Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
BOWIE, MD - Reflections on Boise State’s riveting 33-30 victory over Virginia Tech last night before the plane takes off this morning. Craig James made a big deal Sunday of the Broncos needing to win big to show they belong in the BCS Championship Game conversation. Negatory, I say. Boise State just had to win over the No. 10 team in the country. And it did so in classic fashion. Kellen Moore’s perfect 13-yard strike to Austin Pettis gave the Broncos a signature victory in the face of enormous pressure–eight months worth of unprecedented hype and the weight (and potential distraction) of a No. 3 national ranking on their shoulders. With things looking bleak in the final minutes, the defense got its stop and gave the ball back to Kellen with 1:47 left. It only took 47 seconds to drive for the game-winner.
Boise State pulled it off in a decidedly non-neutral venue. The Battle in the Capital was a Hokie home game, from the starting lineup treatment to the promotions to the public address announcer. And unlike the two Fiesta Bowls, Bronco fans were seriously outnumbered in the FedEx Field throng of 86,587. Hokie fans acted like underdogs from the get-go, storming the concourses before the game. It was about as loud there as it was on the field. And that’s the loudest crowd I’ve ever heard.
Moore just takes what the defense gives him. It’s a cliche, but that’s exactly what he’s always looking for. And even when it doesn’t give him a lot, he goes out and gets it. Moore threw for a pedestrian 215 yards on 23-of-38 passing against Virginia Tech, but he tossed three touchdown passes and did not have an interception. It’s the 15th time in his career he’s thrown three or more TD passes in game–his career number is up to 67. Cool, calm and collected once again.
Other notes: Brandyn Thompson had one of his rollercoaster nights at cornerback, Virginia Tech started picking on him in the second half and nailed him on its final touchdown. Thompson made a play on VT’s desperation drive. But the defense did a great job against the run. Yes, Ryan Williams scored three touchdowns. But he ran for just 44 yards on 21 carries. The other part of the Hokies’ two-headed rushing monster, Darren Evans, ran four times for 12 yards.
Tyrod Taylor was something else, though, scrambling for 73 yards (including the yardage subtracted for sacks). You saw the essence of Taylor on Virginia Tech’s second TD. When it looked like Taylor was going to tuck it and run, the Broncos had to respect that and cheated up to stop him. Then Taylor popped it over the top for a 12-yard touchdown to Williams. In the end, however: game, set, match Boise State.
This Day In Sports…September 7, 2006:
Indisputably the best performance ever by a Boise State running back, as sophomore Ian Johnson gains 240 yards and ties a school record with five touchdowns in a 42-14 rout of Oregon State at Bronco Stadium. Johnson was named Division I-A Offensive Player of the Week after his nationally-televised effort, which is a perfect word for it. He not only had scoring runs of 59 and 50 yards, he continually broke tackles and dragged Beaver players along for the ride. It was an exclamation point to BSU’s celebration of its 20th anniversary on the blue turf.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)