The Broncos’ game will have a different sound on TV this week.
Beth Mowins, ESPN’s only female college football play-by-play announcer, will call the game. She has not worked a Boise State game since 2010.
“It’s not as big of a deal as it once was,” Mowins said. “I think more and more people are getting used to hearing a woman’s voice. Obviously I know it’s a bit different, and there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about that. I love doing what I’m doing and I have fun doing it. The places I’ve been, the people have been great. They’ve shown me the utmost respect and courtesy — I’ve been pretty fortunate in that regard.”
Mowins grew up with a father who coached basketball and three brothers. She played basketball at Lafayette College.
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“For better or worse, I knew I wanted to do this at a very early age,” she said. “I actually sought out the play-by-play role realizing when I was younger there weren’t any other women doing this.”
She is friends with Pam Ward, who was ESPN’s first female play-by-play announcer, and attended graduate school at Syracuse, which is known for producing play-by-play announcers.
Mowins also calls men’s and women’s basketball and college softball. Her standing football assignment is the 10 a.m. game on ESPN2 with analyst Joey Galloway and sideline reporter Paul Carcaterra.
The Boise State-Connecticut game will be on ESPN2 in most of the country but ABC in the Northwest and New England. (See map here.)
“I don’t know if there are many things that have the same kind of energy and excitement and anticipation as a Saturday morning on a college campus,” Mowins said. “It’s that once-a-week thing. I miss those days when I was able to play. This is the next best thing that keeps me close.”
Mowins’ broadcast team is in its third season together. Each of the three on-air members played college athletics. Galloway was a football player at Ohio State and Carcaterra was a lacrosse player at Syracuse.
“As a group, we’re very well prepared,” Mowins said. “That comes from the fact that we were all college athletes ourselves and we sort of take the approach as if we’re preparing for a game ourselves. We want to be as well prepared as we can to have a lot of fun calling the game on Saturday.”
Leftover notes and quotes from the week:
— The Boise State offensive line has outperformed expectations in the first two games, propelling tailback Jay Ajayi to the national lead in yards from scrimmage. Seven linemen competed for spots in fall camp and they’ve all played already. Junior left tackle Rees Odhiambo is questionable this week, which could force the first change in the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman Eli McCullough replaced him in last week’s game and redshirt freshman Archie Lewis played there when Odhiambo missed spring ball. Lewis has been competing with sophomore Mario Yakoo at right guard and appeared briefly there in last week’s game. “We’re getting better each game,” sophomore right tackle Steven Baggett said. “We’ve got to get better this week keep the competition going between all seven of us. That makes all of us better. We’re playing well and we’re getting more cohesive as a unit.”
— Sophomore linebacker Tanner Vallejo leads the team with four tackles for loss. He clearly has taken a step or two since last year, when he played as a true freshman. “He’s worked really hard,” senior linebacker Blake Renaud said. “Watching him play out there, you can tell he’s a great player and he’s playing awesome to start the season.”
— Connecticut likely will play two quarterbacks Saturday. Sophomore Tim Boyle is the backup and senior Chandler Whitmer is the starter now that Casey Cochran has retired because of concussions. "Tim Boyle is going to play,” coach Bob Diaco said. “Tim needs to play. He needs to get his opportunities, whether they happen during the course of the game or not, we need to make them happen. Tim has all top-notch traits. He's fast, he's big, he's got great vision over the linemen, he's got a very strong arm. He can throw all the passes, he's got good touch on the shallow passes, nice touch on the deep passes.”
— Diaco on Boise State: "They are a really exciting team. I think that has kind of been captivating for the country as it relates to Boise. They have a very unique offensive system, very explosive. Not only explosive in the style that they run their offense, but the players are explosive. So it creates a major problem, it creates a lot of points and pizzazz and that is kind of fun for the whole community and fan experience. Defensively, they play hard, they fly around, they are a very aggressive bunch over the last ten years, and this year is no different. Same drill: explosive players, explosive offense. Last week they had 63 plays on offense at halftime. That's the kind of football they like to play. They're all set and ready before the official is even ready to walk away from the ball."
— On days like last Saturday, when the Broncos didn’t play until 8:26 p.m., coaches get a chance to watch the players they left behind to work at Boise State. “Naturally, we all tend to follow the place that we just left and see how they do and root for them,” said wide receivers coach Junior Adams, who came to Boise State from Eastern Washington. “(Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford), for example, was watching the Stanford-(U)SC game. The Arkansas State guys (head coach Bryan Harsin and others) were watching the Arkansas State-Tennessee game. And I was watching the Eastern Washington-University of Washington game. We root for them. And it’s always good to see those guys having success.” I asked Adams if that meant offensive line coach Scott Huff and linebackers coach Andy Avalos, who were at Boise State last year, were left out. “They root for those Husky guys,” Adams said, referring to Chris Petersen and the assistants who left for Washington. “Those are our friends. We always want to see our friends have success.”
— Boise State has won the coin toss both times this year. The Broncos took the ball on the road against Ole Miss and kicked off at home against Colorado State. “I usually flip a coin before the game to decide what we’re going to do,” Harsin joked. “We wanted to take the ball in the first game because you spend a lot of time running the same things over and over through fall camp and we thought we could put together a drive. You want to score first. This game, we deferred and it was kind of the way the week went. The defense had a good week of practice. We wanted to go out there — we talked about stopping the run — and actually do it. It’s kind of a game situation in how we’re going to decide that.” Neither choice worked out the way the Broncos would have liked. They punted after one first down against Ole Miss and allowed a field goal to Colorado State on the Rams’ opening drive.
— On fourth downs, Harsin said he’ll go for it if the team has a play it’s confident in for the situation. He left the offense on the field for a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line last week and the Broncos were stopped (or not, it was hard to tell) on a quarterback sneak. “We had snuck it three times prior to that and got it,” Harsin said. “We didn’t get it. The view we have on our film, it looks like he’s in there. They saw it differently. But I would expect we can get in within a yard. We’ll do it again. We’ve just got to be better at it. It all depends on the game — it’s a matter of whether we want to gamble and how much we want to gamble.”
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