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Game balls for Boise State versus Air Force

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 22:  Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos leaps into the end zone for a touchdown against the Air Force Falcons at Bronco Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 22: Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos leaps into the end zone for a touchdown against the Air Force Falcons at Bronco Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
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The Air Force Falcons made things interesting on Saturday, which was a departure from the way most conference opponents make things boring. We now owe the Falcons a debt of gratitude for fighting for our freedom and for making our football games competitive. Best get started on those reparations.

Join me after the jump as I recognize some of the best players, plays, and performances from Saturday's 37-16 26 Boise State win, and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. Who impressed you most? How hilarious was that fake punt? Ever want to see an option offense again? Let's discuss.

Reader's choice award for player of the game

Kellen Moore

Though Air Force did its best to keep Moore on the sideline as much as possible on Saturday, the Falcons would have been better off taking the ball and hiding. Even five minutes of Kellen Moore is too much. With limited snaps and limited drives, Moore made the most of it, finishing 23-of-29 for 281 yards and three scores. Air Force had no answer for Moore, and the question seemed to be, "Why are all these receivers so wide open?" Passive pass coverage is the worst kind of pass coverage against a QB surgeon.

Reader's choice award for defensive player of the game

Byron Hout

In a tale that has been told numerous times over the weekend, Byron Hout finished with 18 tackles against Air Force, a simply stunning number considering that the team lead for the season going into the game was 24 tackles. Not only was Hout in the middle of almost every play, playing the dive and the quarterback, but he got more snaps than usual. Then again, I guess the whole defense got more snaps than usual, so that may not be saying much.

The Boise State single-game record for tackles is held by Scott Russell with 28 against Northern Arizona in 1988. If only Air Force had the ball more ...

Runners-up: George Iloka (12 tackles) and Billy Winn (6 tackles, 2.5 for loss)

Best start to a game, non-churro division



Game ball for excellence in special teams

Boise State punt return team

When Air Force lined up for its fake punt attempt late in the first half, the entire Bronco return team signaled for the fake. This apparently convinced the Falcons that a fake was still a good idea. It obviously wasn't.

(HT: sez)

Air Force drive of the game

5-play, 75-yard fourth quarter touchdown drive

The Falcons trailed 34-20 with five minutes left in the game, at which point everyone got out their graphing calculators, input the average length of all previous Air Force drives, and figured that there was no way the Falcons would have enough time to score 14 points. Air Force would need 35 minutes, not five.

Well, that shows what I know. Air Force answered in a hurry with a perfectly executed 90-second drive for a touchdown, helped by a 51-yard pass from Tim Jefferson to Zack Kauth off a sneaky double play-action fake. Turns out the Falcons were just toying with us for the first 55 minutes of the game.

Third down conversion of the game

Kellen Moore to Tyler Shoemaker for 20 yards, midway through the third quarter

After an ideal start to the second half for the Broncos (forced three-and-out, drive inside the Air Force 30), Mr. Momentum went swinging wildly in the direction of the Falcons. Josh Hall picked Kellen Moore in the end zone (assist: Geraldo Boldewijn), the Falcons marched down for a field goal to make the score 20-13, and the Broncos started their next drive with a three-yard run and an incompletion. 

No worries, though. Kellen Moore was just using that 3rd and 7 to test our faith in him. He tossed a 20-yard completion to Shoemaker past a sea of Air Force hands, and the drive ended in seven points. 

Second-best passer on the field

Tim Jefferson

Normally when BSU plays a conference opponent, the second-best passer is Joe Southwick or Chris Potter or Chris Petersen or, tragically, me. But not on Saturday. Jefferson was winging it, his two deep passes (behind an unsuspecting George Iloka and Cedric Febis, I believe) were spot on, and he looked every bit like a classic QB. I knew he was a good passer for an option quarterback, but he really impressed me on Saturday. 

Best home game of the year, to date

This one

A record crowd was on hand to see a competitive, four-quarter football game against an opponent whom everyone respected. Weird, huh?

Technical awards

  • Game ball for special teams monster: Blake Renaud. Give that man the Hammer.
  • Most exciting play that didn't really count for much: Tyrone Crawford blocked PAT. For a play that lasted nearly a full minute and involved multiple laterals and fumbles, I was hoping for more. Still, I'll take a blocked extra point and the joy that comes with seeing Crawford pancake a special teams blocker.
  • Token Doug Martin game ball: Doug Martin. While the Air Force ground game was getting most of the attention, Doug Martin was quietly rushing for 125 yards and a score. Also, he snagged a touchdown pass with a reach-behind catch that a running back has no business making.
  • Classy Coach Pete move of the day: Having the Broncos join the Falcons for their postgame song
  • Sweatiest jerseys: Boise State. Gray looked good, but I think Cory Yriarte would have preferred something less water soluble.

Your turn

What players, plays, and performances do you think deserve special recognition? What stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments.