24 September 2016:  Boise State's Jeremy McNichols (13) with a long stride into the end zone during the game between Boise State Broncos and the Oregon State Beavers at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis. (Photo by Steve Conner/Icon Sportswire)
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Group Of 5 Notes: Boise State’s unknown RB, Roadhouse Daltons

Steve Conner/Icon Sportswire

Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey isn’t the only talented, productive and versatile running back playing west of the Rockies. Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols might be the best running back you’ve not heard much about.

Last season as a sophomore, he was second in the FBS with 26 touchdowns while gaining 1,337 yards rushing with an additional 460 yards receiving. He missed one game with a concussion but was durable in 215, totaling nearly 300 touches (240 rushes, 51 receptions, five kickoff returns).

“He wants to be the best running back in the conference,” Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks said. “He wants to be the best running back in the nation. And I support him. And you know what? I think he has that ability.”

The 5-foot-9, 210-pound junior had 226 all-purpose yards in the Broncos’ victory over Utah State Saturday, scoring Boise State’s first touchdown on a 61-yard reception and rushing for 132 yards.

Over his last 10 games going back to last season, McNichols has 22 touchdowns and 1,356 rushing yards and 1,836 combined yards rushing and receiving.

“You can line that cat up anywhere on the field, he’ll make a play,” senior running back Devan Demas said. “He just keeps going and going. When you think he’s not going to go, he goes. There’s no stop with that kid.”

Going into Saturday’s Mountain West Conference game at New Mexico, McNichols is ninth in average yards rushing per game and third – behind McCaffrey and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey – in all-purpose yards per game.

“We’re trying to get him the ball in different ways. … It’s good for our offense the more times he can touch the ball,” Boise State quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “He’s a great back. One of the better backs if not the best back I’ve been around, just from a physical standpoint and from an all-around overall production standpoint.”

swayzeRoadhouse: The Next Generation

The late actor Patrick Swayze was known for his roles in “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” but he’s perhaps most famous for his role in the cult classic “Roadhouse.” It was released in 1989, and thanks to TBS (we’re guessing that Ted Turner was a big fan), it is aired every few weeks. If you haven’t seen it, rectify that.

Swayze played a bouncer with the last name “Dalton” who was renowned for fighting above his weight. He’s repeatedly told “I thought you’d be bigger.” When he’s getting stapled for a knife wound he refuses anesthetics, saying, “Pain don’t hurt.”

Well, it turns out we have two starting quarterbacks who were named after Swayze’s character: UTSA’s Dalton Sturm and UNLV’s Dalton Sneed, who provided one of the highlights of Week Five.

Somehow, someway, college football needs to get these teams to meet in a bowl game so we could have dueling Daltons.

It’s just a football game

Central Michigan coach John Bonamego apologized for his comments following his team’s 49-10 loss to Western Michigan. He took the defeat to CMU’s big rival as hard as his successful battle with tonsil cancer in 2015.

“I would rather go through another eight weeks of chemo and radiation than lose to that football team the way we lost tonight,” Bonamego said. “That’s the truth of how I feel.”

Bonamego received comments from a number of cancer survivors and victims’ families, including a Western Michigan fan whose wife has breast cancer. Bonamego spoke to the woman on the phone for 15 minutes earlier this week and apologized for the remarks that some thought were insensitive.

Quick slants

  • USF (4-1) is sixth nationally in scoring (45.8 points per game) and 15th in rushing offense (251.4 yards per game). The Bulls have gained over 200 yards rushing in 10 consecutive games and 13 of the last 14. The defense is sixth nationally in turnover margin and sixth in turnovers (12).
  • Navy takes on No. 6 Houston and will be without defensive captain and second-leading tackler Daniel Gonzales. The senior inside linebacker suffered a season-ending foot fracture in the Midshipmen’s loss at Air Force Saturday. Teammate and outside linebacker Josiah Powell will now wear Gonzales’ No. 58 to honor him for the rest of the season.
  • UNLV has lost its third wide receiver for the season due to injury. Redshirt freshman Darren Woods Jr. suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s victory over Fresno State. He was is second on the team in receptions (13) and receiving yards (189). He leads the team in kick returns with an average of 27.2 yards.
  • Four unbeaten teams remain in the Group of Five leagues: No. 6 Houston in The American, No. 19 Boise State and Air Force in the Mountain West, and Western Michigan in the Mid-American.
  • The CBS Sports Network was televising last Saturday’s Fresno State-UNLV game at Sam Boyd Stadium when an accident turned the facility into a mini version of the fountains at the Bellagio. The sideline camera crew was trying to adjust a wire, but somehow that turned into a broken pipe that spewed behind the UNLV bench.

  • North Texas rushed for 215 yards and five touchdowns against Rice two weeks ago, but last week against Middle Tennessee it managed just five yards on 22 attempts. Starting in the middle of the second quarter, the Mean Green had six consecutive three-and-out possessions. Under first-year offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, North Texas is 119th in total offense.
  • The top two coaches in the Mountain West Conference in terms of salary are Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter ($1.4 million) and Colorado State’s Mike Bobo (1.3 million). They are a combined 9-22 against FBS teams over the last two seasons.
  • Arkansas State, the defending Sun Belt champion, faces a crucial league opener Wednesday when it hosts Georgia Southern. The Red Wolves are 0-4 and play four of their last five games on the road. Georgia Southern and Troy are both 2-0 in the Sun Belt. Arkansas State is averaging just 16.8 points a game and its defense is allowing 6.3 yards per play.
  • Bowling Green has the dubious distinction of having allowed 77 points – twice. Ohio State and Memphis each rolled double sevens against the Falcons. Bowling Green is allowing an average of 49.8 points through five games. The FBS record is 50.3 by Louisiana-Lafayette in 1997.
  • Western Michigan was No. 25 in this week’s coaches’ poll, the first time the program has ever been ranked. “It’s another ‘never’ that we’ve accomplished,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said. The Broncos are 5-0 for the first time since 1994. Saturday, WMU faces Eastern Michigan which is 4-1, its best start since 1995.

It’s called “airplane mode”

Ah, the modern technological conveniences of the cell phone. Whether an iPhone or a droid, it’s the modern-day Swiss Army knife. Many reporters use the voice function to record interviews. Some forget to set the device to “airplane mode” to avoid incoming calls or texts.

During his postgame news conference Saturday, Boise State coach Brian Harsin turned into a receptionist.

Group Of 5 Notes: Boise State’s unknown RB, Roadhouse Daltons
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