Chase Cord is back, and that’s a good thing for the No. 20 Boise State football team as it prepares for its Mountain West opener against Air Force on Friday at Albertsons Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN2).
When Cord lowered his shoulder and plowed into a Portland State defender at the end of a 29-yard scramble in the third quarter last Saturday, it was a promising sign that the sophomore quarterback’s ACL injury is swiftly becoming ancient history.
“You saw Chase take off. He got loose and had a big run, got in the open field, kinda made a cut ... got hit, got up and it was like ‘OK,’ ” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said during his Monday press conference.
“That might be it. Maybe it’s that one thing right there where it’s like: ‘Boom. I needed that as a player.’ And he certainly played like that.”
While true freshman Hank Bachmeier remains the starter — “There is no controversy whatsoever,” Harsin said — Cord is likely to be a part of the Broncos’ offensive game plan moving forward.
Cord showed he can execute under pressure, coming in for a red-zone package in the first quarter that resulted in his 7-yard touchdown run and a 14-3 lead. He then took over on the Broncos’ second drive of the third quarter and finished 5-for-10 passing for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard strike to CT Thomas that was right on the money.
“He took about one of the best five-step drops I’ve ever seen from our quarterbacks here and laid a dime up to CT,” Harsin said. “It was as good as I’ve seen.”
Harsin emphasized the work Cord has done behind the scenes to get back on the field after tearing an ACL during a practice last October. Cord’s work ethic and positive attitude throughout the process only increased the respect coaches and teammates have for the 6-foot-2, 208-pounder from Peoria, Arizona.
“Even in fall camp, that wasn’t easy for him. It was painful,” Harsin said. “We limited reps and all that, but after each practice, it was painful. He would take care of his knee. He would ice it. He would do the rehab. He would do all that and then he would come back the next day and he was back at it again.
“We pay attention to guys like that. I love guys like that. I love guys that are just hard workers, dedicated and tough.”
Harsin stopped short of saying Bachmeier and Cord would trade off the way quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Montell Cozart did in 2017. But there’s no doubt the sixth-year coach is happy to see Cord feeling like himself again.
“When he went out there and played, I was fired up,” Harsin said. “When he threw that touchdown, it was emotional. I was excited for him, because I know how much work he’s put in and I know how much he deserves it.
“If he’s in these game plans moving forward, he’ll play well. We’ll be able to use him however we need to use him. But at the same time, his leadership and what he provides off the field is equally as important to our success.”
BroncoBOLD a continuous conversation
Boise State launched its BroncoBOLD campaign last week, a student-athlete “mental health initiative that spreads a message of hope, help and resiliency to the entire campus and greater community.”
“It’s a real issue that we need to talk about and we need to address,” Harsin said. “... We talk about nutrition and weight training and working out and all these other things. What about where are you at mentally? How are you feeling?”
The athletic department released a series of videos on social media featuring Boise State student-athletes sharing their personal stories and messages of strength. The goal of the initiative is to normalize conversations about mental health and reduce the stigma. Students and community members can find mental health resources at BroncoSports.com/BroncoBold.
C of I moves up in rankings
The undefeated College of Idaho football team received its highest ranking in program history with an appearance at No. 11 in Monday’s NAIA Top 25 Poll.
The Yotes (3-0) moved up four spots, which is tied for the biggest jump alongside No. 14 Evangel (Missouri).
C of I has the highest ranking among Frontier Conference teams. Montana Western (2-0) checked in at No. 20 and Rocky Mountain (2-1) at No. 24.
The Yotes have a bye this week and next play at Rocky Mountain on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Billings, Montana.
AIR FORCE AT NO. 20 BOISE STATE
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Flemming, Jim Mora, Paul Carcaterra)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: Boise State 3-0, Air Force 2-0; this is the Mountain West opener for both
Series: Boise State leads 4-3 (last meeting: Boise State won 48-38 on Oct. 27, 2018, at Air Force)
Vegas line: Boise State by 8 1/2
Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy, 10-15 mph wind
Note: Boise State is staging a blackout and wearing black uniforms this week.