Boise State wins Fiesta Bowl, beats TCU 17-10

The Boise State defense showed the nation just how well they can play in a dominant  effort in the Broncos' 17-10 win over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. A timely special teams fake, two big picks by Brandyn Thompson, and some great, great defense provided the win.

What do you have to say about the game? Who was your player of the game? What did Boise State do right and what did they do wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments. I'll be back in a bit with a recap.

Oh yeah, Boise State plays defense, too

Coming into the game you would be excused if you thought that only one participant in the Fiesta Bowl had a defense. The Broncos apparently took it personally. The BSU defense was on fire almost all night long, stuffing running lanes, keeping receivers bottled up, and putting on the type of performance that is legendary.

36 rushing yards for TCU?!?!

1 for 12 on 3rd down?!?!

Unbelievable.

Words cannot describe right now. This was the Oregon defensive performance that we all knew they were capable of except I think tonight's was even better. Give me a few minutes. I can hardly get myself composed right now.

Boise State gets its own version of "The Drive"

And while I'm being hyperbolic, let me also christen "The Fake Punt" and "The Doug Martin Dive."

The Boise State fake punt was the perfect call at the perfect time. I thought for all the world that it was going to be blocked, and I have never been happier to have been wrong. The play was eerily similar to the fake punt against Hawaii when Kyle Brotzman hit Jason Robinson in stride for a first down. Brotzman was even more clutch this time with a man in his face; he delivered a perfect pass to Kyle Efaw who finished with a 29-yard gain.

After the first down, Boise State went the other 38 yards in four plays, showing offensive spark that had been absent all half. Passes over the middle, passes to open receivers, and a big Doug Martin TD provided the only scoring push of the second half.

Brandyn Thompson for MVP?

TCU picked on Brandyn Thompson relentlessly all night long, but Thompson came out on top in the end with two interceptions and the final tip that led to Winston Venable's game-sealing pick. Thompson looked shaky at times, but he made plays when he had to make plays.

His first quarter pick-six was followed up tragically by a second-quarter TD allowed. In a sense, you couldn't have one without the other. Thompson jumped a route on his INT, and he was burned by a slant-and-go on his TD allowed. Playing aggressively was key to both plays, so it is hard to fault Thompson for giving up the TD by playing the same style that caused the INT. Am I making sense? I feel like I'm talking in circles.

His second half pick was a great effort. That is the type of ball that cornerbacks rarely come up with. TCU consistently went back to his side, and Thompson came up big again with the final tip for the pick.

Everyone feel more comfortable about Thompson replacing Wilson next season?

Brenel Myers is okay by me

The Broncos gave Myers help on the big downs, but he more than held his own against TCU's Jerry Hughes. What do you do with Myers next year when Pendergast is healthy? 

If Boise State's first half near misses were yarn, Ian Johnson could knit a mean beanie

Kellen Moore missed several wide open Titus Youngs, and the Broncos really could have had a much bigger lead at halftime than three points.

TCU's surprise strategy: Not running the football

The Horned Frogs passed the ball more than anyone expected in the first half, and Andy Dalton's early struggles were very evident. Why the change in strategy? Turns out the running game wasn't all that hot against the Boise State defense, so maybe the TCU coaches knew something everyone else didn't.

Austin Pettis's impact: negligible

Pettis started for the Broncos, but he ended up not being much of a factor. Well, looks like we all got worked up for nothing.

How big of a factor was Pettis? Hard to tell. He played intermittently and only had the one 4th down catch. The catch was big, and he may have caused TCU to switch up defense a bit when he was in the game. But in the big picture, his playing did not impact the final score.

His WR brother-in-rehab Tyler Shoemaker mattered just as little on offense. Was the absence of Pettis and Shoemaker the reason why Boise State's offense stayed on the ground as often as it did?

Deja-halftime-TD-vu

TCU's TD before the half was eerily similar to the same one they scored last season right before the break. Last year's was a gamechanger. This year's could have been, but Boise State showed some real grit in holding off the Horned Frogs.

Other observations:

  • Not sure how they do personal foul penalties on the BCS bowl stage, but I'm pretty sure that jumping off side and then punching a quarterback to the ground after the whistle a la Jerry Hughes on Boise State's first drive is a personal foul.
  • Worst. Percussionist. Ever. 
  • FOX's ambient camera work reached a crescendo when it scored a TCU player ralphing on the sidelines. I smell Emmy.
  • Jerrell Gavins had some early playing time, which was kind of neat because I had forgot all about him. Double bonus, I found a roll of King mints in my coat tonight.
  • Poor Gary Patterson's visor. I hope it's not afraid of deep sweat.
  • Brotzman missed from the left hash, and made from the right hash. Were you expecting something else?
  • TCU linebacker Tank Carder should be a little less selfish with the armbands.
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