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THE GREATEST BRONCO GAMES OF ALL TIME: A FOURTH ONE

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“How bout that a**-whoopin?”

Oregon-Punch Photo by Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Well, it’s been rough keeping track of what day of the week it is in social isolation. Without consistent schedules for work, school, or church, every day is pretty much a Tuesday, right? Despite some scheduling confusion, OBNUG staff has endeavored to pick their favorite games from memory to tide you through.

The only rules?

  1. No Fiesta Bowls (too obvious)
  2. It must be awesome

This will be a short series, with each member of the staff picking a game from the past, and writing a bit about why it was awesome. With that in mind, here’s our next entry:

DREW’S PICK: 2009 OREGON GAME

Watch the game here! (shout-out to Mark the Bronco!)

The date—September 3rd, 2009. The location—Boise, ID. The mood—tense. This literary device—getting old.

The Broncos were less than a year off of shocking the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium behind a fresh-faced QB named Kellen Moore and the growing Pac-12 juggernaut wanted some served-cold payback against THE WAC juggernaut Broncos. Bronco fans didn’t fully know what kind of ride they were embarking on, but with a 1-loss slate in 2008 and their “pretty good” QB just a sophomore, many wondered if the dizzying heights of the 2006 season were bound to be repeated (spoiler alert: they were).

So, the swaggering Ducks made a rare return trip to Bronco Stadium with a new head coach, Chip Kelly to exact their revenge (an “ass-whooping” as Duck tailback LeGarrette Blount so succinctly put it). Best laid plans, my friends.

Bronco Stadium was packed to the gills for a suddenly-marquee matchup, with Duck fans even springing for Bronco season tickets to secure a spot in the stadium. And the stadium was LOUD, maybe as loud as I’ve ever heard it...in a sustained manner, anyway. And the Bronco defense was louder, allowing the Ducks just 6 first downs—with ZERO in the first half and their lowest amount of yardage—152—than they’d had in nearly 15 years.

Frankly, if the Broncos hadn’t played somewhat sloppily on the other side of things, this somewhat modest 11-point win (19-8) would’ve been much worse...the Broncos had 3 turnovers, 2 missed field goals (a harbinger of miseries to come) and a botched snap. Still, the Broncos put the football world on notice that night with a suffocating victory over the 16th ranked Ducks and it served as a springboard for the Broncos latest undefeated campaign...a campaign they punctuated with their second Fiesta Bowl victory and a 14-0 final record. The Broncos, who had entered the Oregon game at #14 in the country, would climb all the way to #4 and grace Sports Illustrated covers for the next few months.

Oh, and Blount wasn’t as good as his word...he had 8 carries in the contest for -5 yards (and was tackled in his end zone for a safety). He also wasn’t as good as his word to “keep (their) emotions in check” as Blount stole every headline that night by cold-cocking Bronco DE Byron Hout after some postgame words. My dad and I were already out of the stadium when we saw the melee...a chorus of boos were heard in the parking lot and a tailgater that had the game playing on a flatscreen showed what everyone still inside the stadium was seeing...an enraged Blount punching Hout and then going after anyone and everyone else in the stadium (he’d have been slightly outnumbered). Of course, that was the Sportscenter story—not the Bronco domination (mostly)...but that aside, it was one of the most complete victories I’ve encountered...on a plenty big stage...with a lot on the line. Special teams create special memories, y’all.