The ever-changing Mountain West dynamic

After a weekend of Mountain West weirdness, Boise State’s now the only unbeaten team in conference play, but good luck figuring anything else out. Let’s start in the West Division, because that’s where San Jose State resides, and the Broncos face the surprising Spartans this week. SJSU went back to West Point and beat Army 34-29 to even its record at 4-4, as Josh—not Jordan—Love continues to shine. Fresno State lost to Colorado State by 10 points in Bulldog Stadium, a huge and stunning setback for the defending Mountain West champion, who now has two league losses. And San Diego State, the team that just debuted in the AP Top 25 yesterday, barely beat UNLV 20-17 when a Rebels field goal attempt hit the goalpost with 37 seconds left. What is going on here?

In the Mountain Division, holy moly. Air Force routed Utah State 31-7 in a game that wasn’t that close. The other quarterback named Love, Jordan, continues to struggle. The Aggies, the team that averaged about 500 yards last year, produced 128 yards of total offense. Wyoming routed Nevada 31-3 and has visions of a Mountain West championship. The Pokes are already bowl-eligible. And New Mexico lost its fifth straight game, 45-31 at home to Hawaii, drawing only 12,617 fans on a sunny, calm, 67-degree afternoon. Through it all, Bob Davie is still head coach.


“Hook, Ladder & Liberty” helped Bronco Nation bide the bye week time Saturday on CBS. Blake Berson, the show’s producer, was on Idaho SportsTalk Friday and talked about one Jared Zabransky story that ended up on the cutting room floor. When Boise State first ran Statue Left at Idaho in October of 2006, Zabransky faked the pass with the ball in his throwing hand, then switched it to his left hand and ducked it behind his back for Ian Johnson. Zabransky said that several weeks before the Fiesta Bowl, redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Lomax, largely credited with creating the play, suggested that Zabransky keep the ball in his left hand and fake the pass empty-handed. “That was gold,” Zabransky said, according to Burson. It took one element of risk out of the play, and “Statue Left” was clean and golden.


Boise State is now fourth in line in both polls in the Group of 5 race. The idle Broncos moved up to No. 21 in the AP Poll Sunday and stayed in that spot in the Coaches Poll. But undefeated Appalachian State, coached (as you know) by former Broncos offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz leapfrogged Boise State to No. 20 in the Coaches Poll. The Mountaineers were already ahead of the Broncos in AP. SMU is still the leader, ranked Nos. 15 and 14 in the two polls, respectively, and Cincinnati is 17 and 18. Memphis is right behind the Broncos at Nos. 24 and 23. And as I mentioned, San Diego State, now 6-1, debuted Sunday at No. 25 in the AP Poll.


Former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has been fired from the same post at Arizona, sources confirmed to ESPN Sunday night. The Wildcats have given up 133 points in their last three games—all losses—and are ranked 118th in the country in points allowed per game at 35.0. Yates was hired away from the Broncos by Rich Rodriguez in 2016 and was retained by new UA coach Kevin Sumlin the following year. He played for Boise State from 1996-99 and first coached for his alma mater from 2003-11. Yates then went to Texas A&M as D-coordinator for two seasons before returning to the Broncos as part of Bryan Harsin’s first staff in 2014.


If things continue on this track for College of Idaho, it’s going to be hard to keep Coyotes quarterback Darius-James Peterson from the Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Year award. Peterson threw for 330 yards and a school-record five touchdowns Saturday in a 42-14 rout of Southern Oregon in Ashland. It was the Yotes’ first-ever win at Raiders Stadium, and it was emphatic. Peterson added 83 yards on the ground to net 413 yards of total offense, the third time in his career he’s laid a 400-yard day on SOU. C of I is now 7-0 and still maintains a two-game lead atop the Frontier. The Yotes have won 13 games in a row, one short of the school record set 65 years ago.


The Idaho Steelheads are still without a loss in regulation this season. How they preserved that mark over the weekend in Wichita was fairly amazing. In both games against the Thunder, the Steelheads fell into 3-0 holes and dug out each time. Friday they had to do it in the third period, with two of the goals coming from Zach Andrusiak. Wichita survived the onslaught 4-3 in overtime. But Saturday night the Steelies came all the way back to win 4-3. Brett Supinski, who scored the equalizer Friday, started the comeback. The deciding tally came from Tanner Jago with 7:41 remaining in the game. It was Jago’s first professional goal. Idaho moved on to Texas Sunday for a game against Allen and fell 2-1 in overtime. But you know how hockey works—technically the Steelheads remain unbeaten.


Troy Merritt’s two-week Asian stay paid for itself as he wrapped up the two-event PGA Tour swing today. Merritt missed the cut in South Korea, but he made it Friday in Japan at the ZOZO Championship outside Tokyo. The Meridian resident and former Boise State star finished the rain-delayed tournament with a three-under 67 to end in a tie for 30th with a check for $61,035. The final round was a clean one—three birdies and no bogeys.


After a six-game goal-less drought (if you can call it that), Boise State women’s soccer star Raimee Sherle celebrated Senior Day by tallying twice Sunday to lead the Broncos past Air Force 3-2 at the Boas Complex. She now has 12 goals this season and 57 in her record-shattering career. But it wasn’t Sherle who nailed the game-winner. Emily Curry scored in the 85th minute to send Boise State to a 16-2 record. The Broncos can clinch a share of the Mountain West regular season title this Friday at Utah State. Also, Boise State women’s volleyball coach Shawn Garus notched the 300th victory of his career Saturday when the Broncos swept Fresno State on the road. It was their 11th consecutive victory over the Bulldogs.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by COMMERCIAL TIRE…keeping you and your family on the road.

October 28, 1962: Y.A. Tittle of the New York Giants becomes the third quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes in a game in a 49-34 win over Washington at Yankee Stadium. Tittle went on to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the second time (the first being in 1957 with the San Francisco 49ers). Minnesota’s Joe Kapp would match the feat in 1969—then there was a 44-year gap until Denver’s Peyton Manning and Philadelphia’s Nick Foles both did it in 2013. New Orleans’ Drew Brees also threw for seven TDs in a game in 2015.

(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.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *