Boise State Football

In the heart of Buckeye country, there’s a little bit of Boise State love

Curt Boster is well aware of what comes with the territory. He is surrounded by one of college football’s most passionate fan bases.

He jokes that in Columbus, Ohio, fans might be more focused on who the backup long snapper might be than the caliber of football played away from Ohio State. Some outstanding players might even — gasp — compete outside the Power Five.

Boster is the president of the Touchdown Club of Columbus, and he’s made it a point to highlight the sport’s best, not just the Buckeyes. And one of the main prongs of that approach is Boise State-centric.

“I didn’t want it to be a scarlet and gray party,” Boster said. “We bring in guys who I’m sure a lot of people around here don’t know about, then they see a guy like Jay Ajayi in the Super Bowl and think, ‘I remember that guy before he was even in the NFL.’ ”

The Touchdown Club’s 63rd annual awards ceremony, which will be held Saturday, not only awards some of college football and high school sports’ top performers but also is a chance to bring in “players to watch” for next season. Boise State junior running back Alexander Mattison will be among the 30-35 guests, which also includes ex-Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley (North Carolina State), the nation’s top two returning passers (North Texas’ Mason Fine and UCF’s McKenzie Milton) and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

In years past, the TDC has brought in Ajayi, Doug Martin, Kellen Moore, Cedrick Wilson and Jared Zabransky. After the 2004 season, Zabransky was the first Bronco brought to Columbus.

“I always liked the wide-open offenses they had, and wanted more people to know about it,” Boster said. “They put out first-class talent. We don’t bring in guys just because we have to have a Boise State player. We had Cedrick come last year, then he went and kicked (butt).”

But the biggest sign of Boise State love is the fact the TDC’s award for the nation’s top quarterback is the Kellen Moore Award.

Yes, they named the award for the guy.

Moore twice won the Quarterback of the Year Award, the only one that wasn’t named after someone. The TDC already had the Sammy Baugh Award, but that often goes to the top stat producer. Sure, Moore put up some insane numbers, but what stood out to Boster was the 50-3 record.

“A lot of the old quarterbacks always talked about how that was the most important number, and I don’t know if we’ll see someone do what Kellen did,” Boster said. “To me, the Kellen Moore Award represents the guy who can best step into the huddle when it’s a tough situation and say, ‘It’s OK, I’ve got this.’ ”

So, Kansas State’s Collin Klein won the first Moore Award after the 2012 season. Boster said Moore was all for putting his name to it, though in classic fashion joked, “I don’t know why you’d want to.” Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield won it for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett is this past season’s recipient.

“We’re not all about the five-stars, and obviously, Kellen wasn’t one,” Boster said. “Boise State is always going to be welcome here, as long as someone is worthy. And they always seem to have someone.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn