The last ten years of Boise State football has been a dominating decade. Since the 2006 season, the Broncos have posted a 113-19 record, which included two undefeated seasons (2006, 2009) and three one-loss seasons (2008, 2010, 2011), one of which (2008) their only loss came by one point in the Poinsettia Bowl. Otherwise, they would have had another undefeated season. Only two of those seasons did Boise State have less than 10 wins (2013, 2015). This included six conference championships (WAC: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 (tied for 1st); MWC: 2012 (tied for 1st), 2014) and three Fiesta Bowl Championships (2007, 2010, 2014) as they had a 7-3 bowl game record. Although they have had 10 conference losses in that time, they only had four such losses from 2006-2012.
From these 132 games played, we wanted to try and narrow it down to the top 10 best games of the last 10 years. With Boise State’s dominance, it wasn’t very easy to decide which games were the 10 best. The word “best” can mean so many things but to us, it signified most entertaining and/or the most meaningful. Some great games played led to unfortunate losses and although they were “good” games, we felt in order for them to be “best” games, they needed to be wins. Besides, who wants to talk about losses anyway?
This game was a great end to a crazy and unfortunate season. Boise State scored just 58 seconds into the game and it was over. In a 55-7 beating on Northern Illinois (whose only score was on a kick return), Boise State had 654 offensive yards compared to the Huskies’ 33…
In Brett Rypien’s first start as a true freshman, an ACC opponent sounds a bit intimidating. Instead, Rypien threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns. The defense brought in 4 interceptions and a fumble to help win the game 56-14.
Boise State vs. BYU has become a strong rivalry. Although Boise State holds a 4-2 advantage in the series overall, in the last four games, home field has played a strong advantage as the series is 2-2 since it was rekindled in 2012. This game was not as close as the previous home game for the Broncos in which they won 7-6 due to a defensive lineman’s pick-six. Grant Hedrick threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns and added to a team total of 227 rushing yards with one of three rushing touchdowns in a strong 55-30 win over one of the only rivals the Broncos consistently play.
After only scoring three points in the first quarter, Boise State demolished rival Fresno State 51-0, leading Fresno’s head coach to say “I'll take Boise State against anybody in the country” and “We've played against some pretty darn good football teams in my time. Never have we been manhandled like that.”
Many people might wonder why this obscure game made the Top 10 list, but when you remember this game went into FOUR OVERTIMES, you might understand. This game set the record for most points scored in an NCAA Division I-A game since 1937 at 69-67 (136 total), and there were also nearly 1300 yards gained from the line of scrimmage. [Side note: that record was tied less than a month later in a matchup between Navy and North Texas] The game ended after Colin Kaepernick (yes...THAT Kaepernick) was sacked on a 2-point conversion in the fourth overtime. After two overtime periods, there were only five total plays (excluding PATs).
Although this wasn’t the game Boise State wanted (or the game they should have had) to end the season, it was a pretty dominating win over a bigger school. Utah went up 3-0 in the first and then the Broncos scored 26 unanswered points to win 26-3.
In the fourth ever matchup against Washington, Boise State also faced their former head coach, Chris Petersen. It was the first season opener on The Blue since Oregon came to visit in 2009. After a solid first half (16-0) with sophomore QB Ryan Finley in his first start, Boise State gave up 13 straight points in the second half. Then, in a turn of fate, Boise State WON due to a missed field goal. Although, that unlucky field goal fate may have belonged to Chris Petersen this whole time...Regardless of how ugly the second half was, Boise State had their first season opening win since 2011.
After the Broncos started off down 14-0 in the first, thanks to Ian Johnson and his 240 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on 22 carries, Boise State score 42 unanswered points to win BIG on The Blue 42-14. This game really sparked the BCS Bowl bid for Boise State, and we all know how that ended!
Kellen Moore is a freshman and still hasn’t shown what he is capable of as they had only faced Idaho State and Bowling Green. He didn’t disappoint either: 386 passing yards and three touchdowns. The final score (37-32) looks mighty close, but the score was 37-13 going into the fourth quarter. Boise State came out quick and then barely held onto their lead to defeat the mighty Oregon Ducks.
The Broncos head back down to Arizona for a third Fiesta Bowl! Some might argue that this game should be ranked higher than the previous Fiesta Bowl, but regardless, there are six reasons why this game ranks #6:
1) This was the first big bowl game that Boise State was invited to when they didn’t have a 0 in the loss column. Thanks to the new College Football Playoff system, Boise State (being the top rated, Group of 5 Conference Champion) was invited to a New Year's 6 Bowl Game, even with two losses on the season. 2) This game was practically a home game for Arizona (less than a three hour trip), although Glendale, AZ is becoming a “second home” to the Broncos. 3) The previous Fiesta Bowl was against another non-AQ team whereas this game was against a “Power 5” conference. 4) It was the first season of the New Year’s 6 Bowls and Boise State was able to be a part of it. 5) Boise State was #20 whereas Arizona was #10. This gap between rankings seemingly make it a tougher matchup than the previous Fiesta Bowl. 6) It was our chance to prove that the Broncos really don’t lose in the Fiesta Bowl, going 3 for 3.
For the third straight Fiesta Bowl, Boise State got off to a decent lead and then had to fight to keep the lead – which they did successfully winning 38-30 – their largest Fiesta Bowl win.
In their second matchup in as many years, Boise State faced a top 20 Oregon – this time on The Blue. The Broncos came out swinging and scored 19 unanswered points, including a 2-point conversion and a safety. Oregon scored 8 points in the third quarter but couldn’t do much more than that. The Ducks’ first of only six first downs happened midway through the third quarter. If that doesn’t tell you of the defensive beatdown they put on a top team...SIX first downs?! Speaking of beatdowns…
Evidence that one team just rattled another.
This was the third bowl game between the two teams (2003 Fort Worth, 2008 Poinsettia) and a rematch of last season’s bowl game in which TCU topped Boise State by one in the Poinsettia Bowl. Although this ended up as more of a defensive battle between two of the top-scoring teams in the country, these two unbeaten teams (two of four left and the first ever undefeated, non-AQ teams to face each other in a BCS Bowl game) fought until the end. Boise State faked a punt (one of the Top 10 Plays of the Last 10 Years), which led to the game-winning touchdown, followed up by an interception by Winston Venable to seal the deal at 17-10.
Boise State head down to Georgia for a rematch of a HUGE loss in 2005. The Broncos went 12-1 the previous year, missing their chance at another BCS Bowl, 14-0 the year before, and 12-1 the year before that. Georgia heavily underestimated the little guy and paid the price with a 35-21 loss. This game led to a great season, that was cut short by a devastating loss to now conference rival TCU.
Having just won the Fiesta Bowl (last season) with a 14-0 record, Boise State had yet another chance to show the country what Bronco football was all about. Virginia Tech (#10) trailed for the majority of the game but gained the lead until Boise State went on a 38 second, 56 yard drive to take the lead with a minute left. Virginia Tech was still unable to recover even in the next game where they lost to FCS James Madison. However, VT made it to the Orange Bowl, where they lost to #5 Stanford. This may have been the most impressive season opener for Boise State as they faced #10 on the road and came out on top with some last minute Kellen magic! Check out the last drive:
If there was any doubt in your mind that this wouldn’t be the best game ever by Boise State – shame on you! Boise State, one of the first BCS Bowl Busters, faced national powerhouse Oklahoma and led from the very beginning. Oklahoma tied the game with 1:26 left in the fourth. Boise State then throws an interception for a touchdown and all hope seems lost. With a minute left to score, it comes down to 4th and 18 with 18 seconds left. Boise State runs the hook-and-ladder for a touchdown to tie the game! Oklahoma’s first play in overtime is an easy 25 yard run by Adrian Peterson and again the game seems lost. On 4th and 2, first-year Head Coach Chris Petersen gives the ball to his wide receiver to throw and he passes for a touchdown! Then, instead of tying it with an extra point, they go for two...You can check it out for yourself!