Naming Three Stars is a hockey tradition that over the past few years has become a Bronco tradition. More info here if you are interested.
Star No. 3: Joe Southwick
Boise State's offensive stars did not shine terribly bright on Saturday, but credit Southwick for being efficient and not making mistakes in finishing 22-for-30 for 243 yards (and a one-man Hail Mary interception to end the first half).
Star No. 2: Jamar Taylor
Taylor sparked the Bronco defense with two forced fumbles - one on Jerrell Gavins' return score and the other on a strip sack of UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry who never heard Taylor tip-toeing at full speed on a corner blitz. The strip sack was part of a three-play, minus-28-yard drive by the Runnin' Rebels following a turnover on Boise State's opening drive. Yes, you read those drive numbers correctly.
I listened to part of the game on the radio (while watching it live, I am such a nerd), and play-by-play man Pete Cavender said multiple times how Taylor should not just be in consideration for Mountain West Player of the Year honors but for All-American honors. I thought I was supposed to be the one to make homer remarks. Pete Cavender, you have outdone yourself. (That being said, Taylor does have quite the resume.)
Star No. 1: Jerrell Gavins
Gavins' highlight play - a scoop and score to make it 25-0 - gave Boise State a big boost and a bigger margin before halftime. His interception in the end zone was just as pretty, if not just as ESPN-worthy. That pick stopped UNLV's most serious threat of the first half and swung momentum back to the Broncos, where it feels like home. Before, during, and after those plays, Gavins had himself a field day, finishing with two pass breakups and three tackles and, quite possibly, his best game as a Bronco (the Georgia game may beg to differ).
The Goat: UNLV coach Bobby Hauck
I could have gone with Grant Hedrick here, but that poor kid has enough grief on his plate as it is. So I'll pick on a grown man. Hauck is no doubt a good coach and probably the best coach that UNLV could ever hope for (his Montana career was legen-, wait for it, -dary). But he made a pair of near-disastrous decisions on Saturday.
The first came at the end of the second quarter when Hauck went for it on fourth and five at his own 46-yard line. Why? I have no idea. There were 28 seconds left on the clock when UNLV failed, predictably, to pick up the first down, and the Broncos (with two timeouts) had a chance to add to their 25-0 lead right before the half. Why give Boise State great field position when you could punt it away and let the Broncos kneel to end the half? The Bronco drive ended in a desperation heave interception, but not before a wide open Matt Miller ran into the end zone with no pass coming his way and Southwick missed Kirby Moore for a couple big gainers.
Hauck Curiosity No. 2 was less egregious but still rather dumb. Down 32-0, which is four touchdowns and four two-pointers for those of you absent a calculator, Hauck elected to kick a field goal on fourth and goal at the four-yard line. The football gods disapproved and forced the kick wide left.
(Bad decision No. 3 would have been Hauck failing to go for two when his team scored a fumble return touchdown two plays later, but I had stopped counting on Hauck to make prudent choices by that point.)
Who were your three stars of the game? Who should be wearing the goat horns? Share your thoughts in the comments.