Boise State now tries to get its mojo back after laying an offensive egg in the 63-53 loss to Fresno State Saturday. Mojo could mean stamina and endurance after a combination of expenditure of energy against Nevada and a relentless Bulldogs press left the Broncos sapped. A symptom of that was the three-point line, where Boise State was just 4-for-21. The Broncos had nothing left at the end. Tonight they visit Air Force, the site of a school-record barrage from beyond the arc two years ago. Boise State rained 20 three-pointers on the Falcons in a 98-70 victory. The Broncos could use that skill set this evening. Clune Arena is unlikely to be that friendly this time, though.
Boise State has had one three-game losing streak this season on its way to an 8-10 record. The Broncos will try to avoid another at Air Force tonight, and they’re favored by four points against a 7-11 team. They’ll be facing a sleepy environment at Clune, only slight less so than at San Jose State. But there’s a difference this time. Although the Falcons lost 67-52 at Nevada Saturday night, they’ve been tough at home—unbelievably so, with a 14-point win over San Diego State and an 18-point romp over UNLV in their last two games in Colorado Springs. The usually-methodical Air Force attack laid 106 points on the Rebels, the Academy’s most ever in a conference game, dating all the way back through its years in the WAC.
BACK AMONG ‘OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES’
Would the Boise State women’s basketball team start receiving votes in the AP Poll again after its thumping of Fresno State on the road Saturday? Yes. The Broncos have recovered from their bad loss at Washington State on December 1 to earn three points from voters this week. They’re now 5-0 in the Mountain West, the only undefeated team left in conference play (women’s or men’s), and 14-2 overall, with their only other loss coming to No. 4 Louisville. Boise State also has the MW Women’s Player of the Week, Marta Hermida, who scored all of her 21 points in the second half in the win over the Bulldogs. The Broncos go for their 16th straight victory against MW foes when they host Air Force tomorrow night in Taco Bell Arena.
RYP’S RISING STOCK
Brett Rypien’s East-West Shrine Game week went extremely well, right up through Saturday’s game in St. Petersburg when he went 10-of-14 for 134 yards and a touchdown. He’s on numerous “guys who benefitted most” lists, including one from Joe Marino of TheDraftNetwork.com. Writes Marino: “While he wasn’t perfect, Rypien’s command of the offense was impressive while his ability to hit throws with anticipation between zones truly stood out. His processing skills and ability to hit throws with touch will give him a chance to stick in the NFL. While Purdue’s David Blough had some positive moments, Rypien was the Shrine Game’s best quarterback.”
BELIEF IN KELLEN
A lot happened Friday, and Monday was a holiday. So there’s some catchup in today’s column, starting with Scott Linehan’s firing as Dallas offensive coordinator. I was ready to say Kellen Moore’s future would depend upon the wants and needs of the new Cowboys O-coordinator. But maybe that guy’s going to be Kellen himself. Rumors quickly developed that Moore would be promoted to that post. Nasty Dallas fans are going ballistic. So they don’t think that—if the Cowboys feel they have an offensive prodigy in a 30-year-old former Boise State star who had a cup of coffee as an NFL quarterback but is considered a football genius inside The Star in Frisco—the Cowboys don’t know what they’re doing? More on Kellen’s worthiness tomorrow.
CATCHING UP WITH THE COACHING SHUFFLE
Also, takeaways from Boise State’s coaching staff shift last Friday. Bryan Harsin’s solution in the special teams area is solid, as he’s dividing those coordinator duties between running backs coach Lee Marks and new outside linebackers coach Jeff Schmedding, who was hired away from Eastern Washington. It’s important to note how stable Schmedding has been. He was with the Eagles for 11 seasons, the last four as defensive coordinator. And Schmedding spent four years as special teams coordinator for EWU, the FCS championship runnersup two weeks ago. He could be seen as a DC-in-waiting should Andy Avalos ever be spirited away from the Broncos program.
Spencer Danielson is on the fast track, as he’s been elevated to Boise State defensive line coach after overseeing the STUD position last season (the STUDS will be classified as outside linebackers and will now be coached by Schmedding). By all accounts, the Broncos’ D-lineman love Danielson. Gabe Franklin will add nickels to his duties as safeties coach; that’s a natural. And wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau will also now be co-offensive coordinator. That only complements Zak Hill’s skills. Kiesau will be able to help Boise State’s transition to a new starting quarterback. The move hopefully keeps Kiesau around longer, too.
BIG-TIME GET FOR THE BRONCOS
The Boise State recruiting class is almost certain to be the strongest in school history now with the commitment Monday of DK Blaylock, a 6-5 wide receiver from New Deal, TX. Blaylock had previously verbaled to Iowa State but had decommitted. He flipped to the Broncos after visiting campus over the weekend. Blaylock’s senior year stats are stunning: 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns on only 52 catches. Former Statesman columnist Brian Murphy notes that nine players out of Boise State’s 2007 recruiting class ended up in the NFL. This year’s group is stronger going in—we’ll have to wait until about 2024 to see if it’s stronger coming out.
MLK DAY: A STEELIES WIN IN UTAH AND A NEW HAWKS MANAGER
Local pro sports shorts: On the heels of back-to-back overtime victories against Allen over the weekend in CenturyLink Arena, the Idaho Steelheads were right back at it on Martin Luther King Day. In the opener of a nine-game road swing, the Steelheads routed the Utah Grizzlies 7-4. The Steelies swept into first place in the ECHL Mountain Division with that OT magic versus Allen and have now opened a three-point lead over Tulsa. And the Boise Hawks will have a new manager for the 2019 season. Steve Soliz is in his first year with the Colorado Rockies organization after spending 15 seasons on the Major League staff of the L.A. Angels.
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January 22, 1973: Big George Foreman overwhelms Joe Frazier, scoring six knockdowns in 4½ minutes to seize the world heavyweight championship in a stunning upset in Kingston, Jamaica. Frazier had been the prohibitive favorite despite Foreman’s edge in height and reach, his 37-0 pro record, and his 1968 Olympic gold medal. Foreman would remain heavyweight champ until the “Rumble In The Jungle” against Muhammad Ali in the summer of 1974.
(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.)