Monday, July 28, 2014

Today we hit the one-month mark before kickoff of Boise State's 2014 football season. Time will indeed fly, and before you know it the Broncos will be in the Georgia Dome christening the Bryan Harsin era against Ole Miss. The Rebels are viewing the Chick-fil-A Kickoff as more than just a season-opening game. Georgia is fertile recruiting ground for the Rebs (as it is for all SEC schools), yet they have never played a game in Atlanta and long to get a foothold there. They want to 1) win and send a message to the nation, 2) bring a huge throng to the Dome to send a message to Georgia recruits, and 3) recruit.

Boise State has an unusually large set of junior college transfers that it hopes will contribute right away as fall camp begins Friday, particularly on the defensive line. Ole Miss has its own cast of JC guys, including a 280-pound...quarterback? Jeremy Liggins is actually a tight end, but Rebels coach Hugh Freeze may use him as a QB in short-yardage situations, and he may end up on the offensive line, too. Liggins, who reported to Ole Miss at 310 pounds in January, was a high school star in Mississippi who originally committed to LSU but didn't qualify academically. He has stemmed the criticism that came out that decision by coming back home. Liggins was ranked the No. 2 overall juco athlete in the country last winter by ESPN.

I kind of like what I did last night on Sunday Sports Extra (if I don't say so myself). If you missed it, I ran down the pass receiving totals for the last two Boise State players to wear jersey No. 2. The combined numbers for Austin Pettis and Matt Miller are staggering, and Miller has one season to go. Pettis is the Broncos' career receptions leader with 229, and Miller is just 13 behind going into his senior season (he's also trailing by 13 career in touchdown catches, 39-26). Pettis topped 2,800 yards in career receiving yards, and Miller is over 2,500 yards. How about the totals, though—445 catches, 5,426 yards, and 55 TDs. We'll have to update that at the end of the season.

Graham DeLaet was playing in a sizzling threesome Thursday and Friday at the Canadian Open. DeLaet kept up his end of the bargain after two rounds, trailing playing partner Jim Furyk by two strokes. But the former Boise State star watched Furyk and Matt Kuchar play slightly better over the weekend and was looking up at them at the end, tying for seventh and falling short in his quest to become the first Canadian to win his homeland's Open in 60 years. Furyk was second at 16-under, Kuchar was tied for fourth at 11-under—the winner was 2000 Albertsons Boise Open champion Tim Clark. DeLaet ended at 10-under and won $183,825 bringing his season total to $2,085,787.

Fellow Boise State grad Troy Merritt had a serviceable finish yesterday, carding a two-under 68 at Royal Montreal to come in tied for 53rd. Merritt had started the tournament a house afire with a first-round 66, but the big picture is the move he's made since early June. He has made the cut in five of his last six events and has upped his season earnings to $835,963. Merritt slipped three spots in the FedEx Cup standings to No. 103, but he's still well within the No. 125 cut line for a 2014-15 PGA Tour card.

Speaking of the Albertsons Boise Open, the guy who set a tournament first-round record 11 days ago with an 11-under-60 at Hillcrest Country Club made sure the following Tour event didn't get away from him. Zach Sucher won the Midwest Open in Overland Park, KS, yesterday, coasting home despite a one-over 72 to win by three strokes. It was Sucher's first tour victory. He ended up tying for fourth in Boise after his momentous opening round.

The Boise Hawks' second-half start is a little shaky after dropping three of four games over the weekend. The Hawks lost both seven-inning ends of the Friday night doubleheader in Everett before wrapping up the series against the AquaSox with a 7-6 victory Saturday. Boise then opened a three-game set at Hillsboro with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings yesterday before more than 5,000 announced fans at Ron Tonkin Field. The Hawks had gone up 3-2 in the top of the 10th, but the Hops' Pedro Ruiz hit a two-run walk-off homer off Hawks closer Francisco Carrillo in the bottom of the frame. One Hawks note: new addition Charcer Burks has gone 9-for-17 in the five games since arriving from rookie league in Mesa, good for a .529 average.

Ryan Watkins is going to get to play basketball for money. The former Boise State standout signed a contract yesterday with Aris Leeuwarden of the Dutch Basketball League, the highest-level pro league in the Netherlands. Watkins was able to check the situation out via fellow former Broncos Matt Bauscher and Mark Sanchez, who also played for Aris Leeuwarden. Watkins was a second-team All-Mountain West selection last season as a senior, averaging 11.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game to become the first Boise State player to average a double-double in 42 years. He led the NCAA in total offensive rebounds and offensive boards per game.

Boise's Brian Scott finished seventh in Saturday's Nationwide Series Brickyard race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Scott didn't win any bonus money in the Nationwide's "Dash 4 Cash" series, but he remains eligible for another $100,000 bonus at the four-race program's finale next week in Iowa. Scott remains fifth in the Nationwide Series standings, 42 points behind leader Chase Elliott. Scott is still looking for his first career victory after 161 starts.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce has announced that the speaker for its 131st Gala Dinner will be Dara Torres, the only U.S. swimmer to compete in five different Summer Olympics. She won 12 Olympic medals overall—three of them were silvers that came at the age of 41 at the Summer Games in Beijing. What's more, Torres didn't swim in the 1996 or 2004 Olympics, so her appearances were spread over a period of 24 years. The Gala Dinner is set for Tuesday, October 7, at the Boise Centre On The Grove.

This Day In Sports

July 28, 1984, 30 years ago today:

The Summer Olympics open in Los Angeles—with 17-year-old Dara Torres but without the Soviet Union and 14 other Soviet bloc nations. Those countries boycotted the Summer Games, partly in reprisal for the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. But the organizers of the L.A. Games, including C.E.O. Peter Ueberroth, were able to turn a rare and surprising profit of $200 million. Stars of those Olympics included sprinter Carl Lewis, who won four gold medals, and women's gymnastics all-around gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. 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.)

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