Following last season’s Las Vegas Bowl, I opined that what former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore brought to the game of football — his intelligence, mostly — was going to be far more appreciated once he had moved on.
There was perhaps no better example of that loss in this young 2012 season than what happened Thursday night when No. 24 Boise State survived an ugly 7-6 win over BYU. It was bittersweet in a way. On one hand, it was the second time the Broncos have been held without an offensive touchdown this season (the other time being a 17-13 season-opening loss to No. 13 Michigan State). On the other, BSU defensive tackle Michael Atkinson intercepted a Riley Nelson pass and ran it 36 yards for a FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN!!!
But Boise State’s offense, like BYU’s, was stagnant the entire evening. While each defense deserves credit there, it also goes to show just how much the Broncos lost on offense outside of Moore. Boise won the turnover battle 5-0 and could only convert one into points. There were mistakes all evening. Both teams had eight penalties for nearly identical yardage and neither had much success converting third downs. Boise’s kicking game is still lacking too. Broncos place kicker Michael Frisina missed a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter and never got another chance; Chris Petersen opted for five fourth-down attempts the rest of the game (of which he converted zero).
Incidentally, Boise won tonight’s game because BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall opted for the two-point conversion (which failed) after backup quarterback Taysom Hill ran in from the 4-yard line for a touchdown with under four minutes to play.
It was an overall defensive struggle, but the miscues were glaring. While trying to run down the clock, Broncos quarterback Joe Southwick snapped the ball on a second-and-10 with seven seconds still left on the play clock and completed a pass to Holden Huff, who went out-of-bounds. Boise got the first down on the play, and that about finished the game, but Petersen looked like he was going to lose his mind. Two plays later, Southwick called a timeout.
When the clock hit all zeroes, Petersen unhooked his headset and said one word that was recognizable by lip reading:
Yet another FBS opening is reportedly on the verge of being closed.
According to a report from FootballScoop.com, Jay Norvell “will be the next head coach at Nevada.” The Reno Gazette-Journal writes that “Norvell, the third and final candidate to interview for the Wolf Pack football head-coaching vacancy, was so impressive he didn’t even leave Reno before being offered the job, which he quickly accepted.” Norvell was offered the job late Wednesday night.
The other two interviewed were Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin and Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. The former interviewed Monday, the latter Tuesday.
If/when hired, Norvell would replace Brian Polian, who “mutually parted ways” with the football program last month after four seasons. This would be Norvell’s first head-coaching job at any level.
Norvell just completed his first regular season as an assistant on Todd Graham‘s Arizona State coaching staff. With the Sun Devils, Norvell served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
Norvell has spent most of his nearly three decades in coaching at Power Five programs, with stops that included Texas (2015), Oklahoma (2008-14), UCLA (2007), Nebraska (2004-06), Iowa State (1995-97), Wisconsin (1989-94) and Iowa (1986-87). He also spent six seasons as an assistant in the NFL — 1998-2001 as the wide receivers coach of the Indianapolis Colts, 2002-03 as tight ends coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.
“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”
Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.
“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”
Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.
The Houston Cougars are reportedly hoping to have a new head coach named as soon as this coming weekend. As expected, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles are among the final candidates being considered for the job.
One candidate no longer to be in the mix, according to a report from Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, is Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. That should be good news for Oklahoma, as it likely means Riley will be back in Norman for at least one more season to run the offense (and with Baker Mayfield coming back for 2017, the Sooners offense should continue to rack up some big numbers).
As noted by Duarte, five total candidates were vetted by Houston for the head coaching job. Kiffin, Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along with Riley all were checked by the university as a decision is approaching.
Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.
Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.
Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.
Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.