If you watched the first nine minutes of Boise State’s game against San Jose State last night, you may have thought it was a Reno replay. After Lexus Williams nailed a three-pointer 18 seconds into the game, the Broncos missed their next seven attempts from beyond the arc. Then the switch flipped on. Man, did it. Boise State drained eight of its next 10 three-point tries and 17 of its next 27 on the way to a 94-71 rout of the Spartans in Taco Bell Arena. The 18 threes equaled the second-most in school history next to the 20 the Broncos made last season at Air Force (which is where they go Saturday). Chris Sengfelder led the barrage, going 5-for-6 from deep and scoring 31 points, a career high, be it at Boise State or Fordham. And the Broncos got help in Laramie, where Wyoming beat Nevada last night 104-103 in double-overtime.
Leading up to the San Jose State game, Boise State coach Leon Rice hinted that he may tweak his lineup. He did off the top, starting Alex Hobbs in place of Justinian Jessup. But Rice had to keep on tweaking in search of the right combination. Heck, it was a two-point game with less than six minutes to go in the first half. Hobbs was not his dependable self—he turned the ball over three times in the first 8½ minutes and was ultimately held scoreless. Rice went to the seldom-used true freshman Cam Christon. “He gave us some energy,” said Rice on his KBOI postgame show. Christon, who had not even played the past five games, logged 16 minutes against the Spartans. He only scored three points, but he had four assists and three rebounds and seemed to be a stabilizing force.
There are still almost two weeks left until college football’s traditional National Letter Of Intent Day. The quarterback suspense has been killing Bronco Nation. Well, coach Bryan Harsin and offensive coordinator Zak Hill were in Jacksonville yesterday to visit Bartram Trail High QB Riley Smith, who has long professed he is eager to be a Bronco. Was the idea to get this thing wrapped up? They did. Early this morning, Smith tweeted that he has accepted a scholarhip offer from Boise State.
Brock Purdy, who had been Boise State’s primary target, has been a center of attention nationally, getting a house call from Alabama after his official visit to Iowa State last weekend. Preston Jones, Brock Purdy’s coach at Perry High in Gilbert, AZ, said on IST Tuesday, “I told coaches the other day, wouldn’t that be cool if Alabama offered Brock and he ends up choosing Boise State, and that is something that’s absolutely not out of the question.” Well, it is now. Later Tuesday afternoon, Purdy tweeted, “Grateful to have received an offer from The University of Illinois!” Now he can choose between the Crimson Tide, the Cyclones and the Fighting Illini.
Although owner Jerry Jones says the Dallas Cowboys “have completed an agreement with Kellen,” the official announcement hasn’t been made naming Kellen Moore quarterbacks coach. But it’ll happen, so let’s clear a couple things out of the ol’ notebook. “That does not surprise me that the organization can see the potential in Kellen as a coach,” said Harsin in his first offseason interview on IST recently. “His father’s a coach and we really love his football IQ and what he’s about,” said Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones last week on a Dallas radio station. “He’s certainly got the most of his ability playing in Boise and in his career in the NFL, he was able to stick around a la Jason Garrett and do some good stuff. But I do think he’s ready probably earlier than Jason was ready to move into coaching.”
Cedrick Wilson has a lot of fans in this neck of the woods. But the news on the now former Boise State star wasn’t glowing from Senior Bowl practice yesterday in Mobile, AL. “I thought he had a really up-and-down day,” said Josh Liskiewitz of Pro Football Focus on Idaho SportsTalk. “Any time he had to go against press coverage, he struggled quite a bit,” Liskiewitz said. We saw Wilson catch a ton of balls in traffic during his two years as a Bronco. Maybe the key is that some of those routes at Boise State didn’t begin with press coverage from opponents? “It’s just one day of practice,” added Liskiewitz. “You have to look at the entire body of work.” NFL scouts and front office personnel care mostly about the practices during Senior Bowl week, so today is an important day for Wilson.
Michael Joly, just returned from a stint in the AHL, scored with 1:05 left in the game last night to give Colorado a 5-4 victory over the Idaho Steelheads. The win snapped the Eagles’ first two-game losing streak since the first week of November and gave them a 10-point lead over the Steelheads in the ECHL Mountain Division. The season series between the two teams is now tied 2-2 going into two more clashes this weekend. Also on the pro front, with Tiger Woods making his return to the PGA Tour, Troy Merritt is flying way under the radar at the Farmers Insurance Open this week. The Boise State product tees off this morning on the Torrey Pines South course. Merritt is still looking to make his first cut of the new year.
Back to campus things—the Boise State women scored an incredible 35 points in the first quarter last night and rolled to a 112-80 rout of San Jose State. Marta Hermida recorded a school-record 14 assists, and Riley Lupfer drilled seven three-pointers and totaled 27 points for the Broncos, who topped 100 for the first time in 25 years and set a Mountain West record for most points in a conference game.
The Idaho men host Northern Colorado tonight in the Kibbie Dome in a rematch of a game won 81-77 by the Bears in Greeley on New Year’s Eve. The Vandals are tied for second in the Big Sky with a 5-2 record, two games behind Montana. The College of Idaho men have a three-game week, starting with a 69-59 win over Eastern Oregon in the I-84 rivalry last night. And Boise State baseball may still be two years away, but the 2018 College of Idaho season opens today in Phoenix at the 4-Him Classic. The Coyotes face Benedictine Mesa in the first of four games at the round-robin tournament.
This Day In Sports…January 25, 1998, 20 years ago today:
The Denver Broncos finally win a Super Bowl, beating the Green Bay Packers, 31-24, in San Diego. The Broncos had lost four Super Bowls previously. Three of them were with John Elway, the veteran quarterback who at last got the monkey off his back almost 15 years after coming out of Stanford as the no. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Denver would win the Super Bowl again the following year in the final game of Elway’s career.
(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.)