EAST LANSING, MI - AUGUST 31: Jamar Taylor #5 of the Boise State Broncos intercepts a first-quarter pass against Tony Lippett #14 of the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on August, 2010 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Here are my five most important plays from Friday night's game. Share yours in the comments.
In no particular order ...
Jeremy Ioane pick six
Pressure from redshirt freshman DE Sam Ukwuachu forced Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to toss a screen pass early and errantly, Jeremy Ioane picked the tipped pass out of the air and returned it 43 yards for six. It was the Broncos' only six of the night (apart from the six from field goals).
Le'Veon Bell 35-yard houdini run
Everything Le'Veon Bell did on Friday night was great, but his escape from the backfield, deep in Michigan State territory, helped flip the field position script in the second half and ultimately set the stage for the Bronco offense having too far to go and the Michigan State offense having it easy.
Oh, how different this game might have been if MSU had punted
Joe Southwick red zone INT
At the end of a 12-play, 63-yard drive, with Boise State trailing 10-3 in the second quarter and knocking on the proverbial door, Joe Southwick forced a pass in Kirby Moore's general direction that was tipped and picked. No points for the Broncos, which is a much worse fate than 19-yard field goals, which are, in their own right, pretty disappointing (the Broncos had a 19-yarder and a 23-yarder).
Michigan State timeout
On the final play of what would become Boise State's final possession, the Broncos faced a fourth-and-two from just inside Michigan State territory. Southwick took the snap and executed a flawless option right to D.J. Harper who rumbled for 10 yards. It was a brilliant play call ... and it didn't count, as Michigan State sneaked in a timeout when no one was looking.
The follow-up fourth-down try for the Broncos was an incomplete pass.
A three-fer of open deep balls
On Boise State's final drive, Joe Southwick went deep on three straight plays to Aaron Burks, Chris Potter, and Mitch Burroughs, all of whom had their guy beat and none of whom ended up catching the ball. Burks drew a pass interference penalty. Potter was wiiiiide open, and Southwick underthrew him. Burroughs had a step, and Southwick overthrew him.
Those were Boise State's best chances to win - and last chances to win. A subplot of the Boise State offense's struggles was that the passing game needed to make a play Friday night, and they couldn't do it.
What did you think were the top plays in the game? Share your thoughts in the comments.