Mountain West football: Gotta be this week…

If there’s going to be an October 24 kickoff for Mountain West football, time is of the essence. According to Hawaii athletic director David Matlin in a Sunday Honolulu Star-Advertiser story, Mountain West ADs are “scheduled to meet today and could present a plan to the Board of Directors this week on a proposal to resume football as soon as next month.” That would have to be the 24th if the conference is to get eight games plus a championship game in by December 19. And if four weeks of practice are to preceed it, that would have to start this Saturday.

The Rainbow Warriors are one of the key cards if the conference is to have full participation. Hawaii is the only state among MWC members with a quarantine currently in place. But beginning October 15, the Star-Advertiser notes, trans-Pacific travelers who pass pre-testing requirements may skip quarantine. “In the end, I think recent developments have put us in a (position) where we can consider it,” Matlin said. Fresno State has been an impediment to any plans the Mountain West has had to reignite the fall football season, but the Bulldogs profess to have a “bold and creative plan” to return their student-athletes to campus in one of California’s coronavirus hotspot counties.


All is right in the recruiting world—at least as far as Boise State is concerned. While other Mountain West schools were piling up commits by the handful late in the spring, the Broncos had one. But they were there old calculating selves. Boise State has been on a roll, picking up seven verbals in the past three weeks. The latest is James Wilborn Jr., a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker from Flint, MI, by way of Avon Old Farms, a boarding school in Avon, CT. Connecticut? Yes. Wilborn chose the Broncos over Michigan and Rutgers, among others. He is the 13th known commitment in Boise State’s 2021 class. During September, the Broncos have jumped from 10th to third in MW recruiting rankings, and it is far from over.


Week 2 of voting for Boise State’s All-Decade team of the 2010s was no contest. The kicker is former All-Mountain West performer Tyler Rausa, he of the school-record 25 field goals in 2015. Rausa has taken to Twitter all year to lobby for shot in the NFL, sharing video of field goals of 50, 60 and even 70 yards during workouts. There was a cacophony of tweets calling for NFL teams to sign Rausa after Week 1, especially Cincinnati, which missed a game-tying field goal attempt in the final seconds of a loss to the L.A. Chargers, and Tennessee, which beat Denver despite three errant field goals and a missed extra point.


Well, that’s why you don’t write the game story until the clock strikes zero. In the battle of offensive coordinators between Dirk Koetter and Kellen Moore, two big names in Boise State lore, the elder statesman with Atlanta had it all over the youngster with Dallas through most of the game on Sunday. Thanks to three lost fumbles, the Cowboys trailed the Falcons 20-0 in the first quarter and were behind 29-10 at halftime. Dallas was still down 39-24 with less than eight minutes to play when it mounted the most unlikeliest of rallies. The Cowboys scored a pair of touchdowns before Greg Zuerlein’s 46-yard field goal as time ran out gave them a thrilling 40-39 victory. At the end of the day, Moore’s offense racked up 570 yards, with Dak Prescott throwing for 450. Koetter and the Falcons had 480 yards.


Meridian’s Troy Merritt made the cut in the U.S. Open for the first time Friday. The rest of the weekend at Winged Foot he’d like to forget. Merritt slogged through a disastrous front nine on Saturday, carding three bogeys and two double-bogeys to sit seven-over at the turn. He finished with an eight-over 78 and plummeted to near the bottom of the leaderboard. On Sunday, Merritt began the day with back-to-back double-bogeys, then absorbed four back-nine bogeys and shooting another 78. He finished fourth-from-last and pocketed $26,684 for his troubles.


Reggie Larry, who led Boise State to the 2008 WAC championship after starring at College of Southern Idaho, is back in Twin Falls to embark on a coaching career. Larry tweeted, “Happy to announce that I’ve accepted a coaching position at CSI with the Women’s Basketball Program. Back at the college where my basketball journey began. Now I just want to help kids reach their goals and get to the next level.” Larry retired from pro hoops last month after 12 seasons that to took him through 10 countries overseas and three seasons in the NBA G-League (including two with the Idaho Stampede).

This Day In Sports…brought to you by COMMERCIAL TIRE…keeping you and your family on the road.

September 21, 1970, 50 years ago today: The Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets 31-21 in the first Monday Night Football telecast. Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith called the action; Frank Gifford would replace Jackson the following year. It was the first season merging the old AFL and NFL into one league, and Cleveland was getting used to its new life in the AFC. Monday Night Football was the stuff of legend. It moved from ABC to ESPN in 2006, and Sunday Night Football on NBC has since taken over its pedestal.

(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.)

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