one staff removed. Junior Adams has been whisked away from his brand new job under one-time Bronco offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz at Appalachian State and will join Coach Pete’s staff at Washington. Adams has never coached under Petersen—he joined Boise State as part of Bryan Harsin’s first staff after Pete left. Adams spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator for Mike Sanford at Western Kentucky. Seven of Petersen’s 10 full-time staffers once coached for the Broncos. And here’s another Adams in the news: Klayton Adams, a center at Boise State in 2003-04, has been hired as offensive line coach at Wyoming. Adams was on the Colorado staff the past six years.

TWO SAINTLY HILLS FROM EASTERN IDAHO

There are two guys named Hill on the New Orleans Saints roster. They’re both from Eastern Idaho, and they’re both one win away from the Super Bowl. No relation, though. Taysom Hill, the Highland High grad, starred at BYU as a quarterback. But that’s only one of the positions he plays now for the Saints as he’s the team’s ultimate Swiss army knife. In fact, Drew Brees calls him that. In last week’s NFC Divisional playoff win over Philadelphia alone, he converted a game-changing fake punt on fourth down from his own 30-yard line and heaved a 46-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Kamara that was called back by a holding penalty. Hill has also lined up at running back, tight end and wide receiver and has been a special teams mainstay this season.

Josh Hill, a Blackfoot High alum and Idaho State product, caught three passes for seven yards against the Eagles. This Hill is in his sixth NFL season, all with New Orleans. The Saints have always liked him. When Hill was an unrestricted free agent in 2016, he signed an offer sheet with the Chicago Bears, but New Orleans matched the offer in order to keep him. He has 83 career catches for 799 yards and 11 touchdowns. Little-remembered fact: Hill walked on at Boise State in 2008 and redshirted before transferring to ISU in search of playing time. And playing time he got, ending with 151 career receptions for the Bengals.

THE STEELIES’ RUN IS INTERRUPTED

The Allen Americans and Idaho Steelheads alternated goals last night in CenturyLink Arena. The Americans got the last one midway through the third period and skated away with a 3-2 victory, snapping the Steelheads’ three-game winning streak. Kale Kessy was the Steelies’ offensive dynamo, scoring both of the team’s goals. Goalie Tomas Sholl took the loss, falling to 14-5-0 on the season.

ANOTHER ONE-POINT BOISE STATE-NEVADA GAME

The Boise State women felt last night like the Nevada men did Tuesday night. Relieved. The Broncos faced the Wolf Pack women in Lawlor Events Center and watched a 13-point lead late in the third quarter dwindle down to almost nothing. Key word being “almost.” Jayde Christopher and Braydey Hodgins hit four free throws in the final 12 seconds as the Broncos fended off the Pack 75-74. Coach Gordy Presnell felt his team was flat and told Chris Lewis on the KTIK postgame show he was anxious to get back on the practice floor. But, Presnell said, “It’s better to learn from winning than learn from losing.” Boise State is now 4-0 in the Mountain West and 13-2 overall.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by MAZ-TECH AUTOMOTIVE…your car says, “Take me to Maz-Tech!”

January 17, 1995: Owner Georgia Frontiere makes it official—the Los Angeles Rams are moving to St. Louis. The Rams had been in Southern California since relocating from Cleveland in 1946, spending the final 15 seasons playing in Anaheim. That same year, the Raiders moved back to Oakland, and the nation’s second-largest market went 21 seasons without an NFL team until the Rams returned to L.A. in 2016.

(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.)