Famous Idaho Potato Bowl notebook: A Buffalo player named Boise

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comDecember 19, 2013 

Buffalo wide receiver Boise Ross catches a pass during practice Wednesday in Boise.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

A BUFFALO PLAYER NAMED BOISE

No one on Buffalo’s team was more excited to come to Boise’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl than wide receiver Boise Ross.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a kid. I was like, ‘There’s a Boise somewhere around here? In Idaho?’ I want to go. I’ve been talking about that since I was in the sixth grade,” Ross said.

His given name is DuBois, but Ross has been going by “Boise” since he was a toddler.

“My mom decided I would drop the ‘Du’ and add an ‘e’ to the end. Ever since I was 2 years old, they’ve been calling me Boise,” he said.

Ross, a true freshman, has 13 catches for 156 yards on the season. His teammates have made plenty of jokes since learning their destination.

“Boise’s in Boise. It would be nice if Boise scores his first touchdown in Boise,” Ross said.

Ross was named after W.E.B. DuBois, an African-American civil rights activist and co-founder of the NAACP. His brothers — Duke Ellington and Langston — are also named after famous African-Americans.

AZTECS KEEP STREAK ALIVE

San Diego State’s streak of three consecutive bowl appearance was in serious jeopardy three games into the 2013 season.

After an embarrassing loss to Football Bowl Subdivision member Eastern Illinois, a whipping at Ohio State and a heartbreaking defeat against Oregon State, the 0-3 Aztecs and their bowl streak were in trouble.

“Everybody had that fighting mentality,” senior fullback Chad Young said. “We said this season can go two ways very quickly. You have little room for error when you start that bad.”

The Aztecs (7-5) reeled off seven wins in their next eight games — including an overtime loss against Fresno State and an overtime victory against Boise State — before a puzzling 45-19 loss to UNLV to end the season.

The surge was enough to gain bowl eligibility, becoming the first team since 2010 to play in a bowl after starting the season 0-3. The Aztecs are one of 12 FBS teams to begin this season 0-3. The other 11 teams went 15-117 and none won more than three games.

“Our senior leadership was something special because we started out the season very, very poorly,” coach Rocky Long said. “We’ve got great character on this football team and we’ve got guys who will compete and compete until the end.”

San Diego State needed to compete until the end — most of its games were decided late. The Aztecs won an FBS-best five games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter. Three times, San Diego State won after trailing by at least 14 points and it went 3-1 in overtime games.

GOING PRO OR NOT?

San Diego State junior running back Adam Muema could be playing his final college game Saturday at Bronco Stadium.

“I’m declaring to the NFL, there’s no secret,” Muema tweeted Monday before deleting it.

Muema has led the Aztecs in rushing each of the past two years. He has 1,015 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns this season, despite missing time early in the year with an ankle injury. He rushed for 1,458 yards, the third-best total in school history, and 16 touchdowns in 2012.

The NFL has not offered its evaluation of Muema’s draft status yet, Long said.

“You’ve got to make an informed decision. You can’t make emotional decisions,” Long said.

Long said any decisions to turn pro are left up to the player and his family. He said he would offer input if asked.

“If you’re going to be in the first three rounds, you’ve got a decent chance to make the team, and if you’re family is in a financial situation where it helps you and your family, that’s when you should go,” Long said. “I don’t think you should ever go out early if you’re less than a third-round draft choice. You’re taking a heck of a chance and you’re wasting a golden opportunity to raise your stock in the NFL and get a college degree.”

Muema has not been available to media this week.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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