From a belt to a decked-out bike and a seat worthy of the King of Chaos, the Boise State football team has found creative ways to reward turnovers over the years, but the Broncos have gone without a sideline prop since 2018.
What might be their most famous prop — the Turnover Throne — isn’t very far away from its original home, though.
The Turnover Throne will be on display at the Albertsons grocery store at the intersection of Broadway and Beacon Street — two blocks from Albertsons Stadium — for all of Boise State’s home games this season.
The silver throne will be near the front of the store for two hours before kickoff on game day, and fans can pose for pictures with a sign that reads “King of Chaos.” Boise State cheerleaders will be on hand for a couple of hours the day before each home game to pose for pictures. This week they’ll be with the throne 5-7 p.m. on Friday, the same time frame it will be on display Saturday before the home game against Oklahoma State (7 p.m., FS1).
“It’s always important for us at Albertsons to give back to the community, and one of our pillars is supporting education,” said John Colgrove, president of Albertsons Intermountain Division. “We saw this as another way of giving back to the community, and people of all ages love sitting in the throne and having their pictures taken.”
The Turnover Throne was sold for $10,000 at Boise State’s biennial Scholarship Auction Gala in June. More than $750,000 was raised for scholarships, which go to student-athletes in all sports, as well as alumni legacy students.
Colgrove was there and placed the winning bid. He didn’t know going into the gala that the throne would be part of the auction, but he remembers the splash it made when Boise State debuted the gaudy seat during its 2018 season opener at Troy, and he knew right away he had to have it.
“Anytime there was a big, chaotic play on defense, we were glued to the TV waiting to see which player was heading to the throne,” Colgrove said. “Every time there was a turnover, I yelled, ‘Here comes the chair.’”
After the auction, Colgrove got a visit from Boise State football coach Andy Avalos, who shared the history of the Turnover Throne with him.
Avalos was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator when the chair made its debut. It was the brainchild of former cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich, and it made a big splash when BSU unveiled it during a 56-20 win at Troy.
University of Idaho graduate transfer Tony Lashley was the first player to perch on the throne, while teammates knelt ceremoniously and fanned him with towels. The Broncos forced 24 turnovers in 2018.
In 2017, Boise State rewarded players who forced a turnover with a championship boxing belt. The Broncos created 26 takeaways that year, after forcing just nine in 2016.
What might have been the most creative of Boise State’s turnover props never made an appearance in a regular-season game. During fall camp in 2018, the player who created the most turnovers in practice got to take a ride on the Turnover Bike — a refurbished BMX, decked out with a gold seat, gold streamers and a gold football on the handlebars.
Boise State struggled to create many turnovers the past two seasons. The Broncos forced just three — all interceptions — last fall, after managing 19 in 2019.
The defense spent all offseason focused on creating more turnovers this year, and it’s paid off so far. Boise State has more than doubled its output from last season in just two games, getting eight takeaways.
Cornerback Tyric LeBeauf snagged two interceptions in the Broncos’ season opener at UCF, and freshman safety Seyi Oladipo picked off two passes last week against UTEP. Safety Tyreque Jones intercepted his first pass of the season against the Miners, while linebacker Ezekiel Noa scooped up two fumbles and defensive tackle Scott Matlock fell on one in the 54-13 win.
“Our guys work on it, man,” Boise State co-defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson said. “From the drills to after practice catching the ball, doing ball searches, punching the ball out. It’s been huge, and it’s been cool to see it pay off for them.”
Boise State is tied with SMU for No. 3 in the country with five interceptions, but the Broncos lead the nation with 216 interception return yards. Lebeauf’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the season opener and Oladipo’s 52-yard return last week are a big part of that. Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Kane Ioane said the players prepare for those return situations in practice.
“It’s something we preach to our guys all the time, as far as those hidden yards,” Ioane said. “It’s something you have to practice. It doesn’t just happen. It’s creating that habit that in their minds when they get the ball in their hands, they’re tucking the ball away and they’re trying to find that near sideline and trying to score.”
Boise State’s eight total takeaways are tied with Rutgers and North Texas for No. 2 in the country behind Kent State, which has nine.
The Broncos might need to create a few more turnovers to knock off Oklahoma State on Saturday, and Avalos hasn’t ruled out having the Turnover Throne make an appearance if the defense keeps taking the ball away as it has through two games.
Colgrove said the last thing he told Avalos the night of the gala was that whenever the coach wanted the throne, all he had to do was call.
“We would have it over at the facility at the drop of a hat,” Colgrove said. “We would be proud to have that sitting on the sideline again if he ever wanted it.”
OKLAHOMA STATE AT BOISE STATE
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Albertsons Stadium
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: Boise State 1-1; Oklahoma State 2-0
Series: This is the second meeting between the programs. Oklahoma State won the first, 44-21, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 2018.
Vegas line: Boise State by 4
Weather: High of 87 degrees, 57% chance of rain in the evening, 14 mph winds