Kent State may be an underdog to Wyoming and its typically-tough defense today in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but the Golden Flashes offense is well, flashy. KSU, the MAC runnerup this year, is eighth in the nation in total offense at 483 yards per game. The Flashes are also fourth in the country in rushing, and the centerpiece is Marquez Cooper with 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns. Quarterback Dustin Crum has thrown for 16 touchdowns with six interceptions, but he’s also rushed for 11 scores. Kent State prides itself on snapping the ball every 15 seconds or so. Can Wyoming’s offense keep up? Well, maybe. The Golden Flashes are 122nd in the country in total defense, giving up 466 yards per game.
APPRECIATING CHAD MUMA
The heart and soul of the Wyoming defense is linebacker Chad Muma. We talked about Muma’s daily dealings with diabetes when the Cowboys visited Boise State in November. Now there are football footnotes. Muma was named a second-team All-American by Walter Camp and Pro Football Focus, and AP tabbed him as a third-teamer. He’s averaging 10.8 tackles per game, second in the Mountain West and fourth in the nation. Muma has also returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season. Today marks the final game of his Wyoming career. And, by the way, it’ll be a tolerable late December afternoon on the blue turf, with a lot of sunshine and highs in the low 40s. Tonight we’ll keep a eye on San Diego State as the Aztecs face UTSA in the Frisco Bowl.
TODAY’S TRANSFER PORTAL INTRIGUE
There’s a Hopper hangin’ out in the transfer portal. It’s not Boise State tight end Tyneil Hopper, but his brother, Tyrone, who is leaving North Carolina. It’ll be interesting to see where Tyrone lands, right? The older Hopper, a 6-4, 245-pound linebacker, didn’t play much for the Tar Heels, making 63 tackles with 3.5 sacks in his career. But hopes were high for this season—until he suffered a shoulder injury in the second game in September. Tyrone also visited Boise the weekend of the Wyoming game to surprise Tyneil. Might he surprise him again?
Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, having departed the crazy Todd Graham era on the Islands, is transferring to San Jose State. Cordeiro has a built-in go-to receiver—he’ll be throwing to former Nevada star Elijah Cooks, who left the Wolf Pack after coach Jay Norvell bolted for Colorado State. Cordeiro is coming off a middling season with the Rainbow Warriors. He was sixth in the Mountain West in pass efficiency this season with a rating of 131.4, throwing for 2,793 yards and 17 touchdowns against 11 interceptions with a 55 percent completion percentage.
ECK SEES OPPORTUNITY KNOCKING
The University of Idaho held its introductory press conference with new football coach Jason Eck Monday, and Idaho SportsTalk held its introductory interview with the former South Dakota State offensive coordinator. Eck noted that five Big Sky schools made the FCS Playoffs this season, and he sees a big light at the end of the tunnel. “The gap between the University of Idaho and the fifth team in the Big Sky is not that big, and it’s a gap that can be closed,” said Eck. The Vandals game this fall that sticks out ot him is the 20-13 loss at Montana State. Eck and the SDSU Jackrabbits lost 31-17 Saturday in Bozeman in the FCS semifinals, and the Bobcats are headed to the national championship game. “That’s how close it is,” said Eck.
WILLIAMS IS STILL BRINGING THEM BACK
Avery Williams had a productive day on returns Sunday in Atlanta’s 31-13 loss to San Francisco. The former Boise State star ran back three kickoffs for 79 yards and one punt for 23 yards. For the season, Williams is averaging 21.2 yards on 19 kickoff returns and 7.1 yards on 18 punt returns. His playing time at cornerback has dried up, though—Williams has seen just five snaps on defense the past five games.
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE
Boise State faces Washington State for the first time in 14 years when the teams face off Wednesday night on a neutral court in Spokane Arena. The last meeting was an 86-74 loss in what is now ExtraMile Arena in November of 2007, way back when Greg Graham coached the Broncos and Tony Bennett coached the Cougars. The current version of Boise State continues to pride itself on defense. During their five-game winning streak, the Broncos have held all five opponents to 60 points or less. They have allowed more than 70 points only once this season. Which brings up the Cougs, who are 8-4. They are averaging almost 78 points per game. WSU also stunningly held Arizona State to 29 points in the Pac-12 opener on December 1.
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December 21, 1974: In one of the greatest games in NFL history, the Oakland Raiders beat the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, 28-26, in an AFC playoff game at the Oakland Coliseum. Kenny Stabler attempted a desperation, falling-down pass into what has become known as a “sea of hands” in the end zone, and somehow Clarence Davis pulled it down with 26 seconds remaining to win the game. The Raiders would fall to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers the following week in the AFC Championship Game.
(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.)