1. Tyler Gray's 34-yard interception return
The true freshman linebacker turned invisible and picked off a Ricky Lloyd pass intended for, nearest I could tell, Gray. He took the pick back to the Southern Miss 11-yard line where Matt Miller scored one play later. Gray's pick came at the end of an underwhelming first quarter for the Broncos, one in which Southwick got picked and SoMiss missed an easy field goal. The game turned on this interception, so I guess we should all thank Ricky Lloyd for being so generous and blind.
2. Sam Ukwuachu's strip-sack and fumble recovery
Ukwuachu transmogrified into Dwight Freeney during Southern Miss's final first half drive, speeding around the edge and chopping the ball out of Lloyd's hands. Ukwuachu's subsequent recovery led to ...
3. Chris Potter's 33-yard touchdown catch
The Broncos took over at the Southern Miss 44-yard line with 22 seconds left and all three timeouts. The Broncos used zero timeouts before scoring two plays later on Potter's catch-and-run. How does a receiver get so open when the defense knows that the offense is trying to throw down the field? How do any number of sloppy things - say, dropping half of the kickoffs - happen to the Golden Eagles?
Potter's touchdown turned a 17-point game into a 23-pointer when a) the Broncos should have never got the ball back in the first place (turnover!) and b) the Golden Eagles had to figure at worst they would give up a field goal attempt causing Bronco fans to realize at best Boise State had a 30 percent chance of making it. The game turned on this touchdown perhaps more than any other play.
4. D.J. Harper's inside reverse touchdown
The first three plays were IMPORTANT. This one was cool. On a play that Boise State has pulled out of its magic hat before, Harper took a handoff from Jack Fields who had taken the initial handoff from Chris Potter, and Harper motored into the end zone with the Golden Eagles still checking Fields for the ball.
5. Kharyee Marshall's forced fumble
After forcing Boise State to go three-and-out and still down only seven points, Southern Miss took the ball at their own 25-yard line and ... fumbled it right back to Boise State. Marshall's strip and Tyler Horn's recovery led directly to Boise State's next score and kept the turnover train right on schedule.
What were your favorite plays of the game? Which plays do you think were most important? Share your thoughts in the comments.