1990 was a landmark year in
football. Other than what can be
achieved when a team is on the same page, there are no “lessons” that jump
out at you like the other “Time Capsules” we are featuring in the 45-Day
So just sit back and enjoy the tale!
qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs in 1988, it had really been seven years
since the Bronco football team had the kind of success that fans were used to
under Tony Knap and Jim Criner. After
Criner left for
following the 1982 season, the school experienced the longest dry spell
in their history.
Defensive coach Lyle Setencich took over for Criner
and did not fare well as the head man, going 24-20 in four frustrating years.
In Setencich’s last year (1986), the Broncos went 5-6.
A losing season was unheard of in
, with the last one being in 1946, the year before Lyle Smith grabbed the
reins of the program. Skip Hall, one
of Don James’ trusted assistants at
was hired by Boise State to inject new life into the program.
While Hall ran a crystal clear program and invigorated an offense that
was desperate for attention,
only went 6-5, 8-4 and 6-5 in Hall’s first three seasons.
A lot of things went the right way in 1990.
While the word “magical” is overused in sports and probably doesn’t
fully apply to the ’90 Broncos, a lot of things went
’s way that year.
Hall’s team opened with a 14-10 squeaker over
a highly-regarded Stephen
in Bronco Stadium.
(10-4, 6-2 Big Sky)
made a statement with a 14-10 win over #2
open the 1990 season in Bronco Stadium before a crowd of 19,312.
The Broncos rallied from a ten-point second-half
deficit to pull out the win. The
margin would have been more had it not been for a blocked field goal by Anthony Brown and an end zone interception by cornerback Elijah George.
The Bronco offense was held to just 101 yards in the first half.
defense was stout and recorded five interceptions on the evening.
The visitors from
were held to 177 yards and committed 6 turnovers in the 2nd half.
The Bronco offense woke up midway through the third
quarter. Chris Thomas scored from the 5 with
left in the quarter, capping a 66-yard drive in
11 plays,. After two
changes of possession, the Broncos got the ball on the Lumberjack 48.
Quarterback Mike Virden hit tight end Larry Stayner for 28 yards and Bart
Hull scored from the 20 for what proved to be the winning touchdown.
Thomas had 78 yards to lead the Bronco rushing
held a 17-0 lead in the third quarter and then held on to beat
24-14. Wildcat quarterback Jamie Martin’s passing barrage fell just short.
Martin threw for 190 yards in the second half in trying to bring his team
game wasn’t over until linebacker Tim O’Connor intercepted a pass and ran it
back 25 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining.
O’Connor stepped in front of Trevor Shaw on an attempted screen and
sailed into the end zone untouched.
had closed to 17-14 with
remaining as Martin hit Scoye Jackson with an 8-yard pass.
Thomas ran for a 2-yard touchdown and Mike Black kicked a 21-yard field goal to
10 points at halftime. With
left in the third quarter, Virden hit Winky White with a 35-yard scoring pass.
Weber came back as Martin connected with Dane Hall for 65 yards to the
Bronco 12. Four plays later, Geoff
Mitchell scored from the one. After an exchange of punts,
drove 86 yards in 13 plays to make it close.
and Mitchell combined for 168 yards for
while Thomas ran for 149 yards for the Broncos.
Thomas moved up to #5 on the all-time Bronco career rushing list,
trailing only Cedric Minter, Rodney Webster, Jon Francis and Terry Zahner.
Virden was 12-21 for 115 yards while White paced the Broncos in receiving
with 4 catches for 71 yards.
Broncos traveled to
the following week. Harold Wright
ran roughshod through the Bronco defense for 152 yards on 40 carries as
Eagle defense sacked Virden five times and held
to a negative 16 rushing yards in the second half.
had a chance with the ball on the Eagle 42 with
to go. A pass interference call gave
the Broncos a first down at the 30. Virden
spotted White alone in the back of the end zone.
White made the catch but the official said he did not get a foot down in
bounds, despite replays clearly showing White dragged his right foot before falling out of bounds. Three
subsequent attempts to reach the end zone were unsuccessful.
churned out 61 yards on 17 carries to top the 2,000-yard mark for his Bronco
ran out to a 27-0 first-half lead and downed
34-21 in Bronco Stadium. Thomas, who had 99 yards on 27 carries, moved into fourth
place on the all-time
methodically drove 72 yards in 16 plays after the opening kickoff as Thomas dove
in from a yard out. Virden hit Chris
Sweeting with a 63-yard bomb and Winky White hauled in an 87-yarder to put the
Broncos up 21-0. Mike Black added
field goals of 31 and 47 yards before the teams went into the locker rooms.
lost four fumbles in the first half, including two on kickoff returns.
came back in the third quarter. Star
Greene hit Brian Straughter in the end zone with
left in the quarter. On their next
possession, Green finished a drive by hitting All-American Daren Altieri with a
three-yard score. Altieri was held
to six catches for 50 yards by Bronco cornerback Kenny Kuehl.
the score 27-14, Virden hit White with another touchdown pass to put
the game out of reach. Virden
finished with a steady 13-of-19 for 223 yards. The Broncos recorded 416 yards of
Broncos traveled to
for another meeting with Division I-A Long Beach State.
blew a 20-14 lead in the fourth quarter and fell to legendary coach George Allen’s team 21-20.
missed a 37-yard field goal that would have nearly iced the game with
to go. Instead, the 49’ers drove
80 yards for the winning score.
staked a 14-0 lead when Todd Studer hit Sean Foster with a scoring strike and
Sean Cheevers scored. But
fought back with four unanswered scores. With
the Broncos leading 17-14 and
to go, Frank Robinson blocked a punt, giving his offense great field position.
Black booted his second field goal of the game to extend the lead to
Brown intercepted a Studer pass at the 50 and returned it to the LBS 25-yard
line but the missed field goal left the door open and the 49’ers took
with 251 all-purpose yards and was the top receiver with 150 yards on 7
receptions. Thomas gained 119 yards
and scored once on 29 carries.
get to return home after the disappointing loss in
they would also get a chance to exact revenge on
who had trounced the Broncos 48-13 in
the year before.
exploded for a 34-3 halftime lead and coasted to a 41-3 win over
The Broncos accumulated 267 yards of total offense in the first half to
just 51 for the Grizzlies.
came into the game averaging 41 points a game but star quarterback Grady Bennett
committed 5 first-half turnovers. He
fumbled after being sacked by Helgeson on the first
play. Bennett was just 5-13 for 42
yards with 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles and was sacked twice.
finished with 12
carries for 67 yards while Thomas had 16 carries for 63.
Virden completed 15-of-24 passes for 176 yards and a score.
Terry Heffner was the leading receiver with 3 receptions for 73
Walkup Skydome was not an easy place to win at.
Down 20-9 midway through the second quarter,
mounted a comeback to get a 28-20 win over
It would prove to be a huge win for the Broncos.
remaining in the game, Virden hit Chris Sweeting for 17 yards to put
ahead for the first time 21-20. After
the Bronco defense held, Thomas put the game away with runs of 54, 14 and 8 to
set him up for a one-yard plunge. Thomas
finished with 139 yards on 21 carries.
drew first blood with an 81-yard drive to begin the game that resulted in a
4-yard pass from John Bonds to Lamont Shedrick.
came back as Helgeson got a safety and on the ensuing Bronco possession, Sheldon
Forehand shook his defender for a 58-yard scoring play from Virden.
The Lumberjacks burned the Bronco defense with a 68-yard run by Charles
McKenzie followed by a Big Sky Conference record 99-yard pass from Bonds to
Anthony Brown blocked a field goal try,
drove 70 yards with Virden scoring on a 10-yard run to bring
within 6 at 20-15. The Broncos went
for two and did not convert.
bothered the NAU defense with 139 yards rushing on 21 carries while Heffner had
4 catches for 47 yards and David Tingstad had 4 receptions for 31.
Eric Helgeson had three sacks to lead the defense despite being
trip to the Minidome was next.
grabbed a 24-9 lead in the first half and blitzed
Broncos ran out of the gate with a 61-yard drive in 10 plays to score off the
opening kickoff. Virden floated a
10-yard pass in the end zone to Forehand. After
Darren Goodman nailed a 48-yard field goal,
Mike Wilson scored on a 37-yard reverse on his first collegiate carry.
was a very workmanlike performance,” Bronco head coach Skip Hall said.
“Everybody contributed and played well.”
Thomas moved into third place all-time with 3,553 career all-purpose yards.
He gained 82 on the ground on 21 carries.
fired 3 touchdown passes and was 21-27 for 210 yards.
The Broncos were well-balanced with 288 rushing yards and 223 through the
air. White led Bronco receivers with
6 catches for 98 yards.
(4 yards) and Spearman (28 yards) found paydirt on the ground while Heffner (1
yard) and White (30 yards) were on the receiving end of Virden’s other TD
riding a three-game winning streak. The
31-27 in dramatic fashion as a wild rally was successful.
leading 21-20 and
left in the game, MSU advanced their lead to 27-20 as Si Ryan dove over from the
one. The Bobcats lined up for the
extra point. But Frank Robinson
burst in from the right side for his fifth blocked kick of the season and
10th of the year. The
ball bounced right into the arms of Elijah George, who ran 80 yards untouched
for two points to make it 27-22.
got the ensuing kick and drove into Bobcat territory only to be intercepted.
There now was not much room for error, but the Bronco defense held to
punt. Punter Darren Svendsen could
not field the high punt and the ball sailed through the end zone for a safety.
made it 27-24 with
left, no Bronco timeouts and star playmakers Thomas and White sidelined with
got the ball again and this time did not waste their chance.
The Broncos drove down the field to the MSU 22, where quarterback Mike
Virden hit tight end Larry Stayner with a perfect pass as only 53 seconds
remained to give
the win. Fullback David Tingstad led
the team in rushing with eight carries for 50 yards.
Virden finished 21-of-43 for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Hull bulled over for three touchdowns to lead #6
to a 30-14 win over #2
in Bronco Stadium the following week. The
Bronco defense, meanwhile, held the Pack to a season low 14 yards on 49
did a great job,”
head coach Chris Ault said. “They
played a hell of a game.”
crowd of 22,611 watched the contest between 2 of the top 3 I-AA teams in the
land. Helgeson had 3 sacks of Pack
quarterback Chris Gatlin for 26 yards and was credited with 4 hurried passes.
He had five solo tackles and assisted on four others, all the while
battling against 6’7”
tackle Tony Wells and more often than not, had to fight through double teams.
hauled in a 15-yard pass from Virden and Black had a field goal to account for
other scores. Thomas finished the
game with a workmanlike 69 yards on 23 carries.
The following week, Idaho
defensive end Robinson made a leaping interception to preserve a 21-14 win for
was fighting for a I-AA playoff berth and needed the win.
was already in good position for the postseason.
a 5-yard gain on a fake field goal try,
burst through for a 2-yard score to tie the game at 14.
controlled the fourth quarter.
Pearce ripped through the Bronco defense for 226 yards and 2 TD’s.
Scott Russell became
all-time leading tackler with 18 stops on the day.
Russell’s total of 404 eclipsed the existing record of 397 by Carl
Keever. Robinson recorded his
seventh blocked kick of the season on a field goal attempt by
Thayne Doyle. Robinson added an
interception in the game.
was held to 27 yards rushing on 14 carries and
controlled the clock, holding on to the ball for 36:09 to
had 6 receptions for 151 yards while Virden was 20-34 for 252 yards but 3
The Bronco defense shone in a 20-3
win over #11
in the NCAA Division I-AA first round, which saw
punter Mike Black tie the Bronco record with 11 punts and cornerback Frank
Robinson halt 3
interceptions. The Bronco defense held
to a negative 5 yards rushing and only 156 yards of total offense.
came into the game averaging 375 yards and 30 points per game.
It was the fourth time in five home games that
had held their opponent to negative rushing yards.
Bronco defense thwarted six drives with interceptions against a quarterback (Jay Johnson) who had thrown just seven picks all year. Johnson,
who came into the game as the #2 passer in the nation, was held to 13-45
and Shawn Anderson led the Bronco defensive effort with eight tackles each.
booted field goals of 28 and 50 to put the Broncos up 6-3 at the half.
The Bronco offense finally got untracked when Virden hit White with a
7-yard pass to put Coach Hall’s team up 13-3.
Inspired that their offense had put points on the board, the “D”
snared interceptions on
next three drives. Lyle, Robinson
and Elijah George were the recipients.
starting backs Thomas and
both banged up, sophomore Sean Sanders had 42 yards rushing and a 6-yard
Bronco fans witnessed a thrilling 20-13 win over
in the I-AA Quarterfinals, when the stingy
defense again excelled, limiting MTSU to 26 yards passing. The key play of the game came with the score tied at 13 with 11:30 to go. Boise State had a fourth-and-two on its own 19-yard line. Hall gambled. Punter Mike Black took the snap and floated a pass to George. The Raiders smelled it out and dropped two men to cover him. But Black’s pass was perfect for an 18-yard gain and a first down. The Broncos went on to score the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Sanders with 5:27 to go.
Broncos advanced to a I-AA semifinal matchup with
team that was trounced just four weeks earlier was not the same team this time
around. In a classic that lasted
nearly four hours, the Pack prevailed 59-52 in triple overtime in
not without a host of heroics on both sides of the ball.
Duane Halliday, who was
starting quarterback in 1989 but lost his job to Virden, came in just before
halftime for an ineffective and pressing Virden.
Despite the fact that he hadn't played in 6 weeks, Halliday completed 23-of-37 passes in little over a half for an astounding 382 yards
and 3 touchdowns to almost pull off an incredible comeback.
jumped on the Broncos for a 13-0 lead in the first quarter behind two field
goals and Joe Kaspers' 31-yard interception return of a Mike Virden
key play of the game came with Boise State leading 35-31 in the fourth. The Bronco defense moved to stuff a run by Whalen on a 3rd-and-2 at
28-yard line. Six Broncos were on
hand to make the tackle. Whalen
miraculously slipped free from the pile, broke outside, and romped untouched for
a 72-yard backbreaking touchdown. The
Broncos had taken the lead on a 6-yard pass from Halliday to Heffner with
was a wild fourth quarter as the lead changed hands three times.
had tied the game with 56 seconds left when Virden hit Ryan Teel on a 7-yard
scoring strike to cap a 9-play, 79-yard drive.
That followed a 10-yard Chris Vargas run with
left to put the Pack up 45-38. Black
had tied the game at 38 with a 38-yard field goal.
score was tied at 45 at the end of regulation.
got first possession but missed a field goal.
had a chance to win and lined up for a 35-yard attempt.
But it was wide right and the teams went into a second overtime.
bolted for his third touchdown of the game from eight yards out to put the Pack
ahead for good. When Halliday’s
fourth-and-10 pass fell incomplete, all of
berth in the national championship game against
shattered a school record with 264 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns on 11
win would have put the Broncos in their 2nd national championship
game exactly 10 years after the 1st.
But it was not to be.
Jack Porter (#59)
Carl Ramos (#79)
Dave Giacomazzo (#73)
71 Jermaine Belin (#71)
Ryan Teel (#99)
Winky White #1)
Terry Heffner (#85)
Mike Virden (#13)
Chris Thomas (#20)
David Tingstad (#11)
Shawn Anderson (#97)
Anthony Hernandez (#98)
Todd Gilkey (#91)
Erik Helgeson (#46)
Tim O’Connor (#58)
Kenny Kuehl (#7)
Scott Russell (#44)
Elijah George (#27)
Frank Robinson (#3)
Tim Langhans (#40)
Rod Johnson (#16)
Anthony Brown (#43)
Tackle Louis Ray (#94)
Tim Langhans (#40)
Defensive End Chris Shepherd (#93)
End Durelle Goodloe (#55)
Darrin Lyle (#19)
Kenny Kuehl (#7)
Matt McLaughlin (#57)
Tackle Jim Pantner (#90)
Rob Gates (#49)
Mark Criner (#33)
Marcell King (#29)
Keith Morioka (#5)
Duane Halliday (#18)
Mike Wilson (#14)
Tackle Dave Koch (#78)
Tackle—Greg Cooper #71
End—Larry Stayner #86
Guard Mike Bills (#62)
Tackle Lee Duncan (#66)
Tim Fischer (#54)
Guard Greg Alexander (#69)
Back Isiah Spearman (#32)
Jeff Mladenich (#6)
Travis Stuart (#1)
Receivers Coach—Jeff Murphy
Backs Coach—Jay Mills
Ends Coach—Jeff Lindsley
Coordinator and Secondary Coach—Jim Fleming
Line Coach—Steve Burrato
Defensive Line Coach—Pete Kwiatkowski