Scott Slant Wednesday Weekly: Which staffers stay? What about Bush Hamdan?

While Boise State is dialed in on Friday’s game against Air Force and a chance at the Mountain West championship game, it’s hard not to look at the future. That means not only Spencer Danielson, but offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan, who rightfully got a lot of credit on the CBS Sports Network telecast at Utah State for his play-calling. It was most obvious on Taylen Green’s two touchdown passes to tight end Matt Lauter. Those two plays had the Aggies’ heads spinning. Don’t blink, but under Hamdan the Broncos have scored at least 30 points in nine straight games, the second-best streak in the country. Boise State is second in the Mountain West in both total offense and rushing. Figuring out how to hang on to Danielson in some form is one thing, but this program would really miss Hamdan in the Bleymaier Football Center.


Man did Danielson turn some heads in the 45-10 win down at Utah State last Saturday. Whereas a week ago Danielson was seen as a great choice for interim coach after the firing of Andy Avalos and a guy who should throw his hat in the ring (if only for the experience), now he has everyone wondering how his hat could not be in the ring. The image of two Gatorade baths at the end of the game and a sea of joyous players is going to be hard to forget. Those weren’t just “man-hugs.”

Everybody had wondered: would Boise State run through a wall for Danielson in Logan? The Broncos ran into a wall in the first quarter, looking like they had a case of the yips after all the strange things they had gone through the previous week—witness Green’s overthrow of a wide-open Austin Bolt, the punt that went off Goerge Holani’s foot, and Prince Strachan’s drop. But their hair did catch fire in the second quarter, and the plastering of the Aggies was the result. It came with a career-high 75-yard touchdown run from George Holani, who tied his best night as a Bronco with 178 yards, and Ashton Jeanty returning to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.


Green’s role will be interesting for Boise State against Air Force Friday. As he returned to his starting spot at Utah State, he went the entire way until mopup and kind of became a game manager. Green threw only 17 passes—and he still had some accuracy concerns, as he completed eight. He also rushed it eight times for a pedestrian 26 yards. But here’s the important thing: he did not turn the ball over, and he was a leader out there. And if Green can replicate that against the Falcons while taking a step forward through the air, it’ll bode well for the Broncos.


There’s been kind of a pattern with the Boise State defense the past six games: slow starts, strong finishes. Those who were questioning Danielson’s defensive acumen may not have noticed—and may have forgotten that the Broncos were No. 6 in the country in total defense last year. The exception in this stretch would be the bizarre final six minutes at Colorado State, but man was that an aberration. It happened again at Utah State. Boise State gave up 155 yards in the first quarter, and just 218 the rest of the game. That was helped by those nine sacks, tying the school record in the FBS era. The thing that bucked the trend for the Broncos was turnovers. They forced four, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. And just like that, Boise State is just minus-one now in turnover margin for the season.


You can call it Spencer Danielson karma or whatever, but Boise State picked up a three-star commitment Monday. He’s Gregory Bienvenue, an offensive lineman from Mesa, AZ. The Broncos also received a verbal Tuesday from kicker/punter Jarrett Reeser, a transfer from San Diego State. Early signing day is December 20, and there’s naturally some uncertainty with the recruiting class the Broncos already have. Take running back Dylan Riley from Moreno Valley. CA, for example. Riley is taking an unofficial visit to Nebraska this weekend. “I hope when (the Broncos) bring in a new coach, he doesn’t get rid of the whole staff and bring in a lot of new guys,” Riley told 247 Sports. “It’s tough for me because I really can’t go somewhere with a staff and coaches that I don’t know.”


Former Boise State star Khalil Shakir has had a lot of “kinda” breakout games in the NFL. But he sure had a breakout moment last Sunday when he teamed with Josh Allen for the league’s longest pass play of the year. Most of it was Shakir, as he made the catch over the middle and did the rest himself on an 81-yard touchdown in Buffalo’s 32-6 win over the New York Jets. Shakir ended up with his first NFL 100-yard game—three catches for 115 yards. For the season he has 22 receptions for 363 yards and two TDs.


It’s not rocket science to figure out where Boise State hoops needs to improve in its opener Thanksgiving evening at the ESPN Events Invitational near Orlando. The Broncos face their second straight ACC opponent, Virginia Tech, and they’ll need to crash the boards to have a shot. Clemson annihilated Boise State 40-25 on the glass in an 85-68 win last Sunday. The Tigers pulled down 13 offensive boards, leading to 19 second-chance points. The good news: the Broncos forced 18 Clemson turnovers. So good things can happen if they add rebounding. On the offensive end, expect a very focused Tyson Degenhart and a very focused Max Rice against the Hokies. Degenhart got into early foul trouble against Clemson, and both players were held to only seven points each. This is a very important tournament for Boise State.


The Idaho Vandals will be watching TV on Saturday. They have that coveted bye in the first round of the FCS Playoffs as the No. 4 seed this week. Great time for a bye, too, as they try to get some key players healed for a deep run. Idaho will play the winner of the Southern Illinois-Nicholls game a week from Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. Hopefully the Vandals don’t lose momentum, because they couldn’t have much more of it after a stunning performance against Idaho State. With All-Big Sky quarterback Gevani McCoy on the shelf, backup Jack Layne came on to throw six touchdown passes—in the first half. Idaho turned a 56-0 halftime lead into a 63-21 romp. Cody Hawkins’ first season as ISU head coach ended at 3-8.


College of Idaho found out who it faces in the NAIA Playoffs this Saturday, and it’s not the best draw. It’ll be Frontier Conference foe Montana Western, and it’ll be in Dillon, MT. Predicted high: 30 degrees. Adversity knocks. The Bulldogs will be inspired, too. The Yotes handed Western its only loss of the season back on September 9, winning 37-35 on an Andy Peters-to-Jon Schofield Hail Mary. It’s an uphill climb, but the playoff bye hopefully gave the Yotes a chance to glue themselves back together after the disappointing loss at Southern Oregon in the regular season finale. On the basketball side, C of I coach Colby Blaine is unfazed after the Coyotes had their 38-game winning streak snapped by Vanguard last Friday, 94-67. The Yotes responded with a 100-80 victory over Antelope Valley.


The Idaho Steelheads fell to the Allen Americans on Opening Night in Boise last month, and they’ve lost only once since. The Americans were back last week and were swept in Idaho Central Arena. The Steelheads carry the ECHL’s best offense (a stellar 5.08 goals per game) into a three-game series at Rapid City beginning tonight. The Steelies, scoring machine that they are, have three of the top five point-scorers in the ECHL. Mark Rassell is second with 19, Wade Murphy is tied for third with 18, and Kearon Mastrodonato is tied for fifth with 16. Rassell also leads the league with 10 goals and four game-winning tallies.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BACON BOISE…fresh breakfast and brunch every day!

November 22, 2008, 15 years ago today: Ohio State routs Michigan 42-7 in Columbus to put an end to the worst season in the Wolverines’ 129-year football history. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, extended their streak to a then-record five straight games in the bitter rivalry. Michigan finished 3-9, losing its most games ever and suffering its first losing season since 1967. It was the first year for coach Rich Rodriguez after a highly successful run at West Virginia. Rodriguez would last two more years but would be fired after the 2010 season following a 15-22 record at UM.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *