In Kellen Moore’s life, the highs have never been too high, and the lows have never been too low. In Kellen Moore’s life, the highs have never been too high, and the lows have never been too low. This is a low, but Moore will be fine. He was waived yesterday by the Dallas Cowboys, leaving his playing future in doubt. Moore could keep chasing his NFL dream. The Dallas Morning News reported that, if he clears waivers, the Cowboys hope to re-sign Kellen to their practice squad, where he toiled before being promoted to the 53-man roster upon the injury to starter Tony Romo. Moore still enjoys playing, and Dallas likes the fact that he’s a great scout team player—kind of a coach on the practice field. But the most exposure he’s received this season was on the Tonight Show last week when Jimmy Fallon named him, “Most likely to beat Casey Affleck in a Casey Affleck look-a-like contest.”
Then again, maybe it’s time to switch gears after 3½ years in the league without having ever taken a regular-season snap. There’s no question about Moore’s coaching future. The guy who threw for 14,667 yards and 142 touchdowns at Boise State en route to becoming the winningest quarterback in college history has a football mind better than any other 26-year-old in America. There’s a spot waiting for him on a coaching staff somewhere. Certainly in Boise. And why not Seattle? His brother Kirby is a graduate assistant at Washington under Chris Petersen. I remember a questionnaire Moore filled out for the old Bronco football summer softball charity event. Under “name your dream job,” Kellen wrote, “head football coach at Boise State.” That was 2011. We’ll see.
One thing about Boise State tailback Jeremy McNichols this season, he always seems to turn in one big half. McNichols had strong second halves against Idaho State and Virginia, big first halves versus Colorado State and Hawaii, and both halves were good against Wyoming. Look at the UNLV game on Halloween. McNichols had just 13 yards on nine carries at halftime, and went off for 109 yards on 13 attempts, including the dagger touchdown, after that. It’s obviously been stressed to McNichols that turnovers are to be avoided. In Las Vegas he lost the first fumble of his career in the second quarter, and the Rebels scooped it up for a TD. McNichols then had to sit on the next possession while the Broncos marched 72 yards for their third touchdown, scored by Kelsey Young.
The aforementioned big halves by McNichols are buoyed by breakaway runs. His numbers would be pedestrian without them. McNichols has peeled off a run of 15 yards or more in every game except one this season, and he’s had five dashes of 25 yards or more the past two games. And therein lies the key to New Mexico staying with Boise State Saturday night on the blue turf. Lobos coach Bob Davie was asked about the No. 1 reason his defense was able to stifle the Utah State offense the way it did in last week’s 14-13 upset. “They didn’t have any long runs,” Davie said, “which I thought was the difference in the game.”
In honor of Veterans Day (and in honor of the need to fill seats), Boise State has a 24-hour half-price sale on tickets to the New Mexico tilt, which will also serve as the Broncos’ annual “Black-Out Game.” Fans can buy online at BroncoSports.com until midnight tonight or in person at the Albertsons Stadium ticket office until 5:30 p.m. today. This is the result of a confluence of events: another 8:15 p.m. kickoff (combined with the chill of November) and an opponent that has never played well on the blue turf. But you would think the increased stakes of Saturday night’s game would help at the box office.
Back to Coach Pete and Washington. What are the expectations for the 4-5 Huskies now? “It’s bowl game or bust,” writes Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times. “Yes, this 2015 season can’t be considered a success unless Washington plays a game after the Apple Cup. For all the potential the team has flashed, its validity hinges on a postseason berth. Will they finish, or will they fade? We learned that this year’s D was as effective—if not more effective—than any of its Pac-12 counterparts. And when half of your team is the class of the conference, shouldn’t you win at least half your games?” A bowl is certainly doable for UW. The Huskies face Arizona State in Tempe Saturday, followed by Oregon State in Corvallis and Washington State at home.
It’s an off-year for the Carroll College Fighting Saints, who will be paying their first visit to Simplot Stadium Saturday for the College of Idaho’s season finale. Carroll, a perennial NAIA football power that has won 13 Frontier Conference titles and six national championships in coach Mike Van Diest’s 17 years in Helena, is just 4-5 this season after a 21-13 loss at Rocky Mountain last week. The Saints have been plagued by a rash of injuries and are averaging only 332 yards per game on offense. But this program knows how to win.
The Boise State men’s basketball season starts officially Friday night at Montana, and it is then we’ll find how far Anthony Drmic has come in his rehab from last January’s ankle surgery. Drmic was shaking off the rust after being out of game action for about 11 months in last Friday’s exhibition win over Northwest University. Drmic, one of the Broncos’ best three-point marksmen, missed all four of his long-range attempts and scored just four points. But he was in the flow, recording six assists on the night. Boise State needs his scoring punch, though.
Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan in Fort Collins took last season’s finaI RPI ratings and ranked the Mountain West’s non-conference men’s basketball schedules. UNLV’s slate rates the toughest with an average opponent’s RPI of 115.4, and Boise State is second at 131.3. Both the Rebels and the Broncos play Arizona, which ended up with a No. 4 RPI last spring. The weakest non-conference slate belongs to Wyoming, with an average RPI of 228.2. Yikes.
Man, if only every TV game could be like that one. KTVB’s 24/7 had a dandy last night, as Northwest Nazarene edged the College of Idaho 100-96 in overtime in Game 1 of this year’s United Heritage Mayors’ Cup series. The Coyotes, who led 38-26 at halftime, had to rally down the stretch to force the OT. Then the Yotes looked poised to finish when they went up by seven points with three minutes left in the extra period. But the Crusaders, led by Mike Wright’s 25 points, scrapped their way to their first win over the C of I in three years. NNU spoiled a stellar 38-point night from the Coyotes’ Joey Nebeker. The Canyon County rivals have a rematch coming up in two weeks in Caldwell.
Finally, we salute Boisean Keith Stein, the founder of Stein Distributing, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 86. Stein left an indelible mark on Boise State football, especially halftimes on the blue turf. He and his wife, Catherine, financed the rebirth of the marching band in 1987 after more than a decade of dormancy. The atmosphere at Bronco Stadium had been hollow without it. The Keith Stein Blue Thunder Marching Band will play with feeling at Saturday night’s game.
This Day In Sports…November 11, 2000, 15 years ago today:
In one of the wildest games in Bronco Stadium history, Boise State runs away from explosive Utah State, 66-38, in a Veteran’s Day showdown for the Big West lead. Bart Hendricks threw for a then career-high 381 yards and four touchdowns to offset a stunning 509-yard passing performance by Aggie quarterback Jose Fuentes—and 297 receiving yards by USU’s Aaron Jones, still a USU record.
(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.)