LAS VEGAS NV - DECEMBER 22: Quarterback Terrance Cain #7 of the Utah Utes is sacked by J.P. Nisby #50 of the Boise State Broncos as Boise State's Tyrone Crawford #40 defends during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Boise State put an exclamation point on a memorable 2010 with a romp over Utah in last night's Vegas Bowl. And here are the game balls to prove it.
Join me after the jump as I hand out the imaginary hardware for a job well done, and let me know in the comments who gets your game balls.
Reader's choice award for player of the game
The MAACO Bowl voters got it wrong? In a surprisingly lopsided vote, OBNUG readers chose Doug Martin as the overwhelming favorite for player of the game, something with which the actual Vegas Bowl MVP award would disagree.
Can't blame OBNUGgers for speaking truth. Martin was sensational at key times, sparking the offense with an 84-yard TD run and angering his way through the secondary on a 3rd down reception. He finished with over 150 total yards and a score.
Boise State's best touchdowns that weren't touchdowns
Titus Young's end zone catch and Geraldo Hiwat's end zone recovery
Runner-up: Tyler Shoemaker and Dan Paul's drops
I guess you could argue that since the calls were what they were on the field then there wasn't enough indisputable evidence to overturn either. In that case, stop making the wrong calls on the field. And yes, I lack the ability to see either of these plays with an objective point of view.
Sack of the game
Venable's literal throw down of Terrance Cain was awesome to watch and pretty important in the grand scheme of things. Boise State had just missed an opportunity to go up 23-3 when Austin Pettis fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone (or did he? see above). Utah took over on the 20, and the Utes' first play was Cain's vain attempt to get to the edge against Venable. Cain didn't, and Venable made it very obvious that he shouldn't try that again. I've already said once today that I'm going to miss him, but man, I'm going to miss him.
Tweet of the night
Remember when Utah WR DeVonte Christopher ran his cybermouth on Twitter earlier in the week? Idaho Press-Tribune reporter Dave Southorn does.
DeVonte Christopher update: no catches. Girlse State up 23-3.
Objective journalism FAIL or WIN?
Saddest person in the world
Utah C Zane Taylor
"It's disappointing, not just for me but for everyone who's been in this program for the last 11 years," Utah center Zane Taylor said. "It's not the way you want to end your career. It's not the way you want to leave the program. It's hard. It hurts. It hurts bad."
Somebody give him a hug.
Strategy of the first 20 minutes
Shaky Smithson in the backfield
The Utah coaches spent their bowl prep well, coming up with a unique way to utilize Utah WR/PR Shaky Smithson by lining him up at running back. Smithson was tough to cover by a linebacker, tough to tackle by everyone, and proved to be quite the pain for several Ute series.
Strategy of the last 40 minutes
Being Boise State
Credit Bronco coaches and players for regrouping and refocusing after a pretty horrific first quarter. It helps a lot when you are the better team (which I think it's clear that the Broncos were). It also helps that football games last four quarters and Boise State had plenty of time to find its groove and roll.
Kellen Moore throw of the night
Roll and throw to Tyler Shoemaker
On 3rd and 5 early in the fourth quarter, Moore rolled to his right, bought some time, jumped onto the back of a lineman while getting hit, and lobbed a 25-yarder into the arms of Tyler Shoemaker for the 1st down. It could have also won most awkward throw of the night (non-Terrance Cain division).
Coach Pete's game ball
The Boise State defense
No really. Petersen was giving game balls after this one.
"There's no question the game ball goes to our defense," coach Chris Petersen said.
He does read OBNUG!
- Hair of the game: Utah LB Chaz Walker. Mostly because he looked like every character I've ever seen in a biker bar on TV. Runner-up: Titus Young and whatever he had shaved into the side of his head (I like to think it was the OBNUG logo, but I'm kind of a homer).
- Underrated fumble recovery of the game: Doug Martin. Martin rescued the Broncos after a botched center-QB exchange early in the second quarter right around midfield. Of course, "rescued" is relative since Kyle Efaw fumbled away the drive three plays later.
- Gameball for best punt: Kyle Brotzman. His first quarter kick to Shaky Smithson was like a precision air strike on the sideline's edge, leaving Smithson no return options whatsoever. Redemption! /drops fake punt
- Coverage of the game: Brandyn Thompson. Especially on that play where he was called for "pass interference," which apparently now includes textbook coverage where a receiver pushes you.
- Penalty of the game: Ineligible man downfield. Pretty sure those Pac-10 officials don't know what that means.
- Gameball for most fans in crowd shots: Boise State fans. Can anyone give a count who was at the game? Was it 3-to-1 Bronco fans? Sure looked that way.
- Austin Pettis catch of the game: Fourth down grab. It was a back shoulder route thrown to the front shoulder, and Pettis snagged it with both arms, came down with it in one hand, and pretty much made my day. It was the turning point before the real turning point, and I like to think it inspired the offense just a little.
What players, plays, and performances do you think deserve game balls? Was Boise State robbed of two touchdowns? Did you vote Doug Martin as player of the game? Share your thoughts in the comments.