November 13, 1982: Linebacker John Rade turns in one of the most dominating individual defensive performances in Boise State history as the Broncos romp past Utah State 30-10 in their season home finale.Rade recorded a school-record eight tackles-for-loss that day. It was before sacks were tracked well as a stat, but Rade had a bunch of them. He was a jet off the edge. Rade would set the school record for tackles-for-loss in a season with 31.0 (eclipsed by Chris Wing’s 33.0 in 1996, the mark that still stands today.
Boise State was out of the Big Sky title race, but the solid win over the Aggies kept its Division I-AA Playoff hopes alive, at least in coach Jim Criner’s mind. “This team deserves a dadgum playoff berth,” declared Criner. The Broncos beat Idaho State 27-24 in the season finale the following week in Pocatello, but the postseason was not to be. The USU game would, incidentally, be Criner’s final game at Bronco Stadium, as after the season he took the job at Iowa State. Criner had come to Boise State as Tony Knap’s successor in 1976 and won two Big Sky titles and a Division I-AA championship in 1980. His record with the Broncos was 59-21-1.
Rade, meanwhile, went on to be named 1982 Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and was tabbed a first-team Division I-AA All-American by Associated Press and Kodak. He had been a junior college transfer from Modesto College in 1981 and certainly made his mark over two years. Rade was drafted in the eighth round by Atlanta in 1983 and made the NFL All-Rookie team that year. He had four 100-tackle seasons, including a career-high 145 in 1990.
Rade spent his entire nine-year NFL career with the Falcons. At the time it was the longest NFL stint of any Boise State product—eventually topped by Kimo von Oelhoffen, who played 14 seasons with four different teams from 1994-2007. Rade was inducted into the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, and after his retirement from the NFL he served an assistant football coach and athletic director at Wood River High School in Hailey.
(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.)