Congratulations to the Broncos for wrapping up the WAC championship. Oh wait. Are we allowed to say that yet, Coach Pete? No? OK. Sorry. Our bad.
WAC championship or not, the Broncos' win over Nevada was a hard-fought, well-deserved victory. What could have been a blowout turned into somewhat of a nailbiter, provided you believed that the Nevada passing game was capable of appearing out of thin air. So in honor of Boise State's win, we present our weekly game balls to the players, coaches, and plays that made the difference.
Best quarterback of the game
Boise State's freshman QB seriously outplayed Nevada's sophomore QB in what many considered to be a battle between the two most likely candidates for WAC player of the year. Can we end that discussion now? Moore was sensational for three out of the four quarters he played, and were it not for some unfortunate tipped balls in the third quarter, he would have been downright near perfect. It is amazing how much of the offense rests on his shoulders and how he has been able to manage it all. Where does the line start for his 2009 Heisman train?
Most blundering coaching blunder
Nevada's head man made some pretty bad moves throughout the game - abandoning the run on second and long and keeping Kaepernick out for extra plays after he lost both his shoes. But Ault's biggest mistake was probably the one that went most unnoticed - his fourth quarter game management.
Trailing by 17, Nevada had a fourth down on the BSU 9 with under five minutes to play. Rather than kick the field goal (which he needed), Ault went for the TD and got it with a Kaepernick TD pass. On Nevada's next possession following an onside kick recovery, the Wolf Pack had a fourth and goal on the BSU 8 with under three minutes to play. Did Ault try for the TD again? Nope. He kicked the field goal. When Nevada got the ball back with few seconds left, the Wolf Pack marched to the Boise State 26 and into field goal range, but they had to try for the tying touchdown.
Had Ault kept to his guns on their second fourth down try, the game might have ended much differently.
Photograph most representative of Colin Kaepernick's day
Joe Jaszewski, Idaho Statesman
Most likely to give you deja vu of 2006
Ian Johnson's 66-yard TD run
The most surprising part of Johnson's TD run was seeing him break tackle after tackle en route to by far his longest carry of the season. Where was that in every other game so far? One of Johnson's perceived problems has been his inability to make the first guy miss. Not only did Johnson take care of the first guy on his TD run, he handled the second and third as well. It was the Ian Johnson of old for those 66 yards, and it was everything we remembered it to be.
Austin Pettis catch of the game
Though Pettis' nine grabs for 126 yards and two touchdowns were impressive, his most important catch came on Nevada's second onside kick try. Pettis outjumped and outfought a Nevada defender for the ball, giving Boise State a chance to run some precious time off the clock and attempt a game-ending field goal. Had Nevada recovered, they would have had over two-and-a-half minutes left on the clock to go for the tying touchdown. Thank you, Austin Pettis. You saved us a mild-to-moderate heart attack.
Temporary moment of relief award to immediately be followed by 10 unanswered Nevada points
Kyle Brotzman's 50-yard field goal
Brotzman had been shaky on FGs over the past couple weeks, so we were understandably concerned when he lined up to attempt a kick from 50 yards out. But there were no problems with his kick as it sailed through the uprights with room to spare. Brotzman's boot made it a three-score game with just over seven minutes left to play, and it virtually assured Nevada of having to go to the air over the final minutes. This is the part where we surreptitiously forget to mention his miss from 48 yards out a few minutes later.
Favorite defensive position for this week anyway
George Iloka, Ellis Powers, and Jeron Johnson were stellar as usual, completely bottling up Kaepernick's running. Iloka and Powers had big sticks on the lanky quarterback, and Johnson would have had one, too, had Kaepernick not gone fragile-quarterback-slide on him. These three players brought a dimension to the defense that was sorely missing last season when these teams played. No offense, Marty Tadman.
Nobel Prize for defensive coaching
The vaunted Nevada run game sure looked tame by the time that the Broncos were through with it. The newspapers are calling Wilcox's scheme simple, but we don't buy that false modesty. If nearly every other team on Nevada's schedule couldn't figure it out, then the Broncos must have done something special. The skill of the defensive line, the toughness of the linebackers, and the athleticism of the DBs sure helped. But credit Wilcox for putting them in the right place at the right time.
Fewest instances of perceived idiocy
KTVB broadcast team
We are not afraid to eat our words when we are wrong, and for lunch today we dined on our many inappropriate jokes at Mark Johnson, Tom Scott, and David Austo's expense. Their broadcast of the Boise game, which was picked up by ESPN2 and aired to millions, was their best one all season. Are we sure it was them and not Bob Behler and Jadon Dailey with voice immodulator devices? Either way, we were not completely embarrassed by their performance, which is probably the nicest thing we have said about them all year.
Greatest play by a 5'10" person
(tie) Vinny Perretta's 60-yard catch on third and long
Perretta's 32-yard catch, setting up a touchdown
Perretta had quite the first half. His 60-yard catch was a thing of beauty both because of the timing of the play (third and long from their own seven yard-lin) and the play itself. Kellen Moore avoided a potential safety and launched a ball down to midfield where Perretta caught it and took off for extra yards. His 32-yard catch in the second quarter was pretty, too. Moore again placed the ball perfectly over Vinny's shoulder, and Perretta hauled it in. Meanwhile, in a Boise dorm room, Titus Young had a double kill in Halo 3 on the XBox.