Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where Are They Now? Lee Marks

Lee Marks was one of the most popular Boise State football players of the past decade.  One thing that really impressed me was that he would give motivational talks to junior high and high school kids in Boise. 

Marks carried 351 times for 1,893 yards and 10 touchdowns in his Bronco career; he added 18 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown and returned 19 kickoffs for 514 yards and a touchdown.  Marks graduated from Boise State in 2006 with a degree in psychology.  So what is he doing now?

After leaving Boise State, he played one year for the Boise Burn in the Arena Football League before joining Coach Dan Hawkins' staff at the University of Colorado.  Marks coached for four years under Hawkins, serving as the assistant speed-strength and conditioning coach for the Buffalos.  When Hawkins was fired from Colorado, the new coach came in with his own assistants, as is usually the case.  That meant Marks had to look for a new job.

Blue Through and Through is glad to hear that Marks landed a job with the University of Sioux Falls, where he will begin this fall as the running backs coach and assistant conditioning coach.  I'm rooting for you Lee to do a super job there and hopefully, we'll see you back in Boise as a coach for the Broncos some day!

2006 Broncos Hang On for 35-31 Win To Highlight Week Nine SFL Action

2006 Boise State 35, 2001 Boise State 31
The 2006 Broncos held on for their playoff lives as the 2001 Boise State team gave them a battle they won't forget.

Coach Dan Hawkins had his team believing after they opened up leads of 10-0 and 17-7 on the shocked Fiesta Bowl Champions.  Brock Forsey's one-yard plunge gave the 2001 Broncos the game's first score and after Nick Calaycay booted a 28-yard field goal later in the quarter, the lead was extended to 10-0.  The 2006 team didn't score until 11:05 left in the half, when Ian Johnson snuck in from three yards out.

But the 2001 team struck back just 1:07 later as David Mikell ran untouched from 18 yards out to put the '05 team ahead 17-7.  The 2006 Broncos came back with a nice 11-play drive culminating in a Vinny Perretta one-yard run to cut the lead to 17-14, then Johnson ran it in from nine yards out and the Fiesta Bowl team had its first lead 21-17 that they carried into the half.

Johnson's 26-yard run to paydirt was the only score of the third quarter and the '06 team could breathe easy.  Or so they thought.

Forsey scored another touchdown with 11:51 left in the game and Cole Clasen's two-point conversion made it 28-25.  Johnson scored his fourth TD of the game on the ensuing possession to make it 35-25 but once again, the 2001 team did not quit.  Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie led the team on a 13-play drive in which David Mikell caught an 11-yard pass from Dinwiddie.  Calaycay missed the extra point.  The 2001 Broncos kicked away to the 2006 team and later regretted it because by the time they got the ball back (on a punt), they had just 28 seconds left and 99 yards to go.   The 2001 team got as far as their own 24-yard-line but time ran out on their upset hopes.

"We looked at it as our bowl game," Forsey said.  "We battled as hard as we could.  "Hey, we were the team that started out the Decade of Dominance and yet never got anything to show for it."

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Johnson took advantage of huge holes opened up by his top-notch offensive line to gain 158 yards on 29 carries.  Johnson continues to lead the SFL in rushing with 1,290 yards.  Jared Zabransky was an efficient 14-22 for 178 yards.  The aggressive 2006 defense disrupted Dinwiddie's plans with six sacks. 

"We just couldn't put the dagger in," Coach Dan Hawkins said of his 2001 team.  "We showed great effort but it takes four full quarters to beat a team of this caliber.  I still think Ghandi would have been proud of us tonight"

Forsey was the star of the 2001 team, going over the 1,000-yard mark on the season with 126 rushing yards.  Dinwiddie finished 23-of-30 for 287 yards.  Jeb Putzier, Billy Wingfield and Jay Swillie each caught four of Dinwiddie's aerials.  Kameron Merritt picked up his third sack of the season to lead the defense.  

It was a must win for the 2006 Broncos, who advanced their record to 6-3 after three consecutive losses.  The Fiesta Bowl team got a break when they learned that the 2010 team was upset by the Leave No Doubt Broncos this afternoon.  That moved the 2006 and 2010 Boise State teams into a tie for second place in the division behind the 8-1 2009 team.  The 2001 Broncos fell to 1-8 on the season.

2002 Boise State 32, 2010 Boise State 27

They might not make the playoffs, but this was a sweet victory for the 2002 Boise State team nonetheless.

The Leave No Doubt Broncos came back from a 17-10 halftime deficit to score a 32-27 win over the second-place 2010 team.  Ryan Dinwiddie threw three touchdown passes, two of them to tight end Rocky Atkinson, as the 2002 team gained control in the second half.  The 2002 team scored the first 16 points of the half to go up 26-17.  The Relentless Broncos came back with a Kyle Brotzman field goal, but Dinwiddie led his team on a drive that concluded with a 34-yard pass to David Mikell that made it 32-20 with 8:53 left.

Doug Martin plowed through the defense for a thrilling 55-yard run with 2:53 left but the 2010 team could get no closer. 

"Huge win, huge win," said 2002 Coach Dan Hawkins.  "We just beat a Top 10 team.  Boise State has a strong future ahead of it."

"This wasn't the effort we needed late in the season," said 2010 Coach Chris Petersen.  "We felt we did what we needed to do but couldn't make the big plays when we had to."

Brock Forsey once again went over 100 with 135 yards and a score.  Dinwiddie was 24-32 for 331 yards and three touchdowns.  Gabe Franklin foiled the 2010 Broncos' chances late with an interception, his league-leading sixth of the season.  Billy Wingfield led the Broncos with five catches for 67 yards while Jay Swillie had four catches for 67.

Martin paced the 2010 Broncos with 138 yards and two scores and now has 1,253 this season.  Titus Young had four receptions for 81 yards to lead the Bronco receivers.

With the loss, the 2010 team fell back into a tie for second with the 2006 Broncos, while the 2002 Boise State squad moved to 5-4 on the season.

2009 Boise State 44, 2008 Boise State 41
Jeremy Avery accounted for 408 yards of all-purpose running as the 2009 Broncos escaped with a wild 44-41 win over the 2008 Boise State squad.

Avery, who is enjoying a banner season in the SFL, went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season (1,127), rushing for 226 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 97 yards and a touchdown and brought back four kickoffs for 85 yards.  "I don't know, I can't attribute it to anything special," Avery said.  "I'm just seeing the holes really well right now and doing what I can to help the team."  Doug Martin's tough inside running (14 carries for 66 yards) complemented the fleet Avery.  

A 65-yard run from Ian Johnson set up a six-yard IJ score.  D.J. Harper's touchdown at the end of the first quarter gave the 2008 team a 14-3 lead and hope was high on the Bronco sideline that they could make some headway in the race to win the Boise State Division.  But, just as they've done all season, the 2009 Broncos responded with a flurry.  That lead was turned into a 27-14 deficit in the second quarter until Kyle Brotzman booted a 32-yard field goal near the end of the half.

Ian Johnson's 63-yard run on the second play from scrimmage in the second half closed the gap to three at 27-24.  The teams traded touchdowns and the 2009 team held a narrow 34-31 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.  Kyle Brotzman then regained the lead for his team with a 25-yarder.  After the '09 defense held, Kellen Moore and the offense got the ball back on their own two-yard line.  On a third-and-eight from the 21, Moore uncorked a bomb that dropped in the hands of Avery who scooted down the sideline for a touchdown.  The younger Avery surged in from three yards out with 1:32 left but the 2008 Broncos were unable to recover an onside kick and Moore ran out the clock.

Jeremy Childs had seven catches for 42 yards and a TD while Kyle Efaw (79 yards receiving) and Austin Pettis (77) had four receptions each.

Ian Johnson paced the Hawai'i Bowl team with 178 yards and a touchdown while Avery had 62 yards and a score.  The younger Avery was asked about the 2009 Avery after the game:  "He was polished, knew where he wanted to go and got there.  I hope I can be that good in the future."

The FIesta Bowl Broncos now have a two-game advantage in the Boise State Division with a sparkling 8-1 record, wihle the 2008 Boise State team dropped to a disapointing 4-5.

2001 Miami of Florida 37, 2003 Boise State 26
Hurricane fans chalked this one up as an easy victory, but it didn't work out that way.

The 2001 National Champion Miami team was tested throughout this afternoon in Week Nine of the Simulation Football League.  They knew they were in a game from the get-go as Ryan Dinwiddie led his team down for a score on the opening possession, getting a 33-yard field goal from Tyler Jones to close the deal.  High-flying quarterback Ken Dorsey couldn't get his team going, and the Brick By Brick Broncos capitalized as Dinwiddie fired a pass in the corner of the end zone to Trent Lundin to put Boise State ahead 9-0 (the extra point was missed.) 

   Bady's catch before the half shocked Miami

Nervous Miami fans came to life and aided their team as the Hurricanes put together three consecutive scoring drives, two Dorsey TD passes and a 48-yard Todd Sievers field goal, that gave them a 17-9 lead with 1:01 left.  Just kick the ball deep and we're fine going into the half, they thought.  Wrong.  Coach Dan Hawkins was one to always utilize every second available to him and his field general Dinwiddie did just that, hitting wide receiver Lawrence Bady from 56 yards out to close within one at the half.

Sievers connected on another field goal on Miami's first drive but Boise State came back less than three minutes later with David Mikell scoring on an 11-yard run. The Broncos once again led 23-20.  After an exchange of punts, Dorsey led Miami to the go-ahead touchdown with a 21-yard toss to Kevin Beard.  Tyler Jones' 32-yard field goal made it 27-26 shortly into the fourth quarter.

That's when Miami turned the game over to the hogs up front and the running of Clinton Portis put the game away.  Portis, one of the SFL's top rushers, scored on a 38-yard run that gave Miami a 34-26 lead and, after Boise State was forced to punt, Portis and the Miami offense played keepaway.  The running of Portis led to another Sievers field goal with 2:07 left that clinched the game.

"You really have to tip your hat to Boise State," Dorsey said after the game.  "They kept coming at us and we had to be at our best to get our of here with a win."

The Hurricanes put up 580 yards of total offense in generating their ninth win of the season.  Portis, who is making a bid for the SFL rushing title, finished with 164 yards rushing while Dorsey was 24-40 for 388 yards and three TD's.  Ethenic Sands' great route running paid off with five catches for 119 yards and a TD, while Beard had four catches for 67 yards and Andre Johnson grabbed three passes for 77 yards and a score.  Edward Reed had two sacks of Dinwiddie to lead the tough Hurricanes defense.

Tim Gilligan's punt returns consistently gave Boise State field position and kept them in the game--he finished with give returns for a 19.5 average.  Mikell was he Broncos' top ball carrier with 99 yards on 24 carries.  Dinwiddie was 25-40 for 294 yards and two touchdowns but not enough miracles. 

Miami is now a perfect 9-0 with just three games remaining this college Simulation Football League season.  The 2003 Broncos slipped to 4-5.

2004 USC 27, 2008 Florida 21
A sluggish USC woke up in the second half to outlast Florida 27-21 this afternoon in the SFL.

The Trojans trailed 6-3 at the intermission but came out with two touchdown drives (a 13-yard run from LenDale White and a 17-yard pass from Matt Leinart to Chris McFoy) to highlight the third quarter.  Emmanuel Moody kept Gator hopes high with touchdown runs of 10 and 78 yards in the fourth quarter, the second one coming with 10:20 left that cut the Trojan lead to 24-21.

But USC was able to score on its next possession with a 27-yard field goal from Ryan Killeen and turn the game over to its defense.  Florida mounted no serious threat after that.

Reggie Bush had one of his best games of the season with 65 yards rushing while Florida focused on stopping White.  Leinart was 24-34 for 350 yards, with Dominique Byrd, Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith each getting four receptions.  Leinart's performance leaves him one yard shy of 3,000 in the SFL.

Moody (a transfer from USC) finished with 114 yards rushing to lead Florida, while its top rusher, Percy Harvin, struggled with 39 yards.  

USC remained in the hunt for a playoff ticket in the Championship Division with a 7-2 record while Florida saw its hopes dissipate with their fourth loss of the season.  

2009 Alabama 32, 2006 Florida 17

Leigh Tiffin AllState Sugar Bowl

Leigh Tiffin kicked six field goals as Alabama slid past Florida 32-17 this afternoon.

The 'Bama offense struggled to only two touchdowns, but Tiffin was definitely the difference.  Opportunistic Florida opened a 17-13 lead at the half on the strength of Percy Harvin touchdown runs of 77 and 39 yards and a Chris Hetland field goal.

But the Crimson Tide defense, chastised at halftime, came out strong and didn't allow a Gator possession inside Alabama territory the rest of the game.  Roy Upchurch's plunge from a yard out gave 'Bama their first lead of the contest at 20-17 and Tiffin, the SFL leader with 22 coming into the game, closed out four consecutive drives in the fourth quarter with field goals.

Greg McElroy enjoyed a superb game, completing 21-25 for 323 yards for the winners.  Mark Ingram once again ran for 100 yards and has 1,181 on the season.

Harvin finished with nine carries for 149 yards for Florida.  

Alabama kept its slim playoff hopes alive by advancing to 6-3 while the Gators slipped to 3-6.

2004 Boise State 34, 2007 LSU 24
Lee Marks piled up 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns as Boise State shocked the 2007 "national champions" from LSU.

Boise State carried a 16-3 lead heading into the locker room but had to sweat it out a bit in the fourth quarter.    Marks' 46-yard touchdown run around the right end and Jeff Carpenter's two-point conversion gave Boise State a 24-10 lead in the fourth.  But LSU came back on the passing of Matt Flynn and the running of Jacob Hester.  Hester found the end zone with 11:19 remaining to close the gap to seven.  Marks burst through a hole for a 36-yard TD but Flynn found Jared Mitchell for a 15-yard scoring play on LSU's next possession and once again it was a one-score game at 31-24.  Tyler Jones booted a 46-yard field goal for the final margin.

"We ended our season with a disappointing loss to Louisville.  We wanted to prove we could beat a Top 10 team and we beat a national champion," Marks said in a jubilant Bronco locker room.

The Bronco defense totaled four sacks (Chris Carr, Chris Barrios, Andy Avalos and Andrew Browning had one each) and Jones kicked four field goals.  

Flynn was magnificent in defeat, completing 22-31 for 270 yards and two TD's.  Early Doucet caught seven passes for 67 yards while Mitchell and Brandon LaFell each snared a TD pass.  Doucet now has 54 catches this season for the Tigers.

The Liberty Bowl Broncos won for the third time in nine tries while the 2007 LSU team slipped to 3-6.

2005 Texas 36, 2003 LSU 20
Texas dominated the line of scrimmage, but had to work to hold off the determined Tigers this afternoon.

Justin Vincent's 24-yard touchdown run with 7:39 remaining cut the Longhorn lead to 30-20 with 7:39 left.  So, Texas did what it does best--run the football.  The Longhorns proceeded to eat up 5:22 of the clock on their next possession that ended with a David Pino field goal, his fourth of the game.  Pino added a fifth, this time from 50 yards out, with seconds remaining.

Jamaal Charles continued his strong running for Texas, picking up 137 yards on just 14 carries.  Tully Janszen had two sacks to lead the defense.

Vincent accumulated 151 yards and two touchdowns for LSU (he now has 12 on the season), while Matt Mauck was 20-29 for 236 yards.  Michael Clayton led Tiger receivers with five catches for 37 yards.

The Longhorns knew USC (7-2) had won earlier and withstood the pressure to match the Trojans' record with three weeks remaining.  LSU fell to 2-7 on the season.

2007 Boise State 48, 2005 Boise State 14
The 2007 Boise State team spotted the 2005 Broncos an early touchdown before outscoring their rivals 48-7 the rest of the way to earn a win this afternoon in the Simulation Football League.

Freshman Ian Johnson ran for 160 yards and a touchdown to lead the ground game for the 2007 Broncos while Taylor Tharp was 23-38 for 318 yards and four scores, two of them to SFL leading receiver Jeremy Childs (61 catches for 681 yards).

Tharp, the #7 quarterback in the league coming into the game, was humble in assessing his outstanding performance:  "Credit my receivers.  They've been doing great work in their routes and we were on the same page.  Of course, none of that would have worked had it not been for our outstanding line."

Sione Tavake burst through for his third sack of the season for the 2007 team, one of four sacks on the game.  Orlando Scandrick recorded a pick of Zabransky.

Junior Ian Johnson paced the 2005 team with 154 yards and a TD on just 13 carries.  The difference in the game was at quarterback, where Jared Zabransky hit just 12-of-30 passes for 133 yards with an interception.

"All Coach Hawkins told us all year long was that 'Tharp's not ready, Tharp's not ready," 2005 safety Marty Tadman told us after the game.  "I find it hard to believe that he improved that much in two years without hardly playing a snap.  He must have been hiding ability that we didn't know about."

The Hawai'i Bowl team is now 4-6 this season while the 2005 team fell to 2-7.

2010 Auburn 28, 2002 Ohio State 25
The Simulated Football League season certainly hasn't gone the way that defending "national champion" Auburn thought it would go.

Onterio McCalebb's four-yard run with 1:10 remaining, capped  a furious rally by the Tigers to pull out the victory.

The Tigers had won just one of eight games coming in to today's contest against the talented 2002 Ohio State team, but they rebounded for a 28-25 victory.  Even though this was just the second win for Auburn, quarterback Cam Newton responded by whooping and hollering and jumping into the crowd.  The Tiger fans patted him and said "Yeah, that's nice, Cam".

Ohio State had things seemingly in control after Lydell Ross rambled in from 39 yards to put the Buckeyes ahead 25-13 with just 9:09 left.  But Auburn responded with an eight-play drive that culminated in a nine-yard TD pass from Newton to Emory Blake that cut the lead to 25-20.  Newton celebrated by jumping into the stands.  After the Tiger defense forced a punt, Newton again led the offense down the field for the winning score.

Newton was 14-18 for 157 yards but suffered two interceptions.  He also ran for 70 yards, as did running back Michael Dyer.  

Maurice Clarett, the #9 rusher in the SFL, paced Ohio State with 145 yards but quarterback Craig Krenzel was ineffective, going just 8-23 on the afternoon.  Mike Nugent kicked four-of-five field goals to keep the Buckeyes in the driver's seat when the offense stalled.  Nugent has 24 field goals this season to rescue the anemic Buckeye offense.

Auburn is 2-7 this season while the Buckeyes slipped to 3-6.

"I'm just disappointed as I can be," Buckeye coach Jim Tressel said.  Meanwhile, the owner of a tattoo shop approached the Ohio State players after the game although the details of that exchange are still sketchy.