The past 10 years have been very, very good to Bronco fans. From the improbable Fiesta Bowl finish to the copious amount of WAC championships, the decade has been chock full of memorable moments and plays.
What ones would you say are the best of the past 10 years? Join me after the jump for my take on the Top Ten Bronco plays of the decade, and share your thoughts on how your list would look.
(Note#1: For a comprehensive look at the best plays throughout Bronco history, I highly recommend Scout.com's thorough anthology that they put together in 2007.)
(Note #2: I probably could have made this a Top 100 list since there were so many great plays from the past 10 years. If I left your favorite play out, I apologize. Mark May made me do it. Feel free to let me know how poorly I did in the comments.)
#10: 2004 Liberty Bowl, Andy Avalos 92-yard INT return TD
Was the Liberty Bowl really only five years ago? Seems like a lot longer. Nevertheless, I still get regular flashbacks of this Andy Avalos pick-six. The game was a classic, thanks in large part to Avalos stopping a Louisville drive that could have made the score 14-3 early on. Avalos' leaping pick of Stefan Lefors helped put the Broncos right back in the game, and his Bronco escort to the end zone was exactly the type of BSU play that will stick in my mind forever.
#9: 2003 at BYU, Chris Carr and Cam Hall combine for punt block TD
BYU never really saw what hit it when the Broncos came to town in 2003. Boise State jumped out to a 28-2 halftime lead, and the Broncos struck their first blow on special teams. Chris Carr raced in untouched, blocking the BYU punt that Cam Hall recovered in the end zone. Less than four minutes in, Boise State had its 7-0 lead and all the momentum it needed.
In Boise State ’s first-ever meeting with BYU in 2003, the Bronco defense held on BYU’s first possession, forcing a punt. Boise State ’s Chris Carr ran in untouched and blocked the punt while running in, and Cam Hall fell on the ball in the end zone for a 7-0 Bronco lead. Boise State went on to win 50-12.
#8: 2004 vs. Oregon State, Korey Hall pick-six
The first of his three picks, Hall's second-quarter INT helped turn the tide in the game. Hall took the pick 46 yards to the house, cutting Oregon State's lead to 14-10, and the Broncos poured it on for a 53-34 win.
#7: 2000 Humanitarian Bowl, Bart Hendricks "who knew he could run that fast" 77-yard TD run
When he took off on the QB keeper on the first play of the second half against UTEP, no one in the stadium could have guessed that he would still be running 77 yards later. Sure enough, Hendricks scooted through a hole and then took off down the middle of the field, outracing UTEP defenders into the end zone.
#6: 2007 Fiesta Bowl TD pass Perretta to Schouman
I chose to split the Fiesta Bowl plays up because they are each too good to stand alone. The playcall of a Perretta pass was perfect timing to take advantage of an Oklahoma defense that still wasn't sure what hit it. Perretta found Schouman in the back corner of the end zone for the overtime TD, and the rest, as they say, is history.
#5: 2008 at Oregon, Vinny Perretta 73-yard TD catch from Kellen Moore
(TD is at 2:45 of the video)
The last TD that the Broncos scored against the Ducks last season was perhaps their best and was certainly their most timely. Perretta matched up on an Oregon linebacker and ran past him down the near sideline. Kellen Moore hit him in stride, and Perretta took the pass to the end zone, giving the Broncos a 31-13 lead.
#4: 2001 at Fresno State, Greg Sassar sacks David Carr on Fresno's final play
The 2001 Fresno State game had so many memorable moments, but the one that I keep coming back to was the Greg Sassar sack of David Carr. Facing 4th and 4 from the Bronco 5-yard line, and needing a TD to win, Fresno State's David Carr dropped back and was grabbed by Sassar, ending No. 8 Fresno's chances for the win and signaling the beginning of the Broncos' reign over the rest of the conference.
#3: 2004 at San Jose State, Gerald Alexander FG block in fourth quarter
San Jose State had the Broncos on the ropes and were lining up for a chipshot field goal and a three-point lead with less than two minutes left. Alexander leaped and blocked the attempt, sending the game into overtime. Boise State eventually one 56-49 in double OT.
#2: 2007 Fiesta Bowl Statue of Liberty
Perhaps the most memorable play in college football history, much less Boise State history, Ian Johnson's two-point conversion on the Statue of Liberty is timeless. The decision to go for two was dramatic, the play was ran to perfection by Zabransky and Johnson, and the post-play engagement was the cherry on the top.
#1: 2007 Fiesta Bowl hook and ladder, Zabransky to James to Rabb
The greatest play of the decade for me is the hook and ladder that sent the Fiesta Bowl to overtime. Without it, you would not have Perretta's TD pass or Statue Left. Without it, you would not have the national notoriety and respect. It was the play that never works for anyone else, yet it worked for the Broncos on their biggest stage ever. What kind of fans get so lucky to have the hook and ladder happen like this? Very few.
Just missed the cut: Titus Young's fumble recovery in the end zone against Fresno State, Tadman's Fiesta Bowl pick-six, Scandrick's blocked FG return TD at Hawaii in 2005, Gerald Alexander's hit on a Utah ballcarrier
Dinwiddie's go-ahead TD pass against Fresno in 2001, Gilligan getting clobbered illegally on the punt return, Any of Ian Johnson's five TDs against Oregon State in 2006, Marty Tadman's 98-yard INT TD against LaTech in 2006, Ryan Clady's called-back TD catch, Zabransky to Acree go-ahead TD against BYU in 2004, Zabransky's 85-yard TD run against Hawaii in 2004, Dinwiddie to Schouman go-ahead TD against TCU in 2003 Fort Worth Bowl, Kellen Moore's "Houdini" fake fumble versus Oregon in 2008, Quinton Jones' big hit and fumble recovery versus Nevada in 2006, pretty much anything that Brock Forsey ever did
What was your top play of the past decade? What would your list look like? What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments.