Boise State Broncos head coach Andy Avalos was the position coach of Greg Grimes in 2012.

Former Boise State DL Greg Grimes shot to death

Former Boise State defensive lineman Greg Grimes was shot to death early Monday morning in a shooting outside a Sacramento nightclub. Grimes was 31.

Four other people were wounded in the shooting. Sacramento police chief Kathy Lester said calls about the shooting began at 1:51 a.m.

Grimes redshirted in 2008 and played for Boise State from 2009-12.

“I, and the entire Boise State football family, are saddened to learn about the passing of Greg Grimes,” Broncos coach Andy Avalos said on Twitter. “I was fortunate to coach him during his senior season. He was a member of the brotherhood who is gone way too soon. He will be missed.”

Avalos was defensive line coach in 2012 when Grimes posted a career-high 27 tackles. Boise State went 49-4 in Grimes’ four on-field seasons during an era when now-Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was the star quarterback for the first three of those seasons.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Grimes started a staffing company last year. He also was coaching at Inderkum High in Sacramento, his alma mater.

Deborah Grimes told the newspaper her son was leaving the Mix nightclub in Sacramento when he was shot. She said Greg Grimes was going to celebrate the Fourth of July with his 4-year-old son.

“He’s never been in the streets or anything, he doesn’t have that kind of background,” Deborah Grimes told the Bee. “You just would never think that someone like him would be murdered. He just doesn’t fit a profile of a troublemaker or anything like that.”

The Natomas Unified School District — which Inderkum is part — released a statement on Monday.

“We are saddened by the news of the passing of Greg Grimes,” the district said. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends, and all the individuals he connected with through his work at Inderkum High School.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 29, 2018; Laramie, WY, USA; A general view of the Boise State Broncos helmet against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State backs out of Arizona Bowl

Boise State announced Monday it was backing out of this week’s Arizona Bowl at Tucson after COVID-19 issues within the program.

The Broncos were set to face Central Michigan in Friday’s game, which was still scheduled to be played Monday when Boise State withdrew.

Arizona Bowl options to replace the Broncos include finding another opponent to face Central Michigan or to have the Chippewas face Washington State, who are in limbo after Miami backed out of the Sun Bowl.

Tucson and El Paso, Texas — site of the Sun Bowl — are about 300 miles apart, making it feasible for one team to travel by bus to face the other.

Boise State began COVID-19 testing procedures Sunday, according to the Arizona Daily Star, with some positive cases. Testing continued into Monday before the team announced it would not make its scheduled Tuesday trip to the desert.

Central Michigan arrived at Tucson on Sunday.

Three bowl games already have been canceled: Fenway Bowl, Military Bowl, Hawaii Bowl. The Gator Bowl was in limbo after Texas A&M backed out, with Rutgers added as a replacement to face Wake Forest.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas running back Lew Nichols III (7) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State hopes to slow CMU’s Lew Nichols III in Arizona Bowl

The Arizona Bowl won’t be found on ESPN or any other networks that typically air college football bowl games.

Instead, the Dec. 31 Boise State-Central Michigan matchup at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, home the Pac-12’s Arizona Wildcats, will be seen on the controversial Barstool Sports, the title sponsor of the game this year.

According to USA Today, it will be the first major college football bowl game in at least 40 years that will not be shown on traditional television, cable or satellite TV channels.

People with ties to both schools have expressed concern over the website’s involvement, but at this point, the only thing that could stop the game from being played is an abundance of the positive COVID-19 tests that are all over sports at present.

Central Michigan (8-4) won four straight games to end the regular season, but the Chippewas are only 3-9 all-time in bowl games. They are led by running back Lew Nichols III, who was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year after leading the nation in rushing yards (1,710), carries (311) and yards per-game average (142.5). Nichols also leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,010.

The Chippewas leaned hard on Nichols down the stretch of their season. He rushed 43 times for 215 yards and four touchdowns against Kent State, then had 32 carries for 219 yards and three touchdowns at Ball State before ending the year with 194 yards and a score on 44 attempts against Eastern Michigan.

“I kind of just pulled him aside and said, ‘Look, here we go, let’s jump on your back and ride,’” Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain said, according to the Detroit News. “I’ve been at some pretty good places, had a Heisman Trophy winner (Mark Ingram Jr. in 2009, when he was an assistant at Alabama), and had some other things.

“But to lead the nation in rushing, that’s a heck of a feat.”

Boise State (7-5) is a perennial contender in the Mountain West with a fan base that typically travels well, especially to games in the western United States. First-year head coach Andy Avalos, a former star linebacker for the Broncos, guided them to a bowl game despite a tough schedule.

Boise State defeated eventual Mountain West champion Utah State and Top 25 teams BYU and Fresno State this season.

The Broncos are making their 19th appearance in a bowl game in the past 20 years, after players voted not to play in a bowl game last season.

“I think that was a learning experience for a lot of the people that were here,” Avalos said, according to the Idaho Statesman. “That goes back to living in grace and being thankful for the opportunity to continue to be around each other.”

Boise State hopes to get back quarterback Hank Bachmeier from an injury sustained in the final game of the regular season. Bachmeier threw for 3,079 yards and 20 touchdowns with eight interceptions in 12 games this season, averaging 256.6 passing yards per game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Diego State Aztecs wide receiver Jesse Matthews (45) celebrates with San Diego State Aztecs tight end Jay Rudolph (82) and San Diego State Aztecs wide receiver Tyrell Shavers (14) after scoring a touchdown against the UNLV Rebels at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Early game, high stakes for No. 21 San Diego St. vs. Boise St.

No. 21 San Diego State can clinch a spot in the Mountain West Conference championship game when it hosts Boise State on Friday morning in Carson, Calif.

The Aztecs (10-1, 6-1 MW) control their fate in the West division as they own a one-game lead over Fresno State. However, a loss could potentially be a problem, as the Bulldogs own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 30-20 victory over San Diego State on Oct. 30.

The Aztecs have won 10 or more games in five of the past seven seasons but haven’t played in the Mountain West title game since 2016.

Boise State (7-4, 5-2) certainly needs a win as well. The Broncos are part of a three-way tie for first in the Mountain division and the other two teams (Air Force, Utah State) play their games on Saturday.

“It’s a huge opportunity for both teams for there to be a lot of things on the line,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said.

In a unique occurrence, the game will start at 9 a.m. local time (noon ET) so that it can air nationally on CBS. Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said his team will have their pregame meal at 5:30 a.m.

“We’re up in the morning all the time year-round so our guys are used to it,” Hoke said of the early wakeup time.

Avalos sang a similar tune.

“We practice in the mornings, we operate in the mornings,” Avalos said. “The wake-up is a little earlier. … We’re going to need (to be ready) bright and early on Friday morning.”

San Diego State has won three straight games but wasn’t all that sharp in a 28-20 road win over UNLV on Nov. 19.

The Aztecs were outgained 394-290 but prevailed on the strength of three touchdown hookups between quarterback Lucas Johnson and Jesse Matthews.

“I didn’t think we played Aztec football, especially on the defensive side,” Hoke said. “We’ve got to do a better job. We can’t give up big plays thrown over our heads. We’ve got to coach better. We as a staff, we got to look at some things.”

Boise State routed New Mexico 37-0 last Saturday for its fourth consecutive win. The Broncos held the Lobos to 101 total yards and scored two touchdowns on blocked punts.

George Holani rushed for 114 yards, marking his third straight 100-yard outing.

Star receiver Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for 116 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown from Hank Bachmeier on the final play of the first half.

Shakir ranks fifth in Boise State history with 2,804 receiving yards and sixth with 202 receptions. He has 71 catches for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns this season and has indicated he will likely leave for the NFL after the season.

“There’s so much that he does behind the scenes as a leader, a person and a man,” Avalos said. “He’s one of the humblest guys on the team as well, and we’re very grateful he’s been a part of this brotherhood and part of this program.”

The teams have split six all-time meetings. San Diego State notched a 19-13 win at Boise State in 2018 in the most recent matchup.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boise State Broncos head coach Andy Avalos looks on against the UCF Knights during the second half at Bounce House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State routs No. 23 Fresno State

Jonah Dalmas kicked four field goals and Andrew Van Buren rushed for two touchdowns to help visiting Boise State roll to a 40-14 victory over No. 23 Fresno State in Mountain West play on Saturday night.

Hank Bachmeier was 15-of-27 passing for 283 yards and one touchdown as the Broncos (5-4, 3-2 MW) won their second consecutive game. George Holani racked up 186 yards from scrimmage (117 rushing, 69 receiving) and Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for 67 yards and one score.

JL Skinner, Kekaula Kaniho and younger brother Kaonohi Kaniho had interceptions for the Broncos, who recorded five sacks.

Fresno State’s Jake Haener tossed the three interceptions while completing 22 of 38 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Keric Wheatfall and Zane Pope had scoring receptions for the Bulldogs (7-3, 4-2), who had a three-game winning streak halted.

Boise State outgained Fresno State 470 to 356. The Bulldogs also were hurt by drawing 11 penalties for 91 yards.

A key sequence occurred during the middle of the third quarter. With the Broncos leading by 12, Dalmas kicked a 44-yard field goal but Fresno State’s Cale Sanders Jr. was called for roughing the kicker.

Boise State accepted the penalty that moved the ball to the Bulldogs’ 14-yard line. Three plays later, Bachmeier hit Shakir on a 10-yard scoring pass to make it 23-7 with 6:43 remaining in the quarter.

Dalmas booted a 27-yarder with 13:30 left in the contest to make it a three-score game and Van Buren tacked on a 1-yard scoring run to make it 33-7 with 7:41 remaining.

Tyler Crowe added a 7-yard scoring run with 2:48 left before Fresno State scored on Haener’s 5-yard pass to Pope with 1:10 to play.

Van Buren rushed for a score and Dalmas kicked three field goals as Boise State led 16-7 at the break.

Dalmas’ boots of 47 and 27 yards and Van Buren’s 1-yard run gave the Broncos a 13-0 lead with 12:45 left in the first half. Fresno State got on the board on Haener’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Wheatfall with 5:50 remaining before Dalmas added a 32-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play.

–Field Level Media

CSU football's Dequan Jackson takes down Boise State's Kyjuan Herndon during a game at Canvas Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

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Boise State ready to run with No. 25 Fresno State

No. 25 Fresno State hopes to have all its key offensive cogs when it hosts Boise State on Saturday night in a Mountain West showdown.

The Bulldogs (7-2, 4-1 MWC) have won three straight games while the Broncos (4-4, 2-2) are experiencing a down season under first-year coach Andy Avalos.

Star receiver Jalen Cropper injured his right knee when Fresno State stunned then-No. 21 San Diego State 30-20 last Saturday while leading rusher Ronnie Rivers (ankle) missed the contest after being hurt in the previous week’s win over Nevada.

The return of Rivers (573 rushing yards) would pose a welcome problem as Jordan Mims (504) had a career-best 186 rushing yards against San Diego State and has 320 over the past two weeks.

“With who gets the most touches, I think that’s just how the game plays out,” Bulldogs coach Kalen DeBoer said of the two likely splitting the load. “I really feel like Ronnie is right at that point of being able to be back out there, hopefully a full-go (Tuesday) with practice.”

Cropper is tied for second in the FBS with 10 touchdown receptions. His injury came on a non-contact play and initially looked serious as he was carted off the field.

But he returned to the sidelines later and rode a bike. The outlook continued to look good on Monday, according to offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb.

“He came in the training room (Monday), was loosening it up and we’re confident that he will play,” Grubb told reporters.

Cropper has team-best figures of 61 receptions for 664 yards as the top target of standout quarterback Jake Haener.

Haener has passed for 2,888 yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has six 300-yard outings this season and 10 in 15 career games with Fresno State.

The Bulldogs average 35.0 points and 480.4 yards per game but the defensive contributions have been key. The unit allows just 20.8 points per game and has recorded seven interceptions during the three-game winning streak.

Also, Fresno State has recovered 10 fumbles this season, which is tied for fourth nationally.

Free safety Evan Williams is the star player with team-best figures of 71 tackles and three interceptions. Defensive tackle Kevin Atkins has a team-leading six sacks.

Boise State will provide a test to the defense with quarterback Hank Bachmeier and wideout Khalil Shakir.

Bachmeier has passed for 2,203 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions, while Shakir has 49 receptions for 777 yards and four scores. Shakir had nine catches for 118 yards in last Saturday’s 28-19 road win over Colorado State for his ninth career 100-yard outing.

The Broncos average 29.3 points per game but wins haven’t come as easy as in the past. Boise State had to dig itself out of a 13-0 deficit to beat the Rams, a team they have never lost to in 11 all-time meetings.

“I still think we have a ways to go,” Bachmeier told reporters. “I don’t think we’re a complete team yet in terms of finishing a game and starting fast, but I’m so proud of us for being able to finish that game and come back from a deficit.”

Now Boise State looks to knock Fresno State out of the Top 25. The Broncos lead the series 15-7 but the Bulldogs won the most recent matchup, 19-16 in overtime on Dec. 1, 2018 in the Mountain West title game in Boise.

Avalos is just worried about this week and hoping to see his team record a second straight good performance.

“Every week we’re just trying to be 1-0,” Avalos said. “Overall it was our best performance (of the season).”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Boise State Broncos wide receiver Stefan Cobbs (5) returns a punt for a touchdown during the first half against the UTEP Miners at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

AAC targeting Boise State, UAB, others for expansion

The American Athletic Conference has identified potential candidates, most from the Mountain West, to join the league after the announced exodus of three teams to the Big 12, CBS Sports reported Thursday.

At the top of the AAC’s wish list are Mountain West programs Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State and San Diego State, along with UAB of Conference USA.

The conference is losing Cincinnati, Houston and UCF to the Big 12. Texas and Oklahoma began the chain reaction of moves with their announcement that they will join the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

The CBS report said the AAC likely will be looking to add four teams to bring the number of members to 12, with Boise State the most coveted addition based on the strength of its football program. CBS reported last week that Boise State, as well as Memphis, also could be top targets for the Big 12 should it choose to expand to 14 teams.

The AAC also has a second tier of teams it could pursue if it is spurned by any of its preferred teams, per the report. It includes FAU and UTSA from Conference USA.

BYU, an independent in football and a Mountain West member in the other sports, is joining the Big 12 in 2023, with the AAC teams expected on board by July 1, 2024.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Boise State Broncos bring the American flag onto the field prior to the game against the UTEP Miners at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Unbeaten Oklahoma State visits Boise State

Oklahoma State aims to notch its 19th win in its last 20 nonconference games when it visits Boise State on Saturday night.

The Cowboys (2-0) weren’t too ferocious while winning nonconference home games against Missouri State and Tulsa by an average of six points and coach Mike Gundy said his team will need to step up the effort on the famed blue turf in Boise, Idaho.

“My personal opinion is that they have a unique situation there,” Gundy said of the Broncos. “They kind of live in their own world out there, and they have their own way of thinking. …

“It’s pretty cool what they did. But essentially, the field needs to be the same for our guys. Our preparation and focus and getting ready to play and competing out there should overcome the color of the turf.”

Boise State (1-1) opened its season with a loss at UCF before recovering for a 54-13 home win over UTEP last Saturday. The Broncos forced six turnovers (three interceptions, three fumbles) for the first time since 2013.

Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier threw a critical interception late in the loss to UCF but that is his lone miscue this season. He has passed for 603 yards and four touchdowns.

Outside of the occasional home game against Pac-12 schools, Boise State doesn’t typically land home games against power conference programs. So Oklahoma State visiting to complete a two-game series between the schools has created extra buzz.

“We got a great challenge in front of us,” Broncos first-year coach Andy Avalos said during a press conference. “We know these are the types of games that excite our fan base so to be able to have one in Boise is an unbelievable opportunity.”

The Cowboys recorded a 44-21 win when the teams met on Sept. 15, 2018 in Stillwater. Oklahoma State blocked two punts, returning one for a touchdown and the other setting up a 7-yard touchdown drive.

Last Saturday, the Cowboys trailed Tulsa 14-7 after three quarters before scoring 21 fourth-quarter points. LD Brown’s 98-yard kickoff return put Oklahoma State ahead for good.

Cowboys linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez had 13 tackles against the Golden Hurricane one week after posting a career-best 15 versus Missouri State.

One player Oklahoma State will look to corral is Boise State wideout Khalil Shakir, who has 12 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Boise State Broncos running back George Holani (24) celebrates a touchdown against the Wyoming Cowboys during the first quarter at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Andy Avalos to be named head coach at Boise State

Boise State is expected to name former Broncos player and assistant coach Andy Avalos its next head coach, multiple outlets reported Friday night.

Avalos, 39, was an All-WAC linebacker for Boise State (2002-04) and an assistant coach for seven years – including three years as defensive coordinator – before spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Oregon.

Avalos would replace Bryan Harsin, who left last month to take the job at Auburn.

Boise State just last week hired a new athletic director, Jeramiah Dickey, who tweeted out Friday that a coaching hire was “coming soon.”

As a player, Avalos led the Broncos in tackles three years in a row and ranks No. 4 on Boise State’s career tackles list with 365. He earned first-team All-WAC honors in 2003 and 2004.

As a coach, Avalos was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award in 2019 for the nation’s top assistant coach. The Oregon defense finished ninth in the nation in scoring.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore talks with quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys sign OC Moore to extension

The Dallas Cowboys signed offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to a multi-year contract extension, meaning he has withdrawn his name from consideration for other coaching positions, including the head job at his alma mater, Boise State. NFL Network reported the “lucrative” deal, which the team announced Saturday, is for three years.

“I am very excited to remain with the Dallas Cowboys as the offensive coordinator,” Moore, 32, said in a statement Saturday night. “I will no longer be pursuing the head coaching job at Boise State. I love Boise State. I will always root for them, and I hope one day to be a part of the program again.”

Moore, who won 50 games as a quarterback for Boise State from 2008-11, was considered to be a strong candidate to replace Bryan Harsin, who was hired by Auburn after it fired Gus Malzahn earlier this month. Moore and Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos interviewed for the position, according to numerous reports.

The Cowboys have thrived offensively since he became coordinator two years ago. This year, Dallas ranks 12th in total offense (376.1 ypg), even after starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury during a victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 11. In Moore’s first year of calling plays last year, Dallas ranked first in total offense at 431.5 yards per game.

“We are building something special here in Dallas,” Moore said. “I am thankful to the Jones family and Mike McCarthy for providing me with the opportunity to coach these special players. I am excited for us to put it all together and finish the job.”

Dallas (6-9) closes its season at the New York Giants (5-10) on Sunday. The winner of the Dallas-Giants game makes the playoffs as the NFC East champion if the Washington Football Team (6-9) loses to the Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1) on Sunday night. Washington clinches the NFC East with a win.

–Field Level Media