This Day In Sports: The high-scoring Broncos of 1970-71 (one in particular)

January 25, 1971: Boise State turns in its second-highest scoring game ever in a 118-96 win over Portland State in Bronco Gym, keyed by 41 points from Ron Austin. It was the Broncos’ transition season from the NAIA level to the NCAA and the Big Sky, and there were lots of encouraging signs after a 20-8 campaign in 1969-70. Boise State played its first-ever game (and first home game) against a Pac-8 school, hosting Washington State in December. The Broncos gave WSU a tussle before falling 69-64.

Boise State also won its first four Big Sky games and was an entertaining squad, averaging 79.6 points per game, still the fourth-best mark in school history. The Broncos also topped the century mark in a 108-77 win over College of Idaho, and they scored 99 in a two-point loss at Eastern Montana. But the rigors of that first conference schedule finally got the best of them—they finished 10-16 overall and 5-9 in the Big Sky.

And then there was Austin, who would be part of the inaugural class inducted into the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982. His effort against Portland State that night remains one of only four 40-point games in Boise State history. Austin also had one of the others, breaking his own record with 42 points against Montana three weeks later. The next came from Carl Powell, who scored exactly 40 against Idaho State in 1979. From there, the Broncos went 39 years without one—until Chandler Hutchison’s record 44 points against San Diego State in 2018 (and there hasn’t been one since).

Austin would go on to average 24.5 points per game in 1970-71, still a school record, and more than two points better than the next guy in line, Roberto Bergersen (22.2 in 1998-99). Austin is one of only five Boise State players to score 600 points in a season. The others are Reggie Larry, Bergersen, Derrick Marks and Hutchison. Pretty tall company. By the way, the 118 points by the team was the school record for almost 49 years. It was finally broken in the season opener in 2019-20 in a 126-49 rout of Life Pacific, an NAIA school from Southern California.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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