This Day In Sports: It’s Scoop ‘N Score Night for the Broncos

September 1, 2018, five years ago today: Boise State’s Tyler Horton ties an NCAA record with two fumble returns for touchdowns as the Broncos open the season with a 56-20 road rout of Troy. Horton’s first scoop-and-score covered 55 yards in the third quarter, and the second went a quick 11 yards in the fourth. Horton was, in fact, only the fifth player in NCAA history to take two fumble recoveries to paydirt in a game. And it came against a Trojans team that was coming off an 11-2 season and had drawn the largest crowd in school history for the Broncos. The 56 points were the most ever by Boise State in a season opener on the road, eclipsing the output in the 47-24 victory at Idaho in 1973.

The Troy game also marked the beginning of quarterback Brett Rypien’s senior year, and he threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns—two to fellow senior Sean Modster. The easy takeaway was Rypien’s Opening Day resurgence after what had happened on the blue turf a year before. He that year’s game against the same Troy team after just 160 yards passing, no touchdowns, a pick-six, four sacks and a lost fumble. He was 4-for-4 for 52 yards on the Broncos’ first drive this time, capped by a 20-yard touchdown throw to Modster. By halftime Rypien had tossed four TDs—he didn’t have four touchdown passes in 2017 until October 28.

As for Horton, he was inspired that night, as he was sidelined with an injury in Boise State’s previous game, the 38-24 win over Oregon in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. His 55-yard return was almost as exciting—almost—as his 85-yard pick-six against Washington State quarterback Luke Falk on the blue turf in 2016, keying an emotional 31-28 victory (the Broncos’ first one ever over the Cougars).

Horton made Boise State’s new “Turnover Throne,” which went viral that weekend, his personal perch. The Broncos hauled the new prop all the way to Alabama, and it was a popular feature for fans and players throughout the 2018 season. But it was short-lived. The “Turnover Throne” disappeared the following year, presumably because it was too flashy for this blue-collar team. But we never really knew.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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