This Day In Sports: The alleged ‘victory lap’ at Mackay

November 7, 1987: Another takeover of Reno’s Mackay Stadium by Boise State fans. The faithful were treated to a 36-31 victory over Nevada (then Nevada-Reno) in Skip Hall’s first year as head coach.The Broncos took the lead midway through the second quarter and would not relinquish it, as quarterback Vince Alcalde threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Alcalde’s first TD, a 10-yard strike to former Bishop Kelly star Terry Heffner right after halftime, helped keep Nevada at arm’s length. The game ended on a sack by Broncos defensive tackle Pete Kwiatkowski, now the defensive coordinator at Texas.

The victory was Boise State’s first in Reno since 1981 and broke a three-game losing streak that included a heartbreaking 31-27 loss to Utah the previous Saturday on the blue turf. The Broncos would rout Northern Arizona 48-18 the following week to clinch a winning season a year after the first losing campaign in school history.

The tradition of legions of Boise State fans crossing the desert every other year to amass in Reno began in the late 1970s and was in full force this day. At the end of the game, UNR coach Chris Ault accused Hall of leading a Broncos “victory lap” around the stadium. But Hall was merely taking the team to each of the four corners of the stadium, where Boise State fans had been placed in an effort to separate them and mute their effect on the game.

Sidebar: The night before the game, KBOI’s Voice of the Broncos, Paul J. Schneider and his wife Tamara got married at the MGM Grand. With only a few family members able to make it, Paul J. and Tamara invited members of the Boise media who were down to cover the game to join them. Mark Johnson and I, set to call the game for KTVB, were lucky enough to be included. So, Happy 35th Anniversary to Paul J. and Tamara.

(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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