It may be the shortest offseason in history, with Boise
State playing its first-ever game
on January 1st, but it’s still a long ways to September. The Fiesta Bowl may have surprised some fans,
but longtime Bronco fans have seen countless heroic plays by their Broncos in
the past. How do the great plays in that
bowl game compare to others throughout Bronco history?
In the weeks to come, BroncoCountry posters have the
opportunity to help decide the top plays ever by the Broncos. Each week, one or more polls will be featured
on the Blue Turf Board that gives five choices.
Each will represent one of the top plays from 1968-2006. The winners of each poll will qualify for
polls this summer that will help determine the top plays in Boise
State football history.
The series kicks off this week with three polls. Read about the great plays in Bronco history,
and then be sure to vote in each of the polls on the Blue Turf Board. And be sure to check each week for new polls.
Joe Aliotti/Kipp Bedard Bomb Ignites Bronco Stadium in
A surreal atmosphere surrounded Bronco Stadium that day. Inversions were just beginning to make their presence known, and the entire Treasure Valley was enveloped in fog. The official temperature was 28 but it felt much colder in the stands. Frost covered the trees along the Boise River and the field itself. Fans could barely see the light towers on the opposite side. Boise State
had been stymied by Grambling all afternoon long during the 1980 Division I-AA
National Playoffs. The powerful Bronco attack was held in check until the second play of the fourth quarter. With the score tied 7-7, quarterback Joe Aliotti handed off to Terry Zahner. The quick Tiger defense once again surged over the line to make the play. But then Zahner tossed the ball back to Aliotti, who saw Kipp Bedard wide open downfield. Aliotti rared back and fired. Bedard caught the ball at the 20 and streaked towards the end zone. Future National Football League star Everson Walls caught him at the 10, but Bedard was not to be denied--not this close in one of only two real Boise State threats the entire game. Bedard carried Walls into the end zone to complete a 63-yard scoring play as Boise State fans went delirious. The Broncos would go on to win 14-9 to advance to the
National Championship Game, which they won over Eastern Kentucky
the following week.
Lee Marks’ Explosive Return Changes Boise State’s Season in
High hopes existed for the 2005 Boise
State team, coming off only the
second undefeated regular season in school history. Nearly all the players that led the Broncos
to the 2004 Liberty Bowl were back in the fall as juniors. Then, disaster struck. The Broncos were blitzed by Georgia
in Athens. Then, they were heartbroken after losing in Corvallis
to Oregon State. Boise
State was 0-2 and the high hopes
for the team had faded. The Bowling Green game was about salvaging the season. Playing before a nationally-televised
audience on ESPN, the game was tied 6-6 in the second quarter. The kickoff return not only altered the
course of the game, but perhaps the season.
Marks went back to return the Bowling Green kickoff in place of Quinton Jones, who had been hurt earlier in the game.
Jones was leading the nation at the time with a 31.4 yards per return
average. Marks caught the ball on the
right sideline and showed patience in waiting for his blockers to get in position. A pile-up developed, and Marks shot through a
hole and down the sideline. No one would
catch him, and Boise State
went on to score 42 straight points to give them their first win of the
Dempsy Dees Thwarts UCLA in 1999
Dees’ interception was the second of
two in the first half. In this one, #15
UCLA, already up 24-0, was driving and about to score again. With seconds remaining, Dees
stepped in front of a pass and ran 66 yards.
Although time ran out in the first half, Dees prevented
a 31-0 Bruin lead and kept the score respectable going into the locker room.
Brad Allen Makes Fried Rice In 2002
In Boise State’s
inaugural season in the Western Athletic Conference, perhaps the 45-14 drubbing
in Houston at the hands of Rice was
the most devastating to their title hopes.
Rice ran the ball 82 times for 430 yards that afternoon. It wasn’t big plays that destroyed the
Broncos, but rather the relentless ground game of the Owls, which picked up key
first downs time after time. The 82
rushing attempts set a record by a Bronco opponent and the 430 yards gained was
the second most ever allowed by a Boise
State defense. Thus, revenge was very much on the minds of Boise
State when they welcomed Rice into
Bronco Stadium in 2002. When Rice's Sean White took a
kickoff from Tyler Jones at the goal line, he began sprinting towards the right
sideline. He never got there, as Brad
Allen lowered the boom with a vicious hit that knocked him down cold on his own
9. The hit represented a statement that
in no way did Boise State intend for that game to go the same way as the
Gerald Alexander’s Blocked FG Keeps Bronco Hopes Alive
With a wild Saturday morning battle threatening Boise
State's perfect season in 2004, San Jose State lined up for a chip shot field
goal that would give them a 45-42 lead with a minute and a half left in the
game. Gerald Alexander used his entire amazing vertical leap to block the
field goal, and the game went to double overtime which Boise
State eventually won.
The results are in! The Aliotti to Bedard "miracle" garnered 58% of the votes while GA's block against San Jose State captured 33%. Both will move on to secondary polls this summer. Lee Marks' return got four votes, while Brad Allen's hit received three and Dees' interception two.
Kenny Kuehl Goes 67-yards Against Weber State in
The Broncos were playing in Ogden
against their Big Sky rivals. Up 34-24
with eight minutes remaining, Weber was forced to punt by the Bronco
defense. There was still plenty of time
for the Wildcats to come back, but not after Kuehl burst through a hole in the
middle for the game-clincher.
K.C. Adams Explodes For 80-Yard Run against NAU in
The shifty Adams was a threat to go
all the way every time he touched the ball.
As usual, Northern Arizona and Boise
State battled for the top of the
Big Sky Conference standings. Flagstaff
was always a tough place to play not only because of the talented Lumberjacks
but because of the high altitude. The 25th-ranked
Broncos had won their first four games of the season and #16 Northern
Arizona was undefeated as well heading into the conference
showdown. With the score 7-6, Boise
State had just recovered an NAU fumble in the end zone to thwart a Lumberjack
score. On the very next play, Adams
shot through a hole in the middle of the field, and showed his dazzling speed
in an electrifying 80-yard run to the house.
The Broncos went on to win 28-16 to match the best start in school
history at 5-0. Moreover, the win put Boise
State in the driver’s seat for the
Big Sky Championship and led to an appearance in the Division I-AA national
Anthony Montgomery’s 37-yard FG Beats San Jose State in 2006
For the second time in three years, Boise
State was galloping towards an
undefeated regular season. For the
second time, they headed into San Jose
for a game against the heavy underdog Spartans.
And, just like in 2004, San Jose
battled the nationally-ranked Broncos to the end. Boise
State had not been particularly
effective on offense, but somehow managed to tie the score minutes before. The Bronco defense held on San
Jose’s next possession, and then Marty Tadman’s
amazing punt return into Spartan territory set the Broncos up for a
game-winning field goal try. Montgomery's
field goal as time expired gave Boise
State a three-point win over San
enabling the Broncos to keep the Perfect Season alive. And the rest is history.
John Broadous Sets Kickoff Return Record vs. Idaho in 1981
In a wild 45-43 win over Idaho
in Moscow, speedy running back John
Broadous gathered headlines when he took a Vandal kickoff at the goal line and
took it 100 yards for a Bronco touchdown.
The play still stands as the longest kickoff return in Bronco history.
Jeff Caves Takes It 70
Yards vs. Montana State for Michel
The game itself was a dazzling display of Bronco defense, a
42-0 shutout of rival Montana State. Caves’ interception, however, had extra
meaning. Teammate Michel Bourgeau was
laying in the Varsity Center,
being examined by Dr. George Wade, the team physician. Bourgeau had been helped off the field in the
third quarter with a knee injury. Caves,
a nose guard for the Broncos, stepped in front of a short pass and returned the
ball all the way for a touchdown. When
he reached the end zone, he held the ball above his head and seemed like he was
running all the way to the Varsity Center. His teammates mobbed him. “That was for Michel,” Caves said. “If my teammates had not tackled me, I was
going to go in there,” he added. “It’s
like when Bourgeau went down, my knee hurt too.
I’ve played with him for four years and lived with him for three. I’ve grown and matured with him, cried and
laughed and won a national championship with him.”
Here is the way voting went in this poll. Montgomery's field goal captured 56% of BroncoCountry votes. Adams' run received 20%, with Broadous' return getting 12%, Caves' interception 7% and Payne's game-saving play 5%. Montgomery's last-minute FG moves on!
Jason Payne Preserves Bronco Victory
Boise State hosts Weber State in 1994. The Broncos come into the Big Sky tilt with a 5-0 record; a victory would give them their best start in history. Boise State plays well, but the always-tough Wildcats battle to the end. Weber State drives to the Bronco 12 with 43 seconds left. Boise State is clinging to a 24-17 lead. Plenty of time to get the tying score. First down fails. Second down fails . Third down fails. With 10 seconds left, it's fourth down. Weber quarterback Rob Westervelt spots Joel Pelagio-Williams in the end zone and fires the ball. Freshman cornerback Jason Payne reaches in and swats the ball away, preserving the Boise State win! Boise State was 6-0 and eventually headed for the national championship game.
Shaunard Harts Turns The Tide Against Louisville
After four years of Division I-A football, Boise State captures the Big West Conference title and berth in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl vs. Louisville. Many said Boise State wouldn't have a chance against Louisville--the experienced Cardinals would crush Boise State. They featured Coach John L. Smith and future NFL quarterback Chris Redman. Pro scouts already were salivating over Redman. Louisville was leading 17-14 and driving for another score, at the Boise State 32. Redman tosses a pass towards the Boise State sideline. But Shaunard Harts has a beat on it, intercepts the pass and sprints untouched intno the end zone for a 68-yard touchdown, completely changing the face of the game. The Broncos go on to win and take their first-ever bowl trophy.
Brock Forsey's Imitation Of A Freight Train Vs. Rice
Brock Forsey comes into the 2002 game with Rice as the nation's touchdown leader. Rice had pummeled the Broncos 45-14 the year before. Forsey takes the ball at the nine, goes through a hole in the left side of the Bronco line only to find a Rice defender waiting for him at the four square in his tracks. Forsey bowls over the Owl and dashes into the end zone to punctuate a solid first half for Boise State. And the rest is history.
Kyle Wilson Picks Hubbard Clean
Boise State is 11-0 and one more win gets them into their first-ever BCS Bowl. The Bronco defense has been outstanding and Boise State is up 38-7 late in the game. Nevada mounts their last challenge to make it closer. Star Wolf Pack runner Robbert Hubbard catches the ball in the clear and hustles inside the Bronco 20. Can he outrun the Bronco defense for a second Nevada score? All of the nation, including Harris Poll and ESPN Coaches Poll voters, are watching. Safety Kyle Wilson races to catch Hubbard. With one hand he tackles Hubbard and with the other, tries to grab the ball. When both players come down, it is Wilson with the ball and a stunned Hubbard sitting on the ground. The Pack is denied and ends the game with just one touchdown.
Jeff Derek Schouman Keeps Boise State Alive In Fiesta Overtime
The wild Fiesta Bowl has gone back and forth in the final minutes of regulation and the teams are in overtime. Oklahoma scores from 25 yards out on its first play. Boise State ball. They get three yards, but an incompletion brings up a 3rd and 7. Jared Zabransky drops back to pass. He finds tight end Derek Schouman over the middle at the 17. Schouman needs to get to the 15 for the first down but two Oklahoma Sooners are waiting for him. Schou lowers his head and drives both of them backwards for a first down at the 11.
Here are the results from Poll Three. The Harts interception received an overwhelming 50% of BroncoCountry votes. The Schouman catch was the choice of 23%, followed by Kyle Wilson's play at 15%, the Jason Payne game-saving play received 7% and Forsey's run garnered 4%.
Poll Four:Ian Johnson Carries Broncos to the Shadow of the Goal Line
The drama had only begun to unfold. In the wild last few moments, Oklahoma had intercepted a pass for a touchdown to come all the way back in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Boise State then executed the Hook & Ladder to perfection. The classic went to overtime. Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson scored from 25 yards out. Now, it was up to Boise State to match the score. Boise State had gotten a first down in overtime at the 13. They handed the ball to Ian Johnson, who squirted through the middle of the vaunted Sooner line for seven yards to the three-yard line, setting up third and one.
Wes Nurse Sends a Message to BYU
BYU had the tradition, the national championship, the respect that usually does not come to schools the size of BYU and Boise State. Yet on this very snowy day in 2003, with thousands of Boise State fans venturing to Provo, Boise State shocked the Cougars with a dominating performance. After a shaky start in the cold, Boise State shook it off for a 14-2 lead. BYU quarterback Matt Berry fired a pass hoping to get the Cougars back in the game. Boise State safety Wes Nurse gravitated towards the ball and picked it off. He had just one man to beat, he broke that tackle and went into the end zone to put Boise State up 21-2. The Broncos had established command of the game and were about to make a statement, viewed by millions on national television, in a 50-12 rout. Boise State would be a team to deal with in the future, and not just for BYU.
Hilde to Richmond to Adams--Hook & Ladder 1994 Style
The year was 1994. The Idaho State Board of Education was to meet the following weekend to determine if Boise State would be allowed to advance to the Big West Conference and Division I-A. Nevada had just clobbered the Broncos the year before and came into Bronco Stadium as the high and mighty "former" Big Sky team that "already was" in the Big West. With the State Board watching, Boise State stormed to a 24-0 first quarter lead, only to watch Nevada come back for 17 straight points of their own in the second quarter. The teams were about to go into the locker room for halftime. With less than a minute left, Boise State hit on a play taking them to the Nevada 37 with 18 seconds remaining. Boise State lined up for the play. Tony Hilde dropped back and threw eight yards to Michael Richmond, who then pitched it to K.C. Adams in stride on the Hook & Ladder play. The Wolf Pack was stunned as Adams sprinted the remaining 29 yards into the end zone untouched to make it Boise State 31, Nevada 17 at the half. And the rest is history.
Stern and Smith Hook Up For 81-Yard Bomb
In 1975, Boise State was coming off back-to-back Big Sky Conference titles. One of the top teams in Division 2, Cal Poly-SLO came to town. The game was a thriller, and Greg Stern and John Smith picked a great moment for one of Boise State's longest pass plays in history. Stern dropped back and spotted the speedy halfback in the clear. His pass was perfect and Smith ran in for an 81-yard touchdown play.
Mark Jensen Nails Record 54-Yarder!
In another game with rival Nevada in 1982, Mark Jensen from Borah High School in Boise was Boise State's field goal kicker. He had a strong, reliable leg. So when a Bronco drive stalled at the Nevada 37, Coach Jim Criner didn't hesitate to let Jensen try a 54-yarder. The snap was good, the hold was down, and Jensen hit it squarely. It was definitely long enough. The noise from the crowd increased as the ball moved closer to the uprights. Perfect! Jensen had just hit the longest field goal in Bronco history at the time. It still stands as tied for second best ever.
The results are in for Poll Four. The Nurse interception against BYU received the vast majority of support--60%. The 1994 flea flicker for a touchdown garnered 21 percent to advance to the next round as well. Votes were scattered amongst the remaining three choices. The Ian Johnson run in overtime received 11%, followed by the 81-yard pass play from Stern to John Smith (5%) and the record-setting field goal by Jensen (3%).
Joe Larkin 68-yard Interception Keys 22-17 Win Over NAU
Joe Larkin is 4th on the all-time list for interceptions at Boise State. In 1971, during the heat of another battle with Big Sky Conference rival Northern Arizona, Larkin stepped in front of an NAU receiver to pick off a pass, then raced 68 yards to put Boise State in scoring range again.
McMillan To Nicely With 6 Seconds Left Beats Cal-Davis
In one of the wildest games ever, Boise State ventured to Davis, California in 1973 for a game with Division II power Cal-Davis. The game went back and forth and featured many remarkable plays. The Broncos, who needed a win to clinch a spot in the Division II national playoffs, were in trouble. In the final minute, Jim McMillan guided them down the field and with six seconds left, he found Dave Nicely in the end zone to give the Broncos a 32-31 win. The Broncos eventually advanced to the national semi-finals before Louisiana Tech beat them with a last-second touchdown of their own.
Hill Recovers Oregon State Punt Return Fumble In Stride
Down 10-3 against Oregon State in 1989, a Bronco drive stalled, sending Mike Black back to punt at the OSU 46. He landed a punt at the 10, which turned into a ground ball that Reggie Hubbard of Oregon State bobbled, sending the ball straight up in the air. Boise State wide receiver Ricky Hill was racing down the field, caught the ball without breaking stride, and gave the Broncos the ball at the Oregon State 6. Boise State went on to score a field goal to close it to 10-6.
White's Miracle Deflection Catch In I-AA Semifinals
With 3:55 left in the wild back and forth I-AA Semifinal battle that became a classic, Nevada scored to make it a 45-38 game. Boise State took the ensuing kickoff and drove to its own 36. With two minutes remaining, the Broncos had to score. They'd just been penalized for ineligible receiver, which took away an outstanding pass by Duane Halliday and catch by Chris Thomas. Faced with a 3rd and 10, Halliday sent Winky White to the left side and fired a pass. Nevada's Brock Marion leaped in an attempt to intercept. But the ball went off his hands and behind him towards White, who was falling down. White's concentration paid off with an incredible catch at the 18 to keep Boise State's hopes alive. They would go on to score a touchdown to send the game into overtime. The thriller eventually went into three overtimes with Nevada winning 59-52.
Johnson Puts Boise State Up 14-0 Over Oklahoma
Fresh off a forced fumble and recovery by Mike T. Williams, Boise State was poised for another score. Ian Johnson promptly went into the end zone virtually untouched and Boise State had raced to a shocking 14-0 lead over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Poll Five is now complete. This was one of the tightest races so far. Winky White's great catch off a deflection won with 37%, the smallest winning percentage so far. Ian Johnson's touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl received 30% votes with the last-second winning touchdown from McMillan to Nicely finishing at 24%. All three of those will advance to the next round this July. The Hill fumble recovery received 7% and the Joe Larkin record interception garnered just 2% of the vote.
Huey Hits Holton to Beat Montana State in 1975
Boise State had won the previous two Big Sky Conference Championships and had come off a nice road win at Weber State in 1975. Montana State was always tough, and even though it was in Bronco Stadium, the Bobcats put up a fierce fight. With 31 seconds remaining in Boise, MSU had the upper hand 34-28. Boise State was driving and had advanced the ball to the Montana State 32. Lee Huey dropped back, got good protection and fired a pass to the end zone. Speedy Mike Holton was already there and came up with it to give Boise State a key Big Sky win.
Aliotti Hits Bedard to Start "The Drive" in 1980
Boise State had led the Division I-AA National Championship game most of the contest and held a 24-22 lead with a minute remaining in Sacramento. If they could only hold on. But Eastern Kentucky stuck a dagger in the hearts of all Broncos with a long touchdown pass to go up 29-24. Boise State would have one more chance. EKU knew the Broncos would pass. On first down at the 20, Kipp Bedard still worked himself open and Joe Aliotti hit him with a perfect pass. Gain of 19 and an important momentum builder on the way to the game-winning touchdown.
Kwiatkowski Denies Nevada in 1987
Wild games always seem to happen in Reno. In 1987 with Boise State clinging to a 36-31 lead, Nevada was poised outside the Bronco goal line on fourth down. The Pack was about to score the go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes. Pete Kwiatkowski broke through the middle of the Pack line for a quarterback sack that ended the threat and handed victory to Boise State.
Ferocious Bronco Defensive Stand vs. OSU in 1989
Little I-AA Boise State wasn't supposed to be able to compete with Pac-10 Oregon State. Yet in the third quarter at Bronco Stadium in 1989, the Beavers' lead was just 20-6. OSU looked to put the game away and picked up a couple of first downs to the Beaver 46. The Broncos, though, had been gaining confidence and the Boise State defense turned it up to a fever pitch. They had been blitzing on nearly every play. First down--Jim Pantner surged from the left side and nailed Beaver quarterback Nick Schichtle for a 13-yard loss. Second Down and 23--Again, heavy pressure from linebackers Scott Russell and Tim Langhans and a near interception out of bounds by Frank Robinson. Third and 23--Erik Helgeson raced in past the OSU blockers and collared Schichtle for another 10-yard loss, which made it 4th and 33 back at the 23. Oregon State had to punt. A tremendous defensive performance by Boise State which clearly took the momentum away from Oregon State and changed the game. Boise State was in fact able to get back in the game, which turned out to be a classic with OSU winning 37-30 in the final minute of play.
Smith's Jarring Hit in 1994 Playoffs
The year was 1994, and Boise State had defeated North Texas State the week before to set up a meeting with Appalachian State in the Division I-AA Quarterfinals in Bronco Stadium. Linebacker Brian Smith set the tone early with a bone-jarring, upending hit of Appalachian State quarterback Scott Satterfield, knocking the ball loose for a Boise State recovery.
Hall Stops Beaver Threat in 2003
Boise State and Oregon State resumed their rivalry in 2003 in Corvallis, the first meeting between the two schools since the 1989 classic. In the third quarter, Boise State was up 17-16 but OSU was threatening. NFL-bound Steven Jackson had carried the ball upfied for the Beavers, then Matt Anderson dropped back and spotted Tim Euhus in the open. Euhus caught the ball and ran towards the Bronco goal line. He reached the six-yard line, when Boise State's Korey Hall nailed him from behind and poked the ball out with his right hand. Chris Carr recovered for the Broncos and took the ball back to the 30-yard line.
Here are the Poll Six results. The Korey Hall forced fumble against Oregon State received a commanding 40% of the vote. The opening play of Boise State's winning drive in the I-AA Championship took 33%. The great defensive stand against Oregon State in 1989 tied with Brian Smith's upending hit in the 1994 playoffs, each with 8 percent of the vote, while Pete Kwiatkowski's game-winning sack against Nevada in 1987 got 6 percent and the Lee Huey to Mike Holton game-winning touchdown play received 5 percent.
Aliotti to Minter Penetrates The Trees Of Terror
Boise State had beaten Jackson State on the road the week before to earn a Division I-AA Semifinal battle against tradition-rich Grambling and legendary coach Eddie Robinson. Grambling had more players in the National Football League than any other college. With the score tied at seven, Boise State quarterback Joe Aliotti dropped back to pass then changed direction, running towards the east sideline. The Grambling players adjusted, and Aliotti soon was running for his life. Running back Cedric Minter was in the pass pattern and floated towards the end zone, breaking free behind the Tiger secondary. Aliotti fires a pass prior to getting hit and the 31-yard pass play in the second quarter would be Boise State ’s only score until the fourth quarter.
Elijah George Goes All The Way For Two
With 3:05 left against Montana State in 1990, the Bobcats scored to go ahead 27-20. Montana State lined up for the extra point that would make force Boise State to go for two to tie. Frank Robinson got penetration from the right side and blocked the PAT. The ball fell spinning to the ground from its abrupt change of flight plan. Elijah George scooped it up and returned the length of the field for a two-point conversion. On the ensuing possession, Boise State ’s defense recorded a safety to make it 27-24, followed by a touchdown pass to win the game 31-27.
Halliday & White Salvage 1st Half In '90 Semifinals
Also in 1990, Boise State swept past two opponents in the Division I-AA Playoffs, including a shocking upset of #1 Middle Tennessee State in Bronco Stadium. One more win would place Boise State in the national championship game for the second time in its history. To earn that berth, the Broncos would have to get past Big Sky Conference rival Nevada , which the I-AA Committee had put in the same half of the playoff bracket. To make things tougher, the game was in Reno before a sellout crowd. With the score 20-7 just prior to halftime, nothing had been going Boise State’s way. Nevada had picked off a pass for an interception for a touchdown and recovered a fumble in the end zone for another score. Starting quarterback Duane Halliday had been benched earlier in the year in favor of Mike Virden. But on this day, Virden was ineffective against the Wolf Pack. With 45 seconds remaining and the ball on the Boise State 20, Halliday came off the bench to try to spark the Broncos. That’s exactly what he did, driving Boise State to the Nevada 30 with 33 seconds left. Again, Halliday dropped back to pass. Wide receiver Winky White broke open on the left side and Halliday hit him with a perfect pass to decrease the first-half deficit to 20-14.
Hendricks Outruns Miner Secondary In 2000 Humanitarian Bowl
In 2000, Boise State was primed to leave the Big West Conference for the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncos won the Big West and automatic berth in the Humanitarian Bowl. UTEP was the WAC Co-Champion in 2000 and received the Humanitarian berth opposite Boise State . Boise State led their soon-to-be conference mates 17-10 at the half. After the teams came out of the locker, the Broncos held UTEP and received the ball on a punt at the 23. On the first play, quarterback Bart Hendricks took the snap and went over the left side of the Bronco line on a designed run. Hendricks found a hole, headed towards the middle of the field and outran three Miner defensive backs on the way to a 77-yard touchdown to give Boise State a two-touchdown advantage.
Bronco Fumble Recovery Halts Fresno In 2001
In 2001, Fresno State had beaten Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks to open the season. This was Boise State ’s first year in the Western Athletic Conference, and the Broncos were out to prove they could battle with the best in the league. In October, Boise State had a date with Fresno State in Bulldog country. Fresno had risen all the way to #8 in the polls and was fighting for a berth in a BCS Bowl. With David Carr and Fresno State up 20-7 and driving, Rodney Wright bursts through the middle. As he dives for the first down, the ball popped into the air and is recovered by Kris Foster on the Fresno 46.
Jones Hits 48-Yarder In Liberty Bowl
In 2004, Boise State recorded the first regular-season undefeated mark since 1958. Despite a top ten ranking, the Broncos were shut out of a BCS Bowl, when poll voters caused them to slip from 7th in the BCS Rankings to 8th and then to 9th despite Boise State victories. Their consolation was a Liberty Bowl invitation to play Louisville, another team kept out of the BCS Bowls. Louisville was also ranked in the top ten with their only defeat being against Miami of Florida. On Boise State's first posession, a drive stalled and the Broncos were faced with a fourth-and-21. Lou Groza Award finalist Tyler Jones trotted on the field, with the long field goal of the year being 47 yards. Jones calmly booted the 48-yarder for the game's first score.
Poll Seven is now complete. This was another fairly close poll. The winner was the Fresno fumble and subsequent Bronco recovery in 2001 with 38% support. The amazing Hendricks touchdown run in the Humanitarian Bowl received 30% of the vote. The Aliotti to Minter touchdown against Grambling received 23 percent of the vote. Those three were really all by themselves. The Halliday to White pass in 1990 received 6 percent, with the Tyler Jones field goal in the Liberty Bowl and the thrilling Elijah George two-point run each receiving 1 percent.
Hutt's Alert Catch Brings Broncos Back In Camelia Bowl
In 1971, Boise State was invited to the Division II Camelia Bowl in only its second season as a four-year school. The Broncos had gone 9-2 in the regular season and would take on Chico State in Sacramento . California Governor Ronald Reagan gave a “Rockne-like” talk prior to the game to Chico State , telling the Chico players that “football is clean hatred for your opponent, since it is only symbolic in a jersey. I want you to win because it’s California . Go out there and win.” With the score 28-14 and less than 12 minutes remaining, Bronco defensive lineman Blessing Bird fell on a fumble by Chico quarterback Jim Parker at the Chico State 16. Boise State ’s Eric Guthrie hit running back Ken Johnson for a seven-yard gain to the 9, then fired another pass his direction. The ball went off Johnson’s fingertips, bounced in the air, and was cradled in the end zone by the ever-alert Don Hutt for a Bronco touchdown to cut the deficit to seven.
Miller's Interception Denies North Texas State
In 1994, Boise State put together one of its best seasons with a 10-1 record. For the fifth time since 1980, the Broncos were selected to be in the Division I-AA Playoffs. In the first round, Boise State hosted North Texas . The game was a battle with the Mean Green holding the advantage for a good part of the game. Finally, Boise State grabbed a 21-20 lead. North Texas still had six minutes left to pull the game out and the ball in their own territory. Then, DaWuan Miller stepped in front of intended receiverTroy Redwine of North Texas for a 25-yard interception, taking it to the Eagle 6 with 5:43 left. The Broncos kicked a field goal and went on to win 24-20.
Chris Carr And Cam Hall Combine For Special Team's TD
In Boise State ’s first-ever meeting with BYU in 2003, the Bronco defense held on BYU’s first possession, forcing a punt. Boise State ’s Chris Carr ran in untouched and blocked the punt while running in, and Cam Hall fell on the ball in the end zone for a 7-0 Bronco lead. Boise State went on to win 50-12.
Jared Zabransky Runs Past Hawai'i
In 2004, Hawai’i ’s Timmy Chang was looking to set an NCAA record for passing yards in a career, but it was Boise State ’s Jared Zabransky that was the quarterback to watch. Zabransky took the snap at the Bronco 15 and dropped back to pass. Flushed out of the pocket by a strong Hawai’i rush, Zabransky raced to the east sideline, picked up a great block from running back Jeff Carpenter and outran the entire Hawai’i secondary for an 85-yard touchdown.
Carpenter Bursts Up The Middle For TD Against Bulldogs
In 2005 on the second play of the game in Fresno against the Bulldogs, Jeff Carpenter took the handoff from Jared Zabransky and burst through the middle of the line. Carpenter broke through two attempted tackles, put a move on a Fresno defensive back and outran everyone into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown run. It would be Boise State ’s only highlight in a 27-7 loss.
Mike T. Williams Gets Key Turnover In Fiesta Bowl
Boise State had just stung Oklahoma for a long touchdown in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Following the kickoff, Mike T. Williams penetrated the Sooner backfield and not only hit quarterback Paul Thompson but swatted the ball loose and then recovered the fumble. The Broncos scored another touchdown following the turnover to go up 14-0.
Here are the results from Poll Eight. This was extremely close with Jared Zabransky's 85-yard run against Hawai'i in 2004 the narrow winner, receiving 27 percent. Mike T. Williams' hit and fumble recovery in the Fiesta Bowl and Don Hutt's alert catch in the 1971 Camellia Bowl to put the Broncos ahead both earned 26 percent. DaJuan Miller's interception against North Texas State earned 16 percent, also enough to move on to the Qualifying Round. The Chris Carr punt block and Cam Hall recovery against BYU and the Jeff Carpenter touchdown vs. Fresno State in 2005 each received 2 percent.
Henry Jenkins Electrifies Crowd With 91-Yard Punt Return In 1969
In 1969, Henry Jenkins scored on a thrilling 91-yard punt return for a touchdown against Idaho State . Jenkins drifted back to the Boise State 9 to field the punt, then cut to his left where a swarm of ISU defenders awaited him. Somehow, he emerged out of the pack, hit the sideline, and ran all the way for what was to be a Boise State record punt return that would stand for 36 years.
David Mikell Goes On 64-Yard Romp vs. Nevada In 2001
In 2001, longtime rival Nevada came to Bronco Stadium for the first-ever Western Athletic Conference meeting between the two schools. With Boise State leading 42-7 in the fourth quarter, David Mikell took the handoff, spurted around the end, made a couple of nice moves in the open field, and scores on a 64-yard run.
Billy Wingfield Displays Juggling Act On 69-Yard Touchdown Vs. UTEP
In 2002, Boise State had a talented trio of senior wide receivers that included Billy Wingfield. The Broncos were 7-1 going into a game at UTEP, the team they had defeated in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl before the Broncos were in the Western Athletic Conference. On Boise State ’s first possession, quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie went back to pass. Wingfield was streaking down the right sideline and Dinwiddie fired. A Miner defensive back got a hand on the ball. Wingfield slowed down, juggled the ball off his left hand, hauled it in and completed his jaunt into the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown.
Quinton Jones Scores 27-Yard Misdirection vs. Idaho
In 2004, Boise State had built a 24-0 lead at home against Idaho and wanted to test out other players to see what they could do. The Broncos had driven deep in Idaho territory once again and were on the Vandal 27. Once the ball was snapped, 9 members of the Bronco offense headed to the right side. Quarterback Jared Zabransky faked the handoff to fullback Brad Lau and then made a perfect pitch to #23, Quinton Jones, the only Bronco on the left side of the field. Jones took the pitch on the misdirection and made the Idaho defense look like it was standing still as he sped into the end zone.
Chris Christopher Makes Great One-Handed Catch
Also in 2004, Boise State had risen to #10 in the nation and was fighting for a BCS Bowl berth. One more win would give the Broncos their first undefeated regular season since 1958. Standing in their way was Nevada in Reno . The Broncos were all business as they swept to a 51-14 lead and substituted freely. Reserve receiver Chrisean Christopher got an opportunity to show what he could do in the fourth quarter. He lined up wide right at the Nevada 30 and ran a fly pattern. Jared Zabransky put the ball up in the air and Christopher layed out for it, making a one-handed diving catch at the 5 yard-line.
Carr Takes It Back 78 Yards Against SMU In 2004
2004 was Chris Carr’s senior year at Boise State . Carr went back to field an SMU punt. It was a towering kick. Back, back, back he drifted, finally catching it way back at the Bronco 22. Carr made a move to the left, then cut towards the middle of the field. He broke one tackle and then just used pure speed to outrun the SMU defenders all the way to the end zone.
Poll Nine is now in the books. Three plays battled for supremacy. Chris Carr's 78-yard punt return against SMU in 2004 received 34 percent to lead the group. Billy Wingfield's juggling 69-yard touchdown earned support from 27 percent of BroncoCountry posters. Henry Jenkins' 91-yard punt return received 25 percent to qualify as well. David Mikell's 64-yard run in 2001 and Chrisean Christopher's one-handed catch in 2004 each received 7 percent, while Quinton Jones' "Lone Ranger" play against Idaho did not garner any votes.
Charlie Fields Takes Interception Back 60 Yards In 1971
In 1971, Charlie Fields got a crucial 60-yard interception return to help Boise State defeat Central Washington 35-26.
67-Yard Punt Return By Lester McNealy Helps Whip UNLV
In 1972, Lester McNealy surprised the Runnin’ Rebels with a 67-yard scamper of his own on a thrilling punt return as Boise State shocked UNLV in the season opener 36-16.
John Smith Runs For 57 Yards Against Nevada In 1975
In 1975, John Smith hits paydirt from 57 yards out against Nevada , as the Broncos whipped Nevada in Reno 49-6.
Aliotti To Bedard For 13 Yards On "The Drive" Of 1980
In 1980, quarterback Joe Aliotti was trying to rally the Broncos in the Division I-AA national championship game after Eastern Kentucky had taken the lead 29-24. With less than a minute to play and the ball on the Boise State 20, Aliotti had found Kipp Bedard for a first down at the 39. Aliotti again went back to pass. Eastern Kentucky knew he would be going to Notre Dame transfer Bedard, but they couldn’t do anything about it. Aliotti hit Bedard for another 13 yard gain into Colonel territory at the 48.
Hull Finds The End Zone In 1990 I-AA Semifinals
Boise State was locked in an epic battle in the 1990 Division I-AA national semifinals in Reno . The Broncos had been stymied all day by the tough Nevada defense on the ground. Finally, fullback Bart Hull found a hole in the middle of the Pack defense, bounced off three tackles and scored from 14 yards out to give Boise State a 28-20 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Statue Left Beats Oklahoma In 2007 Fiesta Bowl
In the wild two minutes that preceded this play, Oklahoma had scored a touchdown, scored the tying two-point conversion after three attempts and scored the go-ahead touchdown on an interception return for a touchdown, then Boise State scored the tying touchdown with 18 seconds left, then Oklahoma scored on a 25-yard run in overtime and finally Boise State scored on a halfback option pass. With the score Oklahoma 42, Boise State 41 in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Coach Chris Petersen of Boise State elected to go for two points rather than kick the tying extra point. Three receivers lined up to the right of the formation, quarterback Jared Zabransky took a step back and fired the ball to set up the screen. At least that’s what everyone watching thought. The aggressive defense of Oklahoma adjusted to the right to stuff the play. It turns out that Zabransky never had the ball in his throwing hand, but tucked it down in his left hand. Then he calmly put it behind his back, running back Ian Johnson grabbed it and dashed into the left side of the end zone untouched. The Broncos defeated Oklahoma 43-42.
Poll Ten was the most lopsided to date. The Statue Left play in the Fiesta Bowl received 95 percent of the vote to finish as the only qualifier among the group. Charlie Fields' 60-yard interception for a touchdown in 1969, the second Aliotti pass to Bedard on "The Drive" of 1980 and John Smith's 57-yard run in 1975 each got 2 percent. Neither Lester McNealy's 67-yard interception return and Bart Hull's touchdown in the 1990 Playoffs received a vote.
Broncos Pull Off Two-Point Magic In 1971 Camellia Bowl
The year was 1971, another magic year in Boise State history. Chico State had led the entire game, and Boise State entered the fourth quarter trailing 28-7. After three consecutive touchdowns, the Broncos were poised to tie the game at 28 with just minutes remaining. But Coach Tony Knap didn’t do things that way. Has any Bronco coach ever played it safe? The Broncos lined up for the point after touchdown, with Eric Guthrie about to boot the ball for the tie. Chico certainly did not expect it. You see, Guthrie was also Boise State’s starting quarterback in addition to having a great foot as a placekicker. The snap went directly to Guthrie, who fired it between two defenders right into Don Hutt’s hands for the two-point conversion that put the Broncos ahead 29-28. Boise State added a late field goal by Guthrie and came home to Boise as champions of the 1971 Camelia Bowl.
Hilde & Hausske Convert 3rd And 49 In 1994
In 1994, Boise State shot out to a 19-0 lead over Northridge State , but the Matadors came fighting back with 19 points of their own. Clearly, momentum was on their side. The fired up Northridge defense then pushed Boise State into a deep hole with a combination of deep sacks and Bronco penalties. With the ball on the Bronco 16, Boise State faced a 3rd down and 49. The upstart Matadors were poised to get the ball back and take the lead on the surprised Broncos. Instead, Tony Hilde dropped back, received excellent protection and hooked up with Jarret Hausske for an 84-yard touchdown. Boise State went on to win the game.
Edwards' Fake Punt Helps Ice 2000 Humanitarian Bowl
In 2000, Boise State played UTEP in the Humanitarian Bowl. The Broncos would join UTEP in the Western Athletic Conference the following season so the H-Bowl provided a good opportunity for fans across the nation to see how Boise State would compete in the WAC . Coach Dirk Koetter’s team had gone out to a 24-13 lead after three quarters, but a drive stalled at the Bronco 36 with a fourth and six and reliable punter Jeff Edwards trotted back to punt the ball away. To everyone’s amazement, Edwards faked the punt and ran up the middle through great blocking, made a cut towards the east sideline, lowered his head into a UTEP player and ran it to the UTEP 41 for a Bronco first down. Brock Forsey would score on the next play to put the game out of reach.
Burgher Fumble Recovery Halts Fresno In 2001
In 2001, Boise State faced a monumental challenge in their first year in the WAC . Stunned early on their home turf, #8 Fresno State had gotten back up and taken a 28-14 lead in the second half. The Broncos battled right back to pull with 7 at 28-21. Fresno State took the ensuing kickoff and, led by future National Football League first-round draft choice David Carr, the Bulldogs methodically moved the ball to the Bronco 43. The Bulldogs were looking to establish control of the game, take time off the clock and put the pesky Broncos away. With 4:16 left in the third quarter. Fresno had a 3rd down and less than a yard to go. Carr handed the ball to halfback Paris Gaines. He piled through the middle of the line in an effort to get the necessary yardage. The ball squirted out right in the hands of freshman Travis Burgher, who ran down the left sideline to the Fresno 43. The Broncos went on to score the tying touchdown and eventually win the game 35-30.
Smith Makes Leaping Backwards Catch Vs. Wyoming
In 2003, Boise State hosted Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference. The Broncos had advanced the ball to the Wyoming 16. Ryan Dinwiddie called signals, he had wide receiver Jerry Smith out to the left. Smith ran towards the end zone, cutting back over the middle of the field. Dinwiddie threw to a spot that Smith had just vacated. Smith went up in the air, adjusted his hands in mid-air back across his body and made the diving catch for the touchdown.
Alexander Picks Thompson In 2007 Fiesta Bowl
Boise State had raced out to a 21-10 at halftime of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Sooner Coach Bob Stoopes undoubtedly told his group to come out fighting in the second half to get momentum on their side. Oklahoma received the ball to begin the half and drove the ball to the 32, where they faced a 3rd and 10 on their own 32. Paul Thompson dropped back in the pocket but was flushed out by a Bronco rush. Thompson tucked the ball and ran to his right, but he was being chased by Andrew Browning and Korey Hall was coming up to deliver a hit. Thompson spotted tight end Ryan Allgood down field and fired a long pass. Allgood was open briefly but safety Gerald Alexander stepped in front and picked off the pass at the 22 and then ran 22 yards to the 44.
The shocking conversion on 3rd and 49 in 1994 was the winner of Poll Eleven with 38 percent. The winning play in the 1971 Camellia Bowl received 31 percent and will enter the Qualifying Round in June. Travis Burger's fumble recovery against Fresno State in 2001 received 18 percent to also qualify. Jeff Edwards' fake punt in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl received 7 percent, Jerry Smith's great catch against Wyoming garnered 4 percent and Gerald Alexander's interception in the Fiesta Bowl received 2 percent of the vote.
Johnson Gives Chico A Taste Of What's To Come
In 1970, two teams would meet in a preview of what would be a classic game the following year in the Camelia Bowl. The Broncos hosted Chico State in the season opener. Ken Johnson's 58-yard interception was just part of a Bronco onslaught in a 49-14 win.
Black Pulls Off Fake Punt In I-AA Playoffs
In 1990, Boise State hosted the #1 team in Division I-AA, Middle Tennessee State , in the I-AA national quarterfinals. The Red Raiders came into town with an average of 468.6 yards of total offense. But in the fourth quarter, the game was tied 13-13 with 11:30 to go. Boise State faced a fourth-and-two. Mike Black (5-6, 147) dropped back to punt at the Bronco 19. Coach Skip Hall rolled the dice. Black took the snap and was supposed to hit Elijah George with a pass. However, the Blue Raiders appeared to know what was coming and dropped two men back to cover George. Despite that, Black lofted a perfect pass behind the defenders for an 18-yard gain and a first down. Boise State carried the momentum all the way to the end zone, scoring the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Sean Sanders with 5:27 left.
Forsey Explodes For 41-Yard TD Vs. UTEP In 2000
In the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl, Jeff Edwards had just made a successful punt fake for a first down at the UTEP 41. Brock Forsey lined up split on the right side, then went in motion. Bart Hendricks handed him the ball as he crossed the field behind. Two Miner players lunged for him but hit the blue turf. Forsey split two Miner defenders at the 40 and two more at the 30. By the time a Miner defensive back could catch him, Forsey was at the 3. He carried him three yards and stretched out the ball over the goal line for a touchdown that changed the complexion of the game, giving the Broncos a 30-13 lead.
Sasser Sacks Carr To Clinch Win Over #8 Fresno State
In 2001, Boise State surprised the nation by going ahead of #8 Fresno State in Fresno 35-30. Heisman candidate David Carr would have one more chance. He led the Bulldogs down the field to the shadow of the Bronco goal line. With a 4th and 4 at the Bronco 5-yard line with 57 ticks of the clock left, Carr went back to pass. Boise State ’s Greg Sassar collared the popular quarterback for a sack, and the Broncos ran out the clock to seal one of the monumental upsets of the year.
Payne's Game-Winning Try Goes Wide Left
In 2004, Boise State had just scored to take the lead against BYU 28-27 in Bronco Stadium. BYU took possession of the ball with 3:33 left in the game. After an incomplete pass and a sack, the Broncos were called for a pass interference penalty to give the Cougars a first down. Quarterback John Beck then completed three straight passes to put BYU in field goal position on the Boise 29. The Cougars then rushed three times to move the ball to the 20 to set up a 37-yard attempt by Matt Payne with 23 seconds remaining. Boise State ’s Daryn Colledge partially blocked the kick, sending it wide left, ending Payne’s streak of 28 consecutive field goals and giving the Broncos the win.
Rabb Makes Miraculous Catch Against Utah In 2006
Boise State challenged Utah in 2006. With the Broncos pushed back on the one-yard line, Jared Zabransky dropped deep into the end zone. He spotted Gerard Rabb on the right sideline and fired. The ball was slightly overthrown, so Rabb leaped in the air and tipped it with his right hand. The ball bounced off his left hand, then Utah sophomore defensive back Brice McCain deflected the ball with his right hand towards Rabb as the two players came down and continued to run down the field. As the ball went by, Rabb tried to cradle the ball with his left hand at the 35, but it bounced off his left shoulder pad. Rabb continued to concentrate on the ball as he fell to the turf. The ball fell right above him and, and Rabb caught the ball flat on his back at the 38 for a 37-yard gain.
Poll Twelve has closed. The overwhelming winner was Greg Sasser's sack of David Carr to end the 2001 game with #8 Fresno State with 66 percent of BroncoCountry votes. The deflection of Matt Payne's field goal in 2004 and Rabb's catch against Utah in 2006 each received 11 percent. Mike Black's shocking fake punt in the I-AA Playoffs received 8 percent, Forsey's 41-yard run in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl picked up support from 4 percent while Ken Johnson's interception did not receive a vote.
Smith Rambles For Fifty
In 1970, Larry Smith rambled for a 50-yard run against Hiram Scott. The Broncos scored a field goal for their only points of the day in a 7-3 loss.
Shepherd's Block Preserves 1994 Title Run
In 1994, Boise State had compiled an 8-1 record, including a perfect 5-0 mark in the Big Sky Conference. Only two more road blocks remained in Boise State ’s quest for a sixth Big Sky title. The first was a contest with Eastern Washington in Cheney. EWU was 3-3 in league but had won their previous two games. The Broncos managed to pull ahead 16-13 in the game's final minutes on the muddy, sloppy field damaged by downpours all week. But the Eagles came back, driving deep into Bronco territory. The Boise State defense stiffened at the 10, then Chris Shepherd blocked a 27-yard potential game-tying field goal, which gave Boise State the right to play Idaho for the Big Sky Conference title the following week.
Reed Gets 77-Yard Go-Ahead Score
In 1999, Utah State had rallied from a 16-7 halftime deficit to take a 27-23 lead over Boise State in Logan as the fourth quarter began. Boise State needed to win to keep their hopes of capturing a first-ever Big West Conference championship alive. With the score the same and 7:54 left on the clock, quarterback Bart Hendricks lined the Broncos up at the 23-yard line for another series. Hendricks handed off to halfback Gavin Reed, who spurted 77 yards through the Aggie defense for the go-ahead score. The Broncos added a late field goal to win 33-27.
Gilligan Races 69 Yards To Cougar 4
In 2003, Two safeties on bad punt snaps were BYU’s only points until Tafui Vakapuna's 1-yard run on fourth down with 2:04 left in the third quarter. A 2-point conversion cut Boise State's lead to 28-12, but the remaining fans who sat through the snow hoping for the Cougars to make a comeback didn't have long to celebrate. On first down, Dinwiddie threw a quick sideline pass to Gilligan, who sprinted for a 69-yard gain to the BYU 4. Gilligan then scored the touchdown on a four-yard run plus a catch for the two-point conversion and the Broncos were again comfortably ahead on the way to a 50-12 win.
Avalos Sets Records With 92-Yard Interception Return
In 2004, Boise State battled Louisville in one of the premier postseason matchups in the Liberty Bowl. Louisville had gone out in front 7-3 and was driving for another score in the first quarter. The Cardinals had a third down and 12 at the Bronco 17. Senior quarterback Stefan Lefors went back to pass and fired for senior wide receiver Joshua Tinch. But Bronco linebacker Andy Avalos leaped in the air to snatch it at the 6. Avalos dashed to the left sideline, picked up key blocks from Gerald Alexander and Chris Carr, and, escorted by nearly the entire Bronco defense, went all the way--a 92-yard interception that set Boise State and Liberty Bowl records.
Poetry In Motion From Johnson
In 2006, Boise State was trying to earn a spot in a BCS Bowl game. The Broncos faced a crucial Western Athletic Conference road tilt at New Mexico State in a game nationally televised on ESPN. Boise State started a series at their own 20-yard line. Jared Zabransky handed off to Ian Johnson for a play designed to go around the left end. Tight end Ryan Putnam, who was set up in the backfield on the right side, cut in front of Johnson and made a key block on safety Eric Carrie. Johnson squirted through, picked up two more blocks from Pete Cavender and Derek Schouman and made a sharp cut to the right and stiff-armed senior linebacker Tim McManigal to avoid him. Pete Cavender cut McManigal off and Ryan Clady was downfield manhandling his assignment. Johnson cut across the grain in front of five Aggies and just ahead of senior safety Nathan Nuttall who was pursuing the play. Andrew Woodruff, center Jadon Daily and tight end Richie Brockel were downfield on the right side looking for more blocks to make. Defensive back Alex Barnard had both hands around Johnson’s hips at the 31 only to hit the turf as IJ flew by. McManigal, linebacker Michael Brewer and safety Derrick Richardson were all in front of Johnson as he approached the 30 while Nuttall had just about caught Johnson from behind. Johnson made another stutter step to the left and another cut to the right as Richardson fell to his knees and was out of the play. Lineman David Niumatalolo dove from behind and couldn't stop him. Nuttall and Brewer dove through the air at the 35 and came up empty. By this time, Zabransky had caught up to the play and was looking for someone to block. McManigal finally pushed Johnson out of bounds at the 48 after a 28-yard run.
Here are the Poll Thirteen. Andy Avalos' thrilling interception return in the Liberty Bowl received 78 percent to dominate the other choices. Ian Johnson's remarkable run in 2006 received 8 percent to place a distant second. Tim Gilligan's catch and run against BYU and Larry Smith's 50-yard run in 1970 each received 5 percent, while Chris Shepherd's field goal block and Gavin Reed's 77-yard run in 1999 each garnered 3 percent.
Frederick Dazzles With 69-Yard Punt Return
In 1973, Greg Frederick returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown vs. Montana to lead the Broncos to a 55-7 win over the Grizzlies.
Moran Ties School Record With 54-Yard Field Goal
In 1986, Roberto Moran put a 54-yard field goal attempt straight through the uprights vs. Nevada , tying the school record for the longest field goal in Boise State history. The Broncos lost at home 21-16.
Hurley Splits Vandal Defense For 77
In 1998, Eron Hurley put the Broncos ahead 21-14 to start the fourth quarter against Idaho with a 75-yard touchdown through the Idaho secondary. The Moscow school ended up winning 36-35 in overtime despite 254 yards rushing from Hurley.
Hilde Dinwiddie & Carpenter Hook Up For 52-Yard TD Vs. TCU
In 2003, Boise State received their first invitation to a bowl outside of Boise , the Fort Worth Bowl, which happened to be the home field of TCU. The Horned Frogs were leading 21-7 in the second quarter when quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie brought the Broncos to the line at their own 48-yard line. Dinwiddie dropped back to pass and spotted running back Jeff Carpenter, who had snuck behind the entire TCU secondary. The pass was perfect, Carpenter caught it at the 25 and outran all four defensive backs for a 52-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 21-14. The Broncos went on to win 34-31.
James Stuns Sooners With 49-Yard Touchdown Reception
In 2007, the Fiesta Bowl had just gotten underway. Boise State had the ball on the Oklahoma 49. Quarterback Jared Zabransky faked a handoff to Ian Johnson, received excellent protection from his offensive line, and looked over the field. Wide receiver Drisan James had gotten behind Oklahoma defensive back Marcus Walker and Zabransky let it fly. James caught the ball at the five and ran into the end zone as Boise State drew first blood. Broncos 7, Sooners 0 with 9:32 left in the first quarter.
Rabb's Two-Point Conversion Ties Up Spartans
Also in 2006, #14 Boise State had pulled with two (20-18) of San Jose State on a one-yard touchdown by quarterback Jared Zabransky with 5:22 remaining. The Broncos had to win to keep their BCS Bowl hopes alive. The Broncos lined up for a two-point conversion attempt that would tie the game. Zabransky rolled to the far right side of the field and threw it right in the middle of five Spartan defensive backs. Somehow, Boise State wide receiver Gerard Rabb went up in the air and came down with it to tie. Minutes later, the Broncos would kick a field goal to win 23-20 on the road.
Poll Fourteen was another close one with three choices moving on. Jeff Carpenter's touchdown against TCU was the narrow winner with 36 percent. Drisan James' shocking touchdown against Oklahoma received 31 percent support, while Gerard Rabb's two-point conversion against San Jose State garnered 21 percent. Hurley's 77-yard run in 1998 earned 8 percent, while Roberto Moran's 54-yard field goal and Greg Frederick's punt return in 1973 each received 3 percent.
Broadous Makes It 14-0 In I-AA Playoffs
In 1981, With Boise State locked in a tight dual with Jackson State on the road in the Division I-AA National Playoffs, John Broadous ran around the left end and picked his way into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown, putting the Broncos up 14-0.
George Halts Nevada In 1990
In 1990, Nevada ’s Ross Ortega was headed for a touchdown with the Wolf Pack leading 13-7 in the Division I-AA Semifinals. Boise State defensive back Elijah George reached in and stripped the ball to take away the threat.
Flea Flicker Helps Broncos Beat Nevada In 1994
In 1994, quarterback Tony Hilde handed off to K.C. Adams, who handed off to wide receiver Ryan Ikebe on a reverse. Ikebe pitched to Hilde on the flea flicker, and hit a streaking Hausse with a perfect 47-yard touchdown pass. The play proved to be the game-winner over the Wolf Pack and Boise State went on to win 37-27.
Bowens Sets Up Key Score Vs. Marshall
Also in 1994, Boise State was behind Marshall 24-14 in the second half of the Division I-AA Semifinal game. Willie Bowens took the second half kickoff back 54 yards, leading to a Bronco score that narrowed the gap to three at 24-21. Boise State went on to win 28-24 to advance to the I-AA National Championship game.
Bady Makes Incredible Catch Vs. Oregon State
In 2003, On a 3rd and 9, quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie dropped to pass against Oregon State . He was hit as he threw, but managed to get the ball off. He fired towards the right sideline. Lawrence Bady was over there and adjusted his route. He made a leaping catch and got his feet down in bounds for a 42-yard catch at the OSU 18.
Hall's Double Tip For Touchdown Vs. Oregon State
The next year, Oregon State came to Bronco Stadium. Boise State was favored, but the offense looked tight. The Beavers took advantage for an early 14-0 lead after the first quarter. Boise State responded with a field goal and then faltered again on its next possession. Oregon State took over and had the ball on their own 35-yard line. OSU’s Derek Anderson dropped back to pass and fired. Bronco linebacker Andy Avalos got his right hand on the ball, tipping it up in the air as he tumbled to the turf. Chris Carr leaped up and tipped it again at the 45. Sophomore Korey Hall finally came down with it, broke a tackle, and sprinted up the east sideline. He got a block to spring him and then another at the 10. Hall raced into the end zone for a 46-yard interception return as Bronco Stadium went crazy. Boise State went on to win 53-34.
Poll Fifteen was another won by Korey Hall's interception, receiving 62 percent support, one of the highest totals to date. The 1994 Flea Flicker was able to generate 21 percent to qualify as well. The remainder of the votes were scattered among Bady's catch (7%), Broadous' run (5%), and George's forced fumble and Bowens' return (2% each).
Johnson Gets 56-Yard Pick Six
In 1969, Bronco defensive back Ken Johnson picked off a pass against Hiram Scott and raced 56 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The Broncos pummeled the team from Nebraksa 56-7.
Emry Explodes For 72-Yards
In 1973, Boise State played Nevada on the road. With the Broncos trailing and 8:11 remaining in the game, the Boise State defense forced a Nevada punt. Former Capital High School star Ron Emry field the punt at his own 28 and went down the right sideline, just barely staying in bounds. Emry then cut across the middle and outraced the last Wolf Pack defender for a 72-yard touchdown return that gave the Broncos the lead. Nevada came back for a touchdown against the Boise State defense to win 27-21.
Russell On Receiving End Of Wolf Pack Special
In 1990, facing a fourth down and 1, Boise State lined up for a field goal on the Wolf Pack 29. Boise State was up 21-20 and a field goal would give them a four-point lead. Nevada called time out. When the teams lined up following the timeout, Coach Skip Hall called what was known as the Beaver and the Vandal special. Eight players lined up on the left sideline, six in front and two receivers in back. Winky White was wide right. Scott Russell was the only player on the line in the middle of the field. He lined up over the ball and snapped the ball to Darrin Lyle who threw it to Russell on the lineman eligible to keep the drive going. Russell had double coverage, but caught the ball for a first down. The Broncos went on to score a touchdown on the drive rather than the field goal. Obviously since the game went into overtime, those extra four points were huge.
Gilligan's Amazing Return In Corvallis
In 2003, Boise State began a four-game series with Oregon State of the Pac-10 in Corvallis . OSU held a 16-10 lead just before half but the Bronco defense stiffened a forced a Beaver punt by Carl Tobey from their own goal line. Tim Gilligan was set to receive the kick at the 50, but he drifted back, back to his own 39. Gilligan made a move to his left to elude the Beaver racing to nail him. He then made a cut up the middle as a Beaver coming from the left lunged at him and fell to the ground. Gilligan outran two more Beavers as Richard Seigler dove and missed. Three Oregon State players were directly ahead of him, one to his left and two to his right. Gilligan outran them all to the 30, where he found Harvey Whiten coming up from the right and Tobey right in front of him. Tobey dove and missed. Whiten and Sabby Piscitelli converged on Gilligan at the 10, so Gilligan cut left towards the corner of the end zone. Whiten dove and tackled him as he reached the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown that gave Boise State a 17-16 lead at halftime.
Hall Picks Off Rowe For 52 Yards
In 2004, Boise State was trying to finish an undefeated regular season, and their last stop was in Reno . Boise State ran out to a 35-14 lead on the snowy field when Nevada faced a 2nd and 10 at their own 36-yard line. Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe went back to pass. Mike Dominguez grabbed him as he threw, and Rowe’s pass was short. Cam Hall played it perfectly and headed down the left side into the end zone untouched for a 52-yard interception.
Perretta's Miraculous Catch Against Boston College
Boise State came out flat in Dan Hawkins’ last game as Head Coach, the 2005 MPC Bowl against Boston College . The Eagles ran out to a 27-0 lead when it started to rain. Coincidentally or not, the Broncos began to play ball. They cut the lead to 27-7, then 27-14, then 27-21 on Quinton Jones’ 92-yard punt return. The Bronco defense held once again to force another BC punt. Quarterback Jared Zabransky led the Broncos down the field in an effort to pull off the miraculous comeback. However, Boise State faced a 4th down at the Boston College 48 with 1:16 left. Zabransky once again went back to pass. He spotted Vinny Perretta who had a step on the BC defender near the sideline. Zabransky floated a perfect pass to Perretta who caught it just prior to going out of bounds to keep the Broncos’ hopes alive. Boise State did not convert and BC won 27-21.
Gilligan's return against Oregon State was the overwhelming winner in Poll Sixteen with 58 percent. Perretta's catch against Boston College received 17 percent to move on to the Qualifying Round. The Cam Hall interception got 11 percent, Scott Russell's Beaver Special won over 8 percent of the voters, with Steve Johnson and Ron Emry both getting 3 percent.
Woolsey Takes It Back 54 Yards In Playoffs
In 1973, Rolly Woolsey brought a first-half kickoff back 54 yards to set up a Bronco touchdown against South Dakota in the Division II National Playoffs. Boise State went on to win 53-10 to advance to the Pioneer Bowl against Louisiana Tech.
McMillan To Smith For 61 Yards
In 1974, Boise State hosted Cal-Davis. In the first quarter, Jim McMillan dropped back to pass and spotted the dependable John Smith out of the backfield. Smith got behind the Davis secondary along the right sideline, outran Dan Brown, who made a lunge for him but missed at the 10. Smith skipped out of that and dashed into the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown. Boise State went on to win 41-20.
Stayner's Mission To The Goal Line
In 1989, Boise State played their final home game of the season against Eastern Washington . It was Senior Day, and the Broncos found themselves behind 13-0 at the half and down by three beginning the fourth. Quarterback Mike Virden dropped back at the 34 and hit tight end Larry Stayner for a short pass over the middle at the 40. Stayner got a block and headed to the sideline. He broke a tackle, then another, and then another. Stayner motored his way past seven Eagles and headed towards paydirt, falling down in the north end zone as he was finally tackled for a 66-yard touchdown as the Broncos came from behind to win 27-20.
Hurley Scores From 57
In 1995, Eron Hurley ran for a 57-yard touchdown against Sam Houston State as the Broncos defeated the visitors from Texas 38-14.
Smith's Determined 68-Yarder
In 2003, Boise State traveled to the islands for a crucial game with Hawai’i . The Broncos had the ball on their own 25 leading 31-21 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie pumped a fake to the left, and then threw to Jerry Smith at the 50, who stretched out to catch it. Chased by two Rainbow Warrior defenders, Smith stumbled to regain his balance. Gary Wright dove and missed at the 31. Smith headed towards the right sideline and Kelvin Millhouse finally dragged him down at the 7 after a 68-yard reception. Boise State scored to ice the game and went on to win 45-28.
Alexander Gets Liberty Pick Off Helmet
In 2004, Boise State was hooked up in a classic with Louisville in the Liberty Bowl. With Boise State leading 24-21, Louisville had the ball on their own 23-yard line. Cardinal quarterback Brian Brohm dropped back to pass and fired to senior receiver J.R. Russell at the 35. Gerald Alexander deflected it up in the air. The ball bounced off Russsell's helmet and into the hands of the alert Alexander, who then ran it back to the 12-yard line. Boise State scored four plays later to go ahead 31-21. The Broncos, however, lost 44-40.
Alexander's Liberty Bowl interception was the clear winner in Poll Seventeen. GA received 44 percent of the BroncoCountry vote. Larry Stayner's great catch and run also qualilfied with 20 percent. Woolsey's playoff play received 13 percent, Smith's great play received 10 percent, the McMillan to Smith bomb received 8 percent suppport and Hurlely's run got 5 percent.
Stephens Takes It Back 97 Yards
In 1972, Bill Stephens went 97 yards up the middle on a kickoff return against Northern Arizona . It tied a Big Sky record and is still the fourth longest in Boise State history.
McMillan & Smith Combine For 80 Yards
In 1974, Boise State was taking on rival Nevada . With the Broncos at their own 20-yard line, quarterback Jim McMillan spotted running back John Smith over the middle. The speedy Smith hauled it in, made a move to the outside, and was off to the races for an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Thomas Busts Loose For 50
In 1988, Kenny Kuehl had just made a great interception against Weber State to give the Broncos the ball at the 50. On the first play, Vince Alcade faked a handoff and pitched left to running back Chris Thomas. Thomas made a great cut inside, utilizing two blocks and broke a tackle at the 38. He then cut back outside and dodged another tackle at the 5 before going in for a 50-yard touchdown. True freshman Thomas had 200 yards rushing on the day as Boise State won 31-27.
Gayle Lays Out For Pick Of Dickenson
In 1994, Boise State hosted the #1 team in Division I-AA, Montana . The Grizzlies featured future National Football League quarterback Dave Dickenson, who was the top passer in the country. Boise State had moved out to a 38-14 lead, but no lead was safe with Dickenson. Montana started a drive at the 20 and Dickenson spotted a receiver on a fly pattern that had a few steps on the Bronco defender. As the ball was on the air, Rashid Gayle closed, getting closer to the receiver. At the 50, he dove and made a sparkling interception as he fell to the Bronco Stadium turf.
Carr Runs It Back 68 Yards Against Idaho
In 2004, Boise State had already exploded for a 45-0 lead on Idaho when Chris Carr went back to field a Vandal punt. Carr caught the ball on his own 32, Gerald Alexander gave him space with a solid block, and then as Carr cut left, he picked up another crunching block. Down the east sideline he went, the beneficiary of a devastating block by Jared Hunter at the 50 that sent an opponent flying. One more man for Carr to beat at the 15 and Ashley Nyong-Dunham occupied him as Carr raced into the end zone for a 68-yard return.
Tadman From End To End
In 2006, Boise State hosted Louisiana Tech. Bulldog quarterback Zac Champion had moved Tech into Bronco territory. Champion wanted to go end zone, but Marty Tadman was in front and intercepted the pass. Tadman broke to the outside, got a key block and broke a tackle at the Tech 45-yard line. From there, Tadman’s speed took him all the way into the end zone for a 98-yard return, the second longest in Bronco history.
Poll Eighteen featured one of the closest polls to date. Marty Tadman's near-record interception was the winner with 28 percent. Three other plays--the McMillan to Smith bomb and the Rashib Gayle interception (22% each) and the Chris Carr punt return (19%) also advanced to the Qualifying Round in June. The Stephens return got 6 percent while the Chris Thomas run received 3 percent.
Larkin Gets A Pick Six In 1971
In 1971, Joe Larkin stepped in front of a pass and returned it for a 64-yard touchdown vs. Central Washington. The Broncos won 35-26.
Lawyer's 70-Yard Return Stuns Lumberjacks
In 1992, Boise State played Northern Arizona in Flagstaff . The Broncos grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and forced the Lumberjacks to punt. Kerry Lawyer caught the ball at the 30 and headed upfield. He received a key block, cut to the outside and used his incredible speed to go all the way for a 70-yard return into the end zone. It was key play in the game as the Broncos defeated NAU 20-14. Lawyer described the play “I prefer returns to either sideline, but this was set up as a middle return. Mike Wilson made a great block to spring me, and I cut to the outside and went in.”
Hausske Skies Against Montana
In 1994, Boise State hosted Montana , the #1 team in Division I-AA. The Broncos had a 7-0 lead and had the ball on their own 31-yard line. Quarterback Tony Hilde drop back and threw it high. Jarett Hausske jumped high in the air along the east sideline, outdualed the Montana defensive back and kept his feet in bounds for an amazing catch at the Montana 45. Five plays later, Greg Erickson kicked a field goal to make it 10-0, Boise State . The Broncos went on to shock the Grizzlies 38-14.
Putzier Makes 'Em Pay
In 2001, Boise State played San Jose State. The Spartans had been doing some trash talking and stomping on the Bronco logo at midfield. One minute into the game, speedy receiver Jeb Putzier ran down the field, flashed by all defenders and caught an 80-yard touchdown strike on the money from Ryan Dinwiddie. Boise State defeated San Jose 56-6.
Colledge Blocks FG, Scandrick Returns For 68 Yards
In 2005, Boise State faced a crucial road test at Hawai'i in an effort to win their fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. Behind 10-0 at the half, the Broncos rallied to tie the game at 28 with 11:37 left to play. Hawai’i lined up for a 50-yard field goal. Daryn Colledge got penetration and swatted the ball away at the line. The ball skidded to the right side of the Bronco line, and Orlando Scandrick picked it up at the 38. Scandrick followed Marty Tadman and Cam Hall upfield and picked up a wall of blockers that now included Colt Brooks and Colledge. Scandrick broke a tackle at the 45 and cut left, eluding another tackle as he made another cut left to the sideline. From there, he outran the Hawai’i players into the end zone for a 62-yard return.
James Beats Boston College Defender For Six
Also in 2005, Boise State was trailing Boston College 27-0 in the MPC Bowl. With the ball on their own 47-yard line, Jared Zabransky went back to pass. Speedy wide receiver Drisan James had easily beaten the BC defender, caught the ball in stride at the 10 and ran into the end zone for Boise State’s first score. Boise State ’s rally fell short as they lost to the Eagles 27-21.
The amazing block and return against Hawai'i earned 60 percent of the vote in Poll Nineteen. No other play qualified. Joe Larkin's interception received 13 percent, to Kerry Lawyer's 10 percent, with Hausske's catch and Putzier's bomb each getting 8 percent and James' MPC Bowl touchdown receiving 3 percent of the vote.
EKU Bid Goes Awry
In 1980, Boise State was in the heat of a classic game which happened to be for the National Championship in Division I-AA. It was a see-saw affair, but the Broncos were in command for much of the game. With three minutes left, and Coach Jim Criner’s team clinging to a 24-22 lead, Eastern Kentucky lined up for a short field goal that would give them the lead. It was more like an extra point—from 20 yards out. The snap came, but the holder (Steve Byrd) bobbled it and realized he wasn’t going to be able to get it down in time. Byrd got up and tried to run it in, but the Bronco defense converged and he slipped at the 6. Boise State went on to win in wild fashion 31-29.
Dinwiddie Hits Putzier In Oahu
The year was 2001, and Boise State had never beaten Hawai’i , losing 20-14 in 1996 and 34-19 in 1999. The Broncos traveled to Oahu for the third time, and the first as a Western Athletic Conference game. As has been the custom since, it was a great game, and Boise State fought their way from behind to take a 26-21 lead on a short touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Broncos went for two, and quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie floated a perfect pass to Jeb Putzier to give Boise State a 28-21 lead, the final margin of victory.
Carr, Hall & Avalos Combine For Takeaway
In 2003, Boise State was invited to an out-of-town bowl game for the first time in its history. It wasn’t a neutral bowl, however, as the Broncos took on TCU on its home field in the Fort Worth Bowl. TCU’s option offense at first frustrated the Broncos, but by the third quarter, the two teams were tied at 24. The Horned Frogs started a drive at their own 20-yard line. Quarterback Brandon Hassell ran left on the option. Bronco defensive back Chris Carr nailed Hassell, forcing him to pitch to freshman tailback Robert Merrill. Boise State linebacker Korey Hall hit Merrill at the 33, the ball popped loose and Andy Avalos recovered, allowing Boise State to kick a field goal that gave them a 27-24 lead. The Broncos went on to win the Fort Worth Bowl 34-31.
Cabaong's Block Leads To First Win In Ruston
Also in 2003, Boise State was in search of a second consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. The Broncos opened their league season against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana, always a difficult place to win. This was to be one of the best games of the series between the two teams. Louisiana Tech had things rolling but the Broncos got on track to tie the game at 23 shortly after halftime. Tech then came charging back for a nice drive that took them into Bronco territory. The Bronco defense stiffened, however, forcing a short field goal try at the 21-yard line. Josh Scobee had already booted three for the Bulldogs and put his foot into it in an effort to make it four. But Boise State ’s Deshaun Cabong skied high in the air to block it, sending the pigskin falling harmlessly to the turf where the Broncos recovered. Boise State went on to win 43-37.
Rabb's Reacharound Catch Vs. Oregon State
In 2005, Boise State had a 17-14 third-quarter lead at Corvallis against Oregon State. Quarterback Jared Zabransky led the Broncos on a drive that took them to the OSU 16-yard line. He dropped back to pass and fired a pass towards the end zone. Gerard Rabb was there, only the pass was thrown behind him. Rabb made an adjustment and reached around his body, turning a 360 in the air and flipping into the end zone with the ball. The Broncos had a ten-point lead, but ended up losing the game 30-27.
Hilde Hook & Lateral Saves The Day In Fiesta
In 2007, Boise State saw a certain victory in the Fiesta Bowl turn into disaster when a last-minute interception gave Oklahoma their first lead of the game at 35-28. Quarterback Jared Zabransky and the Broncos fought back, but faced a fourth-and-18 from the 50. 18 seconds remaining. Last Gasp for the Broncos. Zabransky dropped back to pass and had great protection from his offensive line. Drisan James ran a Hook pattern and broke free. Zabransky hit him with a perfect pass at the 35 and James took a couple of steps towards the middle of the field. Three Sooner defenders moved in for the stop. But out of nowhere came a streaking Gerard Rabb who was running across the field from the opposite direction. James made a perfect Lateral to Rabb who caught it in stride and was speeding down the sideline before the shocked Oklahoma defenders realized what had happened. Sooner linebacker Lewis Baker gave chase to Rabb and angled for the goal line, hoping to get Rabb before he scored. Boise State ’s Ian Johnson, Jared Zabransky and Jeremy Childs all trailed the play should Rabb need to pitch it. It wasn’t necessary, as Rabb dove into the end zone and stretched the football over the goal line just as Baker got to him. The game went into overtime and the Broncos won a classic 43-42.
The now-famous Hook & Lateral in the Fiesta Bowl easily won Poll Twenty with 80 percent of the Vote. No other play qualified. The Fort Worth Bowl play received 7 percent, to 4 percent each for the Dinwiddie to Putzier pass and the Rabb catch against Oregon State. Cabaong's field goal block against Louisiana Tech did not receive any support.
Johnson Gets 52-Yard Interception
In 1969, Ken Johnson had a 52-yard interception against Hiram Scott as the Broncos put a hurt on the team from Nebraska , 51-7.
Autele Hits Smith For 72 Yards
In 1972, Boise State ventured to Flagstaff for a battle with the Lumberjacks. With the Broncos leading NAU 25-6, quarterback Ron Autele hit running back John Smith for 72 yards.
Stern To Holton Beats Cal Poly In Final Minute
In 1975, Boise State was locked in a dual with Cal Poly-SLO and were behind 29-28. Quarterback Greg Stern led a last-minute drive, connecting with speedy wideout Mike Holton from 46 yards out to defeat the Mustangs 35-29 Holton said “I told Greg that I could beat their safety (Mark Davis).” Holton went down the left sideline and running back John Smith ran a deep pattern up the middle. Smith’s role was to make Davis commit just a little from his free safety position, making it too late to catch Holton. The play worked perfectly.
Huey & Smith Combine For 80 Yards
Also in 1975, quarterback Lee Huey hit John Smith for an 80-yard touchdown pass against Weber State as the Broncos won in Ogden 28-13.
LeBeau Tacks On Safety In Playoffs
In 1981, Boise State took on Jackson State on the road in the Division I-AA Quarterfinals. The Broncos had a 14-7 lead with 11:11 remaining in the game when linebacker Dan LeBeau penetrated the Tiger backfield and then tackled Keith Taylor in the end zone. LeBeau blew by three Tiger blockers before they could stop him. The Broncos won 19-7 to advance to the I-AA Semifinals.
Harrison Bursts Free For 77 Yards
In 1983, Boise State held a 13-7 lead over Montana with 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Speedster Greg Harrison took the handoff at the Bronco 23 and went around the left end, turning on the jets for a 77-yard touchdown. The spectacular run was not enough as the Grizzlies edged Boise State 21-20.
The Stern to Holton game-winner earned 56% support to outdistance the competition in Poll Twenty-One. The LeBeau safety also advanced with 26 percent of the vote. The Autele to Smith pass got 11 percent, with the Huey/Smith and Johnson plays each getting 4 percent. The great 77-yard run by Greg Harrison did not receive any votes.
Bady Makes One-Handed Catch
In 2003, Boise State traveled to Corvallis for the opening game of a great four-game series. On 3rd and 9 from the Boise State 40, Ryan Dinwiddie went back to pass. Hit as he threw, he still gets it off to Lawrence Bady, who made an astounding bobbling catch, finally bringing it into his right arm at the 24 and falling to the turf at the OSU 19.
Atkinson's Determined Touchdown Against Fresno State
In 2002, Boise State played Fresno State on ESPN. Fresno State was out to prove that the Broncos’ upset the year before was a fluke. Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier asked fans to wear orange to the game, it would be an “Orange Out”. Prior to the game, the Bronco Stadium atmosphere was electric. The Broncos rode the excitement to a 27-7 halftime lead. On their first possession of the second half, Boise State had the ball resting on the Fresno 39. Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie threw a short pass to the left to tight end Rocky Atkinson. He caught it at the 20 and headed down the east sideline. Atkinson broke a tackle at the 5 and dove from the four. As the Fresno defender hit him out of bounds, Atkinson reached back around the cone in the front of the end zone and stretched the ball just over the goal line for a touchdown. Boise State defeated the Bulldogs 67-21.
McPherson Goes 78 Yards
In 2003, Boise State hosted rival Nevada in Bronco Stadium. On the second play of the game, Dinwiddie faked a handoff to David Mikell at the Bronco 22-yard line and dropped back to pass. Wide receiver Tony McPherson ran a great route to get open and Dinwiddie hit him at the 43. McPherson shook off his defender then raced down the west sideline all the way for 78 yards. Boise State won the game 56-3 for their 18th consecutive home win and clinched a second consecutive Western Athletic Conference title.
Gilligan Speeds 73 Yards Against Bulldogs
Also in 2003, Boise State played at arch-rival Fresno State . The Broncos went out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and had an opportunity for more. With the ball at the Boise State 27, quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie tossed a short pass to favorite receiver Tim Gilligan at the 35. Gilligan eluded a Fresno tackler who dove but came up empty and then Gilligan was gone for a 73-yard touchdown! The Broncos went on to win 31-17 to earn a share of the Western Athletic Conference title and then won the championship outright with a win the following week.
Jones Boots 46-Yard Field Goal To Beat Tulsa
In 2004, Boise State faced a “trap game” in its effort to produce an undefeated season. The Broncos traveled to Tulsa for a game against the Golden Hurricanes. Boise State was favored by well over two touchdowns. To Tulsa ’s credit, they didn’t care about that and played a great football game instead. Back and forth the two teams went. Boise State trailed 42-35 before Boise State scored on a 90-yard drive with 1:24 left. The Bronco defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at its own 38 with 46 seconds left. Boise State then drove down to the Tulsa 29 and Tyler Jones hit a 46-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to defeat Tulsa 45-42. The Broncos in fact did finish with that undefeated regular season.
Smith's Knockout Hit Of Sanders
In 2006, Boise State was going for its second undefeated regular season in the last three years with a BCS Bowl bid on the line. The Broncos had to get past Nevada to achieve both goals. On a Boise State kickoff, Dwayne Sanders fielded the ball near the goal line and spurted upfield. He ran into Boise State ’s Austin Smith like he was running head-on into a brick wall. Sanders wilted to the turf, the ball popped out and Smith pounced on it. Boise State won 38-7 for the undefeated season and was invited to the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl the following week.
Gilligan's TD against Fresno State was the winner in Poll Twenty-Two with 41 percent of the vote. Tyler Jones' last-second field goal that beat Tulsa received 28 percent and will compete in the Qualifying Round in June. Austin Smith's devastating blow in 2006 and Rocky Atkinson's touchdown against Fresno State each garnered 14 percent, Bady's one-handed catch in 2003 received 4 percent and the 78-yard McPherson touchdown did not get a vote.
Poll Poll Twenty-Three:
Aliotti To Dlouhy Wins 1980 National Championship
In 1980, disaster had occurred for Boise State . They led the national championship game at halftime and the entire second half until 55 seconds remaining when David Booze surprised the Bronco defense with a long touchdown. Victory had been snatched from Boise State , who felt 1980 was their destiny year. Or had it? Quarterback Joe Aliotti led a desperate march for Boise State from their own 20. Aliotti guided the Broncos from their own 20 to the EKU 14 with three straight passes to favorite receiver Kipp Bedard. Three straight passes had failed however, bringing up a 4th and 10 with 20 seconds remaining. Aliotti back to pass. EKU’s star nose guard Buddy Moore broke through the Bronco interior. Moore slipped and fell, buying Aliotti some scrambling time. This was when he was at his best. He ran towards the west sideline. Joe looked over the entire field, waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to get open. Just as Moore and the other Colonel defenders were about to get to him, the ever-instinctive Aliotti turned his head to the left. He spotted a wide-open Duane Dlouhy in the left corner of the end zone. Aliotti let it fly. Now Joe’s passes were never known to be objects of beauty, but somehow he was highly accurate. Fans watched as the ball floated towards its destination. A 13-yard pass took forever, because it was from one sideline of the field to the other. Dlouhy stood there, alone in anticipation. He cradled the ball with both hands. Touchdown Boise State ! One of the most incredible drives in Boise State history had taken the Broncos back from defeat to victory. The Boise State sideline went wild as Coach Jim Criner tried to contain bedlam. Boise State won the Division I-AA National Championship, 31-29.
Hull Bulls Over To Send Classic To Third Overtime
In 1990, Boise State was locked in a classic battle with Nevada for the right to play in the Division I-AA national championship game. The two teams were tied at the end of regulation and after the first overtime. Nevada scored a touchdown in the second overtime, meaning Boise State would have to match that. Quarterback Duane Halliday led the Broncos to a couple of first downs, then Bart Hull bulled over from the one-yard line to tie the game at 52. Nevada took control in the third overtime, winning 59-52.
Calaycay Calmly Connects On 46-Yarder
In 1999, Boise State and Louisville were locked in a barn-burner in the Humanitarian Bowl. The two teams were tied at 24 late in the third quarter when Nick Calaycay was called upon by Coach Dirk Koetter. One of Boise State ’s all-time top scorers connected on a 46-yard field goal to give the Broncos a 27-24 lead. That was the margin of victory as Boise State won the ’99 H-Bowl by a score of 34-31.
Hendricks Hits Fanucchi For 80 Yards
In 2000, Boise State was behind Eastern Washington 3-0 when quarterback Bart Hendricks found wide receiver Lou Fanucchi open. The EWU defender fell down trying to keep up with Fanucchi, who coasted in for an 80-yard touchdown reception. Boise State went on to win 41-23.
Thompson's Vicious Hit Vs. Washington State
Also in 2000, one of the most bizarre games in Bronco history took place. Officials threw 22 hankies and called over 200 yards in penalties on Boise State and Washington State . After a Bronco touchdown, Fred Thompson kicked the ball to Washington State ’s Curtis Nettles at the 1. He headed up the middle when Aristotle Thompson met him with a vicious hit at the WSU 15. Washington State won 42-35.
Hall Pulls Beck Down By Jersey
In 2004, Boise State hosted BYU. In the fourth quarter, BYU had a 27-21 lead and the Broncos’ undefeated regular season was in jeopardy. BYU had the ball in their own territory. Linebacker Korey Hall shot through a gap and pulled Beck down by his jersey. The Broncos held and then scored the winning touchdown on their next possession to win 28-27.
The play that won the I-AA National Championship was the easy winner with 81 percent of the vote. Korey Hall's great play got 12 percent, short of the amount needed to qualify. Hendricks to Fanucchi received 5 percent, the Bart Hull touchdown in overtime got 2 percent, while neither Nick Calaycay's pressure field goal against Louisville or Aristotle Thompson's tremendous hit against Washington State attracted a vote.
Carr Blocks And Recovers Punt
2002 was the “Leave No Doubt” year. Shut out of the bowl season in 2001 despite an 8-4 record, the Broncos vowed to keep matters in their hands by winning the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State faced Hawai’i in a crucial WAC game in Boise. With Boise State leading 7-3, Hawai’i was forced to punt from their own 20-yard line. Chris Carr got penetration and not only blocked the punt but raced back to the end zone to recover it. Boise State went on to win 69-3.
Franklin Gets Late Pick Against TCU
In 2003, Boise State received their first out-of-town bowl invitation and traveled to the Fort Worth Bowl, hosted by TCU. Horned Frog quarterback Brandon Hassell went back to pass with TCU trailing Boise State 34-31 and the ball at their own 48 with 5:48 left and a 3rd and 7. Hassell received good protection and fired a pass to an open receiver at the Boise State 44. The play would have been a first down, but Gabe Franklin made his move. As the ball arrived, Franklin continued to converge and made a dive at the ball, coming up with it for the interception. Boise State held on for the 34-31 win.
Cabaong's Leaping Interception Vs. Fresno State
In 2004, Boise State was leading Fresno State 26-16 in the fourth quarter in Bronco Stadium. Fresno quarterback Paul Pinegar and the Bulldogs were backed up at their own four-yard line. Pinegar retreated to the end zone and fired a pass to the west sideline. Deshan Cabaong made a leaping interception at the 22 to deny Fresno State and took it to the 17. Boise State scored on the ensuing drive and the Broncos went on to win 33-16.
Richards Goes 76 Yards With Interception
In 2005, Boise State hosted Nevada and was leading 49-7. Wolf Pack starting quarterback Jeff Rowe was still in the game with 7:07 left. Rowe threw a pass into the end zone but Boise State ’s Rashaad Richards was there to intercept it and run it back 76 yards to the Nevada 24-yard line. The Broncos won 49-14 and Rowe was benched on the next series.
Alexander Says Hello To Poston
In 2006, Boise State traveled to Salt Lake City to take on Utah . Boise State was leading 26-3 as Utah had the ball on their own 25-yard line. Ute quarterback Tommy Grady handed off to Darryl Poston who ran the ball around the right side. He had a full head of steam at the 30 when Bronco safety Gerald Alexander came up and hit him with such force that it knocked his helmet off. Boise State went on to win 36-3.
Johnson Gets Fifth Touchdown Against Beavers
Also in 2006, Boise State was about to complete an incredible performance against Oregon State , which finished the year in the Top 25. The Broncos were leading 35-14 in the fourth quarter and had the ball at the 50. Running back Ian Johnson had already scored four touchdowns to shock the Beavers and the nation. Quarterback Jared Zabransky handed off to Johnson as a huge hole opened up in the middle of the Bronco line. Johnson burst past two OSU defenders at the 35 and was gone for his record-tying fifth touchdown of the game to make the final score 42-14.
Gerald Alexander's monster hit was the runaway winner in Poll Twenty-Four, receiving 50% of the vote. Franklin's pick against TCU in 2003 (22%) and Johnson's 5th TD vs. Oregon State (19%) both qualified. Carr's hustle play received 5%, Cabaong's interception got 3 percent while Richards' 76-yard interception did not get a vote.