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Kellen Moore to Austin Pettis and 9 other game-changing moments from Boise State - Virginia Tech

Still in the throes of a win hangover from last night's epic Bronco game, I can hardly believe it really happened, much less how it happened. Before we get too bogged down in rankings and title talk, I need to spend a few more minutes re-living the glorious game that was by recapping 10 game-changing moments from the opener.

Kellen Moore's 13-yard TD pass to Austin Pettis for the win

What a perfect pass to end a surprisingly perfect drive. Boise State hadn't moved the ball that well since the post-penalty part of its Tommy Gallarda TD drive in the first quarter. A pass here, a first down there, and before you knew it, Kellen Moore was floating a rainbow pass over a dumbstruck safety and into the waiting arms of Austin Pettis at the back of the end zone. It was a great route by Pettis, who not only shook free of the corner in a flash but also confounded the safety who was helping over the top. It was a Heisman-caliber throw by Moore, who tossed it well before it was obvious to do so and expertly enough that it looked like child's play.

After the jump, get the other nine game-changers from Monday night's win, and then vote on your favorite moment and share your thoughts on each.


D.J. Harper's 71-yard TD run

"He's back" doesn't even begin describe how I felt about that run. He ran that 3rd and short with authority and with power, and he added blazing speed to boot once he hit the open field.

But what about the timing of that run? Boise State had just fallen behind 21-20 and was reeling from a Hokie team that was slowly but surely taking over the game. If Harper goes down with the first tackle, BSU doesn't pick up the 1st down and I have a much harder time rolling out of bed in the morning. Instead, that run alone gave the Broncos a much-needed boost and provided pretty much the only offense between the first quarter and the last drive.

The no call on Jeremy Avery on Boise State's final punt return

It was what I refer to as highly skeptical blocking. Avery hit a Tech special teamer flush in either the shoulder or the back, depending on what team you were rooting for. The refs were apparently rooting for Boise State because they waived the flag off as a legal block.

Which was really convenient. Boise State would have had horrible field position had that call stood. Instead, Boise State started at the 44-yard-line and needed only 56 yards for the go-ahead score.

Tyrod Taylor throws incomplete on 3rd and 8 on Hokies' penultimate drive

I assume there will be a good deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth by Virginia Tech fans for some of the playcalling at the end of last night's game. May I suggest they begin with this play?

With two minutes left and Boise State out of timeouts, Taylor and the Hokies faced a 3rd and 8 from their 33-yard-line. Play it safe with a run to chew some clock? Take some sure yards with a short pass or screen? Roll Tyrod Taylor out of the pocket and let him make a play with his feet like he had been doing all day?

Survey says: Throw the lowest percentage pass in football. Taylor went deep, the pass fell incomplete, and the Broncos had extra time to work their 2-minute offense.

Kyle Brotzman misses 30-yard field goal

What are we considering the left hash at this point? Anything to the left of the exact middle of the field? Brotzman's 30-yard miss was a couple yards within the left hash, and instead of his traditional pull job to the right, Brotzman pushed the kick wide left. Shame, too. Boise State capped an 11-play drive with no points at a time when they really could have used some points. Worse yet, the drive stalled after a 2nd and 3 from the Hokie 13. Tech took the ball back down the field and added a field goal of their own for a 4-point lead.

Note: To be fair, how cool was it to see Brotzman nail a 47-yarder from the left hash in the first half?

Ebo Makinde called for running into the kicker

I think this play can best be summed up by a simple "Why?" which is exactly what I said to my TV when it happened. It's a 51-yard field goal from a kicker who was more Bill Grammatica than David Akers. Let him be, Ebo Makinde.

Of course, that play allowed VT to re-think its 4th down strategy, leading to this ...

Jarrett Boykin scores on Brandyn Thompson missed tackle

I believe that the all-out blitz on 4th and 6 was the right call by defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. It was just a bad play by Brandyn Thompson. Credit Tyrod Taylor for a good throw and Boykin for a good play, but you also have to blame Thompson for tentative coverage and a really bad tackle. Instead of Boise State stopping a Hokie drive with no points, Virginia Tech gets an immediate answer to D.J. Harper's touchdown run and regains the lead.

Doug Martin fumbles late in the second quarter

This play was all sorts of disappointing. First, Martin failed to pick up a 1st down on a 3rd and 2. Second, Martin fumbles trying to pick up the 1st down. Third, Thomas Byrd does a bellyflop on the ball in the open field, letting it squirt out so that a VT defender can recover. Fourth, the Hokies finish off the drive with a touchdown right before half to cut the Bronco lead to 20-14.

Virginia Tech's D.J. Coles's two special teams penalties on one play

There are dumb special teams penalties and then there are dumb special teams penalties committed by D.J. Coles. At least Ebo Makinde didn't cheapshot a Hokie player after he was called for running into the kicker. Coles did. His poor play kept a Bronco drive alive and let Boise State get seven more points on the board for a 17-0 lead.

Austin Pettis blocks a Virginia Tech punt

Pettis's punt block was the Billy Winn safety of the Broncos' season opener. Not only was it a great play by Pettis, but it also led to seven points (courtesy of Pettis) and a 10-0 Boise State lead with barely five minutes into the game.

Honorable mention

  • Kellen Moore's fumble. Comically/tragically forced by Nate Potter, the fumble led to a VT touchdown and the Hokies' first lead of the game.
  • Billy Winn's fumble recovery. You typically do not want to start the game with fumbled snaps from center, which is something that Boise State can tell you all about.
  • Any one of Boise State's 11 penalties for 105 yards. Seriously, pick any of them. They all seemed to be big ones at the wrong time.
  • Tyrod Taylor's 3rd down scramble on the Hokies' first scoring drive. Virginia Tech had done nothing to that point, but Taylor's nine yard gain on 3rd and 8 fixed that. The Hokies' went on to score.
  • Tommy Gallarda's touchdown catch. Seriously, Tommy Gallarda? Seriously? That was insane.
  • Virginia Tech late hit penalty on Boise State's final drive. It didn't necessarily change the game, but it sure didn't help the Hokies very much.
  • Boykin's drop on Tech's final 4th down try. It would have been an incredible catch by Boykin, and man, was it close. If you're a Hokie fan looking for pass interference on that play, I think it was too close to call. Both players were jostling pretty evenly.

Your turn

What game-changing moment do you remember most from Boise State's win over Virginia Tech? Which one was the most important? Which ones did I forget? Share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll.