Gameballs for Boise State versus Wyoming

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 26: Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

The Broncos topped the Cowboys on Saturday to move to 10-1 on the season and keep their BCS hopes alive for another week. Three cheers for winning and for dreaming and for sticking it to a Wyoming team that did not want to go away easily. 

Join me after the jump for a rundown of the game's most memorable players, plays, and performances, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Reader's choice award for player of the game

Doug Martin

When the going got tough for the Bronco offense, the Bronco offense handed the ball off to Doug Martin. His 150 yards and two scores provided much-needed momentum and rhythm for BSU until Kellen Moore and the passing game clicked. That Martin did it at probably not 100 percent is even more incredible. Or maybe the Wyoming run defense is just that bad. Hard to tell.

Defensive player of the game

Travis Stanaway

The senior safety made the most of his starting role, finishing with a career-high nine tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. And for his efforts he was named Mountain West co-Defensive Player of the Week - one of five footballers to get MWC awards last weekend. He's somewhere in the picture below, I think.

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Defensive player of the game, unsung edition

George Iloka

When the going gets tough, NFL-ready safeties move to cornerback. Such was life for George Iloka on Saturday who filled in at the corner spot so admirably you would have hardly known he was out there. The Cowboys tested Iloka once, getting a 28-yard completion by inches and video replay. Wyoming spent the rest of the day on Iloka Island.

Game ball for best running back in a receiving role

D.J. Harper

Boise State's leading receiver on Saturday, receptions-wise, was Harper who finished with five catches for 51 yards. How and why? Well, it helped that Wyoming often failed to cover him when the Broncos went to their no-huddle, hurry-up offense. It also helped that Harper caught the ball when Moore threw it to him and helped keep the offense in rhythm. Harper had two catches on Boise State's first touchdown drive and two catches on the Broncos' fourth TD drive. I hear he runs the ball pretty well, too.

Worst fourth quarter strategy

Dave Christensen

The Wyoming head coach is on the short list for the Mountain West Coach of the Year and for many national awards. Here's hoping no one got The Mtn. channel and saw his late-game strategery. It was odd, to say the least.

With the Cowboys down by four scores with a full 13+ minutes left in the fourth quarter, Christensen elected to put backup QB Sam Stratton in and take the air out of the ball. Wyoming went on an eight-minute, 15-play drive, the first nine plays of which were runs. 

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The drive did end in a touchdown, cutting the Bronco lead to three scores. So for an encore, Christensen did the opposite of what any aggressive, reasonable coach would do with the ensuing kickoff: He kicked it deep.

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How very Pat Hill of him.

Overrated freshman quarterback of the game

Brett Smith

If only we could have back the ink and paper and hours spent writing rave reviews of Smith leading up to the Bronco game. He was serviceable at best and Tyler Lantrip at worst. 

Hustle game ball

Tyrone Crawford

Keeping in mind the fact that he wasn't even supposed to be playing in this game with an injury, Crawford made one of the game's biggest plays by forcing a fumble by Brett Smith with the Cowboys driving for a second score. Had Smith completed the play by simply falling into the fetal position, the Cowboys were looking at a 40-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. Crawford's chasing Smith down from behind for the strip gave the Broncos the ball, and Boise State scored to tie the game 17 plays later.

Hail Mary of the game

Kellen Moore to Matt Miller, via Tashaun Gipson's oven mitts

Oh yeah. Almost forgot.

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Game ball for most hasty Tweet

Idaho Statesman roundball reporter Nick Jezierny

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A bit of an overreaction? Yes. An accurate reflection of a fair number of Bronco fans? Also yes.

Technical awards

  • Game ball for most one-dimensional player: Sam Stratton. The Wyoming backup quarterback finished the day with zero pass attempts and 14 rush attempts, so I use the term "quarterback" loosely.
  • Fastest game of the year: Wyoming - Boise State. This one was over before the three-hour mark, possibly because it was safe to return to Wal-Mart shopping again?
  • Lee Hightower pass break up of the game: PBU on a Wyoming deep ball. I'm just happy this category can exist now.
  • Game-changing fumble that wasn't: Hunter White. His strip on the game's first play was ruled to have happened after forward progress had been stopped. What good are hometown officials if they don't call the game in favor of your hometown?

Your turn

What players, plays, or performances do you feel deserve a game ball? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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