There may not be a mystique...but there was a win. Here are a few reasons why.
Darian Thompson, S
Thompson had one notable whiff, but still led the Bronco defense in tackles with 10 and led a second-half defensive resurgence. Boise State's interceptions leader has had 19 tackles in the last two contests...unsurprisingly, not the Broncos best defensive efforts.
Chris Santini, LB
When you're storming back from 20 points down there are a lot of turning points, but none were bigger than Santini's 24-yard first down run on a fake punt in the 3rd quarter. Boise State scored on the drive, regained their pre-halftime momentum and never let up. The Mountain West thought Santini's play was pretty pivotal as well, naming him the conference special teams player of the week (the second straight special teams honor for the Broncos).
Jay Ajayi, RB
Along with the rest of the Bronco offense, Jay was anemic in the first half of Saturday's win. Luckily for us, Jay is a second half back, and he rebounded in a big way—including closing out the game on a clock-killing late 4th quarter drive where the Broncos eventually scored; making it a 2 possession game with precious little time left for the Aztecs. Jay finished the night with 159 all-purpose yards (134 coming on the ground) and pushed his season rushing total dangerously close to 1,300 yards.
Shane Williams-Rhodes, WR
Just four receptions for 32 yards for SWR in this one—not close to a game high, but Williams-Rhodes sparked the Broncos at a time when they really needed sparking, and came up with some very difficult catches in traffic to keep vital Bronco drives alive. For that, he deserves our respect...and a game ball.
Armand Nance, DT
Another non-statsheet standout for the Broncos, Nance finished the night with just one assisted tackle to his name...but if you looked closely (mostly during TV timeouts) you could see that Nance means more to this defense than just stats. Nance is the emotional leader of this defense and he proved it with his dancing, headbanging and crowd-riling. Watching Nance headbanging at midfield to Lil Jon's "Turn down for what" in the 4th quarter was a highlight of the evening.
What can you say about the hearty souls that braved historically cold temperatures to root the Broncos to victory on Saturday night? I have no clue, so here's a game ball. Try to share.