If Alexander Mattison can bottle up what he did in the middle of last season and spread that over four or so months this year, there’s no telling what he could do for Boise State. In those six games in October and November, Mattison rushed for 753 yards and eight touchdowns and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. That includes the stunning 59-52 comeback win at Colorado State, when he piled up 242 yards, the third-most in school history. In the other eight games—the first four and the last four—Mattison ran for 333 yards and four TDs and averaged 3.7 per attempt. It’s that middle stretch that has the 5-11, 219-pounder on the watch list for the 2018 Doak Walker Award that goes to the nation’s top running back.
KTVB’s Jay Tust pointed out there’s something about junior years for running backs during the Bryan Harsin era at Boise State. Two years ago, Jeremy McNichols amassed 2,183 total yards on 351 touches and scored 27 touchdowns as a junior. In 2014, Jay Ajayi piled up 2,358 total yards on 397 touches and scored 32 TDs in his third season. Y’know what? Mattison is a junior. Not to forget that neither McNichols nor Ajayi stayed for their senior years. The question for Mattison would be the massive number of touches, as he is coming off a lower leg injury suffered in the Mountain West championship game last December. He professes to be healthy and ready to go now, though.
It’s unlikely that Boise State will face a familiar quarterback when it travels to Oklahoma State on September 15. Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown is now a Cowboy (the Broncos played against him in a 52-16 victory at Aloha Stadium in 2016). But OSU coach Mike Gundy proclaimed at Big 12 Media Days Tuesday that Taylor Cornelius was his starter heading into fall camp. Gundy later backtracked from that a bit, but he’s extremely confident in Mason Rudolph’s former backup. Cornelius is a former walk-on who’s now a 6-6, 232-pound fifth-year senior known as “Corndog,” and he knows the Cowboys offense inside-out.
Gundy also said there’s peace in the valley between him and OSU athletic director Mike Holder, who said last month on a podcast that he wished the Cowboys were higher in national recruiting rankings. Holder insinuated that Gundy settles for players when he doesn’t have to and that he should set his sights higher. This despite three consecutive 10-win seasons. “I knew what he was trying to say,” Gundy told ESPN.com. “He just didn’t do a good job of getting the information out there.
After their most discouraging loss of the season Tuesday night, the Boise Hawks got one back yesterday in a 10-inning 4-2 victory at Hillsboro. Trailing 2-1 going into the ninth, the Hawks’ Luis Castro led off with his fifth home run of the season to send the game to extras. Boise began the 10th with Daniel Jipping on second base via the new extra-inning rule being tested in the minors this season. Back-to-back doubles followed from Aubrey McCarty and Hidekel Gonzalez, and that was that. The Hawks had blown a 3-0 lead with two outs in the ninth inning the night before.
The Idaho Women’s State Amateur Championship tees off today at Shadow Valley (the field hasn’t been posted online yet). It’s worth noting here that veteran Scott Masingill of Payette tied for third at the Men’s State Am last month at Canyon Springs in Twin Falls (Eagle’s Colby Dean won the title). Massingill is, by my calculation, 66 years old now. It was an impressive performance amongst today’s young bucks. Masingill was the 1972 Pac-8 champion while playing for Oregon State.
Raise your hand if you’re a member of the Allie Ostrander Fan Club. It’s hard not to be. Boise State’s sophomore distance-running star has been named the Mountain West Female Athlete of the Year for the second straight time—only the second person, male or female, to take the honor in back-to-back years (the other was the Broncos’ Emma Bates three years ago). Ostrander capped her season with the national championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last month, but there was more to this award than that. She also finished fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall and was second in the 3,000-meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field meet. Ostrander captured five different first-team All-America honors during the athletic year.
The MW Male Athlete of the Year is San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. You could make a case for Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, but Penny’s body of work is right up there. He was a consensus first-team All-American last season after becoming the first player in MW history to be named both the conference Offensive Player and Special Teams Player of the Year in the same season. Penny also finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting while leading the nation in rushing with 2,248 yards, the fifth-most in NCAA history.
This Day In Sports…July 19, 1976:
At the Summer Games in Montreal, diminutive 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci, at 4-11 and weighing 80 pounds, becomes the first gymnast in Olympic history to receive a perfect 10.0 score. Then the amazing Romanian recorded six more in the competition. Her score after the uneven parallel bars appeared as 1.00, since the scoreboard wasn’t equipped to handle a four-digit number.
(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.)