Boise State Football: Broncos' 5 Greatest Victories in School History
Boise State has a long tradition of playing excellent football. Of course, it wasn't all at the FBS level.
Most fans of the Broncos know that the school started as a junior college and meandered its way though the decades, growing and raising its game to a much higher level.
From its inception in 1933 until 1967, Boise State football played at the junior college level. However in 1968, the Broncos made the transition to a four-year school and a football independent.
They then joined the Big Sky Conference in 1970 and spent the next quarter century battling it out in what would eventually become known as the FCS.
From 1996 to 2000 it was the Big West and from 2001 to 2010 it was the WAC. Now, and since 2011, it has been the Mountain West and the FBS.
Along the way, the Broncos have won nearly 400 games, and among those, there have been some dandies.
Let's look at the top five victories the Broncos have celebrated since 1933 and what each game meant to the program.
Honorable Mention: 1958 National Championship Game
Long before the blue turf, the grass was green in Boise. But the wins were still piling up. It may have been at the junior college level, but it was still amazing football.
Lyle Smith was the head coach when the 1958 team went undefeated and then met Tyler College in the NJCAA championship game.
It was held at old Bronco Stadium, and the home team took the game 22-0. It was Boise State's first national championship in football, but it wouldn't be their last.
No. 5: 2010 Fiesta Bowl vs. TCU
The 2010 Fiesta Bowl was the second appearance for Boise State in the Glendale, Ariz., BCS game. It was also their second victory.
Beating TCU didn't have the same kind of fireworks that beating Oklahoma did in 2007. But Boise State wasn't complaining.
It was a defensive battle, but in the end, it was solved by a riddler. "The Riddler" as it was called, was a fake punt by the Broncos that set up the go-ahead touchdown.
It was the fourth quarter, and the Broncos had the ball on their own 33. They needed nine yards for a first, and no one expected them to fake a punt. However, that is what head coach Chris Petersen and his crew called.
Punter Kyle Brotzman threw a pass to tight end Kyle Efaw who rumbled to the TCU 38. It set up a touchdown that was eventually capped off with a two-yard run by Doug Martin that was good for six.
Boise State 17 and TCU 10.
No. 4: Boise State vs. Georgia
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The win against Georgia in 2011 was huge for Boise State, for at least three big reasons.
First, it was in the Georgia Dome in SEC country. Boise State went into hostile territory, and many people doubted they could come away with a victory. But, they did.
Second, it was beating a powerhouse SEC team on national television. This victory brought huge exposure for the Broncos. From recruiting to national respect, and for probably 10 other reasons, the win against Georgia helped to build Boise State's football clout.
Lastly, it was sweet redemption.
In 2005, the Broncos went to Athens to play the Bulldogs and got thumped 48-13. It was supposed to be a game that proved BSU belonged. However, what it ended up being was a mild setback for the program.
So, in 2011 when that Boise State squad was able to defeat Georgia convincingly, 35-21, the fans, the school and the program got redemption.
No. 3: 1980 National Championship Game
Jim Criner was the coach, Boise State was a member of the Big Sky and Eastern Kentucky was the opponent.
After beating Grambling State, 14-9, a week earlier to make it to the national championship game, Boise State was facing a tough Eastern Kentucky squad. However, they pulled off a win in dramatic fashion, 31-29, to take home the national title.
It was the second national title for Boise State in football, and it served as yet another building block for the program that would continue to rise.
No. 2: Boise State vs. Virginia Tech 2010
On September 6, 2010, Boise State walked out onto the green at FedEx Field in Landover, Mayland. What they did for the next three hours or so was absolutely amazing.
In front of 86,587 fans, most of those hating them, the Broncos played remarkable ball.
Kellen Moore showed why he was the greatest quarterback in Boise State history, and Doug Martin showcased his future NFL talent.
The defense played solid, and the dramatic come-from-behind win took BSU from a team that some saw as a gimmick to a team to be reckoned with.
With just 1:09 left on the clock, Moore hit Austin Pettis with a 13-yard touchdown pass that sealed the 33-30 win and elevated the program to elite status.
No. 1: Boise State vs. Oklahoma
Bronco fans know that the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, 43-42, in overtime is the greatest game in Boise State history. It is probably one of the greatest games in football history period.
Both teams played valiantly, but it wasn't supposed to even be close. A true David and Goliath story, the Broncos came into the game as underdogs and the little team that was just lucky to be on the big stage.
However, it was the big stage that was lucky to have the Broncos, as they used four quarters and three plays to shock Oklahoma and much of the football world.
When Ian Johnson ran into the end zone for two points and the victory, everything changed.
It all changed for Boise State, for sure, but you have to wonder how much it did to progress the BCS itself?
Looking at the new playoff system that is coming to the FBS in 2014, you have to wonder how much the Broncos win over Oklahoma helped in making it happen.
Of course, Utah and TCU helped as well, but no win was bigger than this one for any mid-major team in a BCS bowl game.
It is interesting to think what the future might hold for the Broncos. If history is any indication, the Broncos have been known to win national titles at every level they play at.
Can they possibly do it again?
Could they possibly win a national title in the FBS? Most would say it is impossible—which is exactly what the Broncos love to hear.