One bad decision can change lots of things. One bad decision can change lots of things. For Ryan Finley, who was arrested Friday night for being a minor consumption and resisting or obstructing officers, it could affect his perch atop the Boise State quarterback ladder coming out of spring football—and maybe the entire team on September 4. There’ll be a clamoring for coach Bryan Harsin to suspend Finley for one game. The next game. And we know what game that is, perhaps the most anticipated one in school history. It’ll be interesting to see what Harsin decides. The charges against Finley are misdemeanors. He’ll have to be treated the same way any other guy on the roster would be.
Regardless of Finley’s status for the Washington game, he’ll have to spend the next three months rebuilding trust with the Boise State coaching staff, if not his teammates. The starting quarterback has to be a leader, and Finley’s task—if he’s the guy—is to prove that’s not a matter for debate. One of the Broncos’ all-time great quarterbacks, Ryan Dinwiddie, faced a similar situation when he was a sophomore. Dinwiddie was arrested by police in 2001 when he was found passed out in an idling car in a Boise intersection, and he was suspended for one game by coach Dan Hawkins. The difference then: Dinwiddie’s transgression came toward the end of the season in November, and there was just one game remaining. Dinwiddie rebounded with record-breaking seasons as a junior and senior.
It’s pure coincidence, but it looks like the same topsy-turvy weekend produced Boise State’s quarterback for the 2016 recruiting class. Micah Wilson of Lincoln Christian School in Tulsa, OK, tweeted his commitment to the Broncos late yesterday afternoon after visiting the campus and Boise. Scout.com lists Wilson as 6-2, 200 pounds, and tabs him as a three-star recruit and the top QB prospect out of the state of Oklahoma. He passed for 2,371 yards and 34 touchdowns against nine interceptions last season. Wilson also added 549 yards and six TDs on the ground.
It’s amazing how many quarterback battles have dominated spring football this year. There’s one at Washington, of course, and after the Huskies’ spring game Saturday, all signs point to Chris Petersen sending Jeff Lindquist out for the first snap on the blue turf Labor Day weekend. Officially the race is still open, but Lindquist was 13-of-16 for 237 yards with touchdown passes of 71 and 37 yards Saturday, out-shining redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning. Lindquist is the one who started Petersen’s UW debut at Hawaii last year when Cyler Miles was suspended. He has 10 collegiate completions to his credit.
What to make of Matt Linehan’s pinball numbers in Idaho’s Silver & Gold Game Friday night? The sophomore signal-caller was 22-of-24 for 467 yards and six touchdowns in the Vandals’ spring football finale. Clearly Linehan has benefitted from an offseason of film study and communication with his dad, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, and dad’s prize pupil, Tony Romo. The younger Linehan is poised for a breakout season. But those numbers are equally humongous on the other side of the ball, even if it is the No. 2 defense. It’s defense that will determine if Idaho finally turns the corner in coach Paul Petrinto’s third season.
Suddenly and stunningly, the Idaho Steelheads’ 2014-15 season is teetering on the edge. The Utah Grizzlies did what few thought they could over the weekend, coming into CenturyLink Arena and sweeping two playoff games from the Steelheads. Friday night the Steelies outshot the Grizzlies a whopping 43-19 Friday night but still lost 4-1 as the first-round series was knotted at two games apiece. Saturday night Idaho was in a pretty good spot, leading 2-1 after two periods. Then Utah reeled off four goals in the third period to win 5-2 and take a two games-to-one lead. It all comes down to tonight, when the Steelheads face elimination in Game 6 in West Valley City. It’s an entirely unexpected position for the ECHL Pacific Division champion.
I don’t know what happened to the Boise State men’s tennis team about 10 days ago, but the light went on, and now the Broncos find themselves in the NCAA Tournament as Mountain West champions for the fourth straight year. BSU was muddling along at 10-15 going into last weekend when it dominated Utah State and Idaho at home, losing only one individual match along the way. Then in the Mountain West Championships in Albuquerque, the Broncos followed their quarterfinal shutout of Fresno State with a 4-2 upset of top-seeded host New Mexico on Saturday. And in the title match yesterday, they lost the doubles point before rallying for a 4-3 win over Nevada. The Broncos learn their postseason destination tomorrow, as does Idaho, which won the Big Sky title over Northern Arizona yesterday.
Elsewhere, there was just enough of a break in the weather for the Boise State sand volleyball team to get in its first two home matches in program history Friday. The Broncos beat Oregon 4-1 before falling to No. 10 Arizona 5-0. The Boise State women’s softball team picked up its second series win in Mountain West play this season, taking two of three games from Colorado State at Dona Larsen Park. And the College of Idaho baseball squad finished the regular season with a doubleheader sweep at Menlo College Saturday. The Coyotes, who reached the 30-win plateau for the 20th time in school history, open the NAIA West Grouping Championships this Friday morning in Portland.
Jake Plummer gave an engaging talk Saturday night as the keynote speaker at the Idaho Youth Sports Commission’s Kickoff event. Plummer adamantly advocates that kids play multiple sports growing up, just like he did. The Capital High grad and former NFL quarterback calls handball the greatest game in the world. “I’m dead serious,” Plummer exclaimed. He says one activity rubs off on another in the development of an individual’s skills. How did he escape those massive NFL pass rushers all those years? Plummer suggests it was thanks to jumping on the tramp as a kid on Hill Road and dodging nerf balls thrown at him mid-air by brothers Brett and Eric.
The steroid era is over, and pitchers’ duels abound in the majors. One of the best yet in the young season was Friday night in Oakland, where Houston and the A’s went into extra innings in a scoreless tie. It was former Boise Hawk Marwin Gonzalez who busted it up with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the 10th. Gonzalez was thrown out after rounding too far past second base, but the Astros had a 2-0 lead—until Oakland’s Josh Reddick answered with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning. The Astros went on to win 4-2 in 11 on their way to their first-ever sweep of the A’s. Gonzalez, who was a Hawks regular in 2008, has played in seven games this season and is batting .296.
This Day In Sports…April 27, 1983:
Nolan Ryan surpasses Walter Johnson’s 56-year-old career strikeout record, fanning five in Houston’s 4-2 win over Montreal for a total of 3,509. At the age of 36, Ryan was in his 16th full season in the majors and, incredibly, still had 10 years to go. He had previously pitched for the New York Mets and California Angels, and he’d remain with the Astros through 1989 before finishing his career with the Texas Rangers. Ryan’s all-time strikeout record would end up at 5,714.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)