During the course of the 2012 season, Joe Southwick had a bit of a roller-coaster ride. The loss at Michigan State was devastating, but he and the Broncos bounced back against Miami (Ohio) with a 39-12 win at home in Week 3 of the season.
However, the BYU game, four days later, caused more criticism and worry for Bronco fans. The Cougars came to town on a Thursday night, and the game played out ugly and similar to the Michigan State loss. The big difference, however, was that the Broncos pulled out a 7-6 win over BYU—even without an offensive touchdown.
Southwick completed just 15 of 25 passes for only 145 yards. He had no interceptions, but he also had no touchdowns. After the game, the complaining about Southwick and the offense rose to historic levels.
The voices died down a bit in the following weeks as Boise State would roll off five wins in a row, even if a couple of those were closer than Bronco fans were used to.
However, against San Diego State, the offense faltered, and for the second year in a row, a November loss would prove to keep the Broncos out of a BCS bowl game.
At that point in the season, many fans were feeling a bit frustrated. Still, Chris Petersen's team was 7-2, which for such a huge rebuilding year should have been seen as an accomplishment. However, it was certainly not what Bronco Nation was accustom to.
Southwick saved the best for last and led the Broncos to three straight wins to finish off the regular season and a share of the Mountain West Conference title.
In the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, Southwick's scrambling legs came alive. Fans of the Broncos were happy to see such a mobile version of their quarterback. On the day, Southwick threw 38 times for 26 completions, 264 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled his way to 39 yards on 11 carries.
Overall, it was an excellent game for Southwick and set him up nicely for 2013. With Southwick at quarterback, the Broncos finished the 2012 season as MWC Champions, Maaco Bowl Champions and with an 11-2 overall record.