Everyone asks how big an asterisk should be placed on the 2020 college football season. It’s getting bigger every week. We haven’t really been able to tell how good Boise State is this season because of its unstable COVID-affected roster, and the same goes for all of the Broncos’ opponents. Everything is out of sorts. I don’t think anyone should worry about the fact that the Broncos won’t be extending their streak of 1,000-yard rushers to 11 years. George Holani had a shot when he rushed for exactly 100 yards in the opener against Utah State, but we haven’t seen him since Halloween. Nor will Boise State’s run of 10-win seasons be extended to five. The phrase “consecutive non-COVID seasons” will become a thing for many stats. A 23rd straight winning season will have to suffice.
THE UNLV GAME, MINUTE-BY-MINUTE
Right now there’s a full slate of six Mountain West games scheduled this week, including Boise State’s Friday night matchup at UNLV. Today is a key day for the Broncos, as their pause in team activities is slated to end. The university released a statement late in the day Monday: “Following receipt of COVID-19 testing results from Sunday, the Boise State football team will return to practice Tuesday morning in preparation for Friday’s game at UNLV.” The Rebels have had their own issues with COVID-19 this fall, but they were able to play Saturday, falling 45-14 to Wyoming at Allegiant Stadium. UNLV reportedly did practice on Monday as it awaited its latest COVID testing results. The Rebels are 0-5 under new coach Marcus Arroyo.
THE ADVENTURES OF SAN JOSE STATE-HAWAII
With contact sports banned in Santa Clara County for the next three weeks, this Saturday’s Hawaii-San Jose State game remains up in the air. The teams are not looking at a move across the Pacific to Aloha Stadium as an option, according to SJSU president Marie Tuite. The Spartans could possibly set up shop at Humboldt State in Arcata, 323 miles to the north. Could arrangements be made in time to stage this week’s game in the Redwood Bowl at Humboldt? If San Jose State goes that route, the team may as well stay there. After all, that’s where the Spartans spent most of fall camp. And anyone coming in from outside a 150-mile radius of Santa Clara County is subject to a 14-day quarantine.
THE ADVENTURES OF BOISE STATE-NEW MEXICO HOOPS
It comes as no surprise that the two-game men’s basketball series this Thursday and Saturday between Boise State and New Mexico has been postponed. The Lobos, who have relocated to the small West Texas town of Levelland, have been practicing for less than two weeks. UNM is sharing a gym with South Plains College—just to get in some preseason practices that currently are prohibited in New Mexico due to strict COVID protocols. The games have not been rescheduled yet. The Broncos are left with a huge gap until their next matchup, set for December 9 at BYU. With the women’s games against the Lobos already postponed, Boise State’s game against College of Idaho will happen after all, rescheduled to Friday afternoon in ExtraMile Arena.
RYPIEN & THE UNMASKED MEN
Back to football—all eyes are on the Denver Broncos quarterbacks room. As you know, all four Denver Broncos quarterbacks were declared inactive Sunday, placed on the COVID-19/restricted list due to contact tracing with each other. That forced Denver to bring in practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who went 1-of-9 with two interceptions in the Broncos’ 31-3 loss to New Orleans. As the story goes, the four QBs, including former Boise State star Brett Rypien, got together to watch film and did not wear their masks. One of them, Jeff Driskel, ended up testing positive for the coronavirus. Coach Vic Fangio hopes the other three quarterbacks will be cleared to return to practice today but said that additional discipline is still “on the table” for Rypien, Drew Lock and Blake Bortles.
TAYLOR DONE FOR THE YEAR
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jamar Taylor confirmed Monday that he tore his left ACL in Sunday’s 23-20 win over the L.A. Rams. The former Boise State star went down near the end of the second quarter and had to be carted off the field. Taylor grimaced in pain as he was helped onto the cart. Now 30 years old and in his eighth NFL season, Taylor had been seeing a renaissance in his first year with the 49ers. He had 22 tackles this season, two for loss with one sack, and was tied for the team lead with two interceptions. A supremely disappointed Taylor tweeted Monday: “I ask myself what would Kobe do? He was 36 years old when he tore his Achilles, but he just grinded! Not to say I’m Kobe, but I’ll attack this prehab/rehab like the mamba!”
DAN HAWKINS’ PLACE IN SATURDAY’S HISTORY
Sarah Fuller’s name is etched into sports history now. Fuller became the first female ever to play for a Power 5 conference team when she kicked off the second half for Vanderbilt Saturday. There would have been more kicks for Fuller had the Commodores not lost to Missouri 41-0. But the overall college football trailblazer was a woman named Liz Heaston, who kicked two extra points for Willamette, then an NAIA program, in a 27-0 win over Linfield in 1997. Her head coach? Dan Hawkins, who would head for Boise State the following season to join Dirk Koetter’s staff and would later spend five seasons as the Broncos’ head coach. If you know Hawkins, ever the forward-thinker, it’s not surprising.
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December 1, 2017: Probably the most electric buzzer-beater in Boise State hoops history, as Lexus Williams hits a half-court shot at the horn to end Oregon’s 46-game home winning streak. The 73-70 victory was only the Broncos’ fourth all-time road win against a Power Five conference opponent. Chandler Hutchison led Boise State, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half and pulling down 10 rebounds. Two days later, Hutchison posted the first recorded triple-double in Bronco history with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 77-54 win over Portland in Taco Bell Arena.
(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.)