Boise State vs. Nevada Football: Live Analysis, Observation and Stats
Boise State takes their No. 4 national ranking to Reno to face off against the No. 19 Nevada Wolf Pack and their explosive offense, led by speedy quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While Auburn survived a scare from rival Alabama and Oregon is leading Arizona, the Broncos hope that a victory against Nevada will give them the schedule credit they need to push their way into the BCS National Championship game.
Given the ridiculous way that Division I college football crowns their champion, of course, just winning all their games won't be enough for the Broncos (or the TCU Horned Frogs, for that matter) to get a shot at the Big Shiny Football.
Style points matter, so throughout the course of the game, in addition to comments on the game itself, I will try to keep you appraised of the style points and how they might be playing to the judges from Romania and Bulgaria...I'm sorry, I mean the Harris Poll and coaches' poll voters.
Kickoff is at 10:15 p.m. eastern, so grab your Red Bull and join me for the Smurf Turfers' chance to make their championship case!
It's over! Anthony Martinez hits a 34-yard field goal to knock off the #4 rated Boise State Broncos, 34-31 in overtime. It's an absolute horror show for Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman, who missed the game winner at the end of regulation and the game extender in the first overtime. If you don't feel sick for that poor kid, you don't have a soul.
But this game isn't about Brotzman. It's about the Nevada defense, who held the mighty Boise offense scoreless in the second half except for one screen pass. For those of you who stayed up to see the end of this game, you got a real treat.
Congratulations to Chris Ault and the Nevada Wolf Pack, a truly deserved winner of a phenomenal game. Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs are now officially over the moon, as all they need to do now is beat a terrible New Mexico team to put themselves in position for a title shot if Oregon or Auburn fail.
As for Boise, a 24-game winning streak is nothing to sneeze at, regardless of the competition level. And please spare me the "they'd lose four games in the SEC" argument. If Boise was in the SEC (as has been argued by others before me), they'd be recruiting SEC talent and have SEC facilities to add to what they've accomplished.
As for the abomination of a system that is the BCS, it likely gets spared another dose of controversy this year. Only TCU remains to challenge the consensus Oregon-Auburn title game, and their fundamental absence from the national scene going forward will make it that much easier for the Horned Frogs to be forgotten come final voting time. Now, fans of BCS chaos can only hope for an Oregon or Auburn loss to ignite the debate about a one-loss team hurdling TCU for a title shot.
Thanks to everyone who stayed up with me to watch this amazingly entertaining football game.
Boise State placekicker Kyle Brotzman missed another chip shot field goal, this time in overtime, leaving the score tied and Nevada with a shot to kick a field goal and knock off the mighty Broncos. Boise's BCS dreams are hanging by a thread, and they're going to need some real help to keep them alive.
You can't make this stuff up. Kyle Brotzman misses a chip-shot field goal to the left for the Broncos, sending this game into overtime. Boise's not going to get a lot of style points if they win this game, but they're sure going to get a ton of entertainment points out of it. I'm quickly running out of adjectives to describe this game.
Oh, that's why you go for two. Kellen Moore hits a ridiculous 55-yard pass to Titus Young putting the ball on the Nevada 8 yard line. With a timeout left to call, Boise State calls it and put the Broncos in position to kick a field goal and escape from Reno with their undefeated season intact. An unbelievable turn of events, but how do you let a receiver get behind you if you're a Nevada defender?
After an almost criminal mismanagement of the clock, Colin Kaepernick hits Rishard Matthews for a touchdown. Nevada kicks the extra point and ties the score with 13 second left in regulation. Looks like overtime!
And for those thinking Nevada should go for two--why? Other than one play, Nevada has been dominating Boise State. Nevada had has the Bronco defense on the field almost the entire second half, and they have to be a little gassed by now. Why in the world would you put it all on one low-percentage play?
Nevada with a first and goal, with 21 seconds left in the game. The Wolf Pack burn their last time out, and need a touchdown to tie the game and send it to overtime. Think that missed third down opportunity in Nevada's last sequence--which would have put the Wolf Pack within three points--is looming large?
Momentum is a cruel, cruel mistress. After Nevada worked so hard throughout the fourth quarter to claw and scratch their way back to a 24-24 tie, Boise State responds with a 79-yard screen from Doug Martin to go back in front 31-24.
In basketball, when a team huffs and puffs to get close, then gets put back down quickly, it's a pretty good indication of which team is going to win. Boise has answered the late round bell in this prizefight, will Nevada be able to respond?
And no, I don't have any more non-football sports metaphors to use. Yet.
Nevada ties the score on a 23-yard Anthony Martinez field goal with 5:14 left in regulation. But on the play before, a sure touchdown tipped off the fingers of Mike Ball, ending the Wolf Pack drive and forcing the field goal.
Boise State has been held scoreless in the second half by a resurgent Nevada defense. The Broncos' BCS title dreams are in the hands of Kellen Moore and the Boise offense now.
Once again, Nevada's defense stiffens and holds the Broncos to another three-and-out after the Broncos get a big kick return. Kellen Moore pooch-punted the Wolf Pack inside their 20, but Via Taua answered with a 26-yard blast up the middle to keep Nevada moving towards a huge upset over the Smurf Turfers.
Upset alert! a 44-yard touchdown run from Rishard Matthews pulls the Wolf Pack to within three points of Boise State, 24-21, with 13:01 left in the game. The Broncos have done precious little offensively in the second half, and Nevada has finally found some offensive rhythm. If Boise wants a shot at the shiny football, it needs to dig deep and find some offense on this drive.
By the way, ESPN, feel free to run that commercial with Beyonce at every TV timeout. Or even during the game.
The Nevada defense holds Boise State to another punt, this time on a three-and-out, and get the ball back with great field position. Penalties and a relentless Nevada pressure on Kellen Moore are combining to keep Big Mo squarely on the Wolf Pack sideline as the third quarter comes to a close.
Fifteen minutes left, and Boise State has a 10-point lead, but Nevada has the ball and all the momentum. Anyone who has stayed up to watch this one has been rewarded with quite a show.
On a clutch, clutch third and six, Colin Kaepernick dodged a safety blitz and took advantage of Boise State's man coverage, rolling to his left, turning on the jets, and getting a 16-yard touchdown rush. After forcing two straight punts from Boise, Nevada has cut the Broncos' lead to 10 and has all the momentum. For the first time since the opening game against Virginia Tech, Boise State is facing some real adversity.
To heck with style points at this stage. Boise's in for a fight in Reno with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
The Wolf Pack defense has been getting more pressure on Kellen Moore, forcing errant throws and stifling the Broncos inside their own territory, forcing a second straight punt. While Boise State did not get the benefit of a questionable penalty on the return--and really should have gotten a turnover from Nevada--the Wolf Pack have a chance to drive, score, and claw themselves back into this game.
The Broncos are running out of time to build up style points. Given the momentum Nevada is building, they'd better concern themselves with the win first and foremost.
The Wolf Pack drove deep into Bronco territory, but the Broncos respond by blocking a field goal attempt and nearly scoop and score--although it wouldn't have counted anyway, due to an "illegal batting" penalty. Apparently the designated hitter rule is in effect in Reno. The Broncos get the ball inside their own 30 with a little over six minutes left in the third quarter.
While Nevada is driving and looking like they've found a little offensive rhythm, the most telling stat of the game is that Boise State's defense has held Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick to negative yards rushing. Remember, this is now the third quarter, and Kaepernick is one of the most dangerous runners in the NCAA. If you're looking for a bite-size stat showing that Boise State is for real, you're welcome.