Boise State Kicker Kyle Brotzman and the 10 Biggest Chokers This Football Season
Kyle Brotzman pulled off one of the biggest choke jobs in recent college football memory Friday night, as his two missed field goals ended Boise State's BCS National Championship hopes.
As painful as it may be to say it, Brotzman blew it. But he's not the only one who has choked this season.
Indeed. Take solace, Kyle. You're not alone on our list of the 10 biggest chokers of the 2010 college football season.
10. Matt McGloin: Penn State vs. Ohio State
When Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions visited Columbus earlier in November, they didn't have much of a shot at upsetting the heavily favored Ohio State Buckeyes.
But sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin, who had done very well since being inserted against Minnesota a few weeks earlier, led the Nittany Lions to a 14-3 halftime lead thanks to two touchdown passes.
The upset alert was on, and the home fans were booing their Buckeyes.
McGloin came out in the second half and threw two more touchdowns. But they went to the other team.
He was at the forefront of an epic collapse by Penn State, which lost, 38-14.
9. Adam Robinson: Iowa vs. Wisconsin
The Iowa Hawkeyes had a one-point deficit to overcome in the final moments of their game against then-No. 9 Wisconsin, as they trailed the Badgers 31-30 with the seconds fading away.
The Hawkeyes made it as far as the Wisconsin 39 yard line, and had 12 seconds to get into field goal range.
But they were out of timeouts, having called their final timeout after Ricky Stanzi rushed for a first down on 4th-and-short on the previous play.
Stanzi passed it to Robinson on the next play, who made it three yards before he went down.
But he didn't go down out of bounds, and the game was over. The Hawkeyes had lost at home, and the Badgers had a huge statement win.
8. Tommy Rees and Brian Kelly: Notre Dame vs. Tulsa
Notre Dame had no business losing to a school like Tulsa in the first place, but the task was made admittedly more difficult when Dayne Crist went down with a severe knee injury.
Backup quarterback Tommy Rees came in and performed admirably, and he put the Irish in a position to overcome a 28-27 deficit late in the fourth quarter when he hit Michael Floyd for a 26-yard gain down to the Tulsa 32-yard line.
But instead of playing for a field goal with less than a minute left and his team down to the 19-yard line, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wanted a touchdown.
He dialed up a pass play that Rees lofted into the end zone, where Tulsa's John Flanders was waiting for it.
Ball intercepted, game over. That's the luck of the Irish these days.
7. Colorado Buffaloes: Colorado vs. Kansas
If you can buy into the notion that every great comeback is also a terrible choke job, than the Colorado Buffaloes are guilty of not only the worst all-around team choke job of 2010, but of all time.
The Buffs had a 45-17 lead after Rodney Stewart (or, "the other Rod Stewart") scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
To this day, Kansas' offense is still the worst in the Big 12, averaging just 18 points per game. A comeback from them was impossible.
But the Jayhawks scored three offensive touchdowns and also scored on a fumble recovery to tie the game at 45 with 4:44 on the clock.
They got the ball on their 37-yard line with 2:49 to play and took the lead on a 28-yard touchdown run by James Sims with a minute left on the clock.
Colorado would not come back, and Kansas had officially overcome the largest fourth-quarter deficit of all time.
Their win is Colorado's fail.
6. Giorgio Tavecchio: Cal vs. Oregon
The No. 1 Oregon Ducks rolled into Berkeley to put their perfect 9-0 mark on the line against the Cal Bears, who had been virtually unbeatable at home.
And the Bears did a heck of a job against Oregon's top-ranked offense, limiting them to just one touchdown and just over 300 yards.
Trailing 15-13 midway through the fourth quarter, the Bears had a chance to take the lead. All they needed was for kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to make a 24-yard field goal.
And he did. But he was also called for a false start when he flinched before the snap.
The ball was moved five yards back, and Tavecchio had to try again.
The Ducks ran out the clock, and upped their record to 10-0. It was Cal's first home loss of the season.
5. Damarlo Belcher: Iowa vs. Indiana
The Hoosiers definitely had their shot at a win over the No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes when they paid a visit to Bloomington in early November.
In fact, they led 13-9 going into the fourth quarter, a lead they did not give up until there were three minutes left.
Trailing 18-13, the Hoosiers needed a touchdown and were poised to get one when they made it as far as the Iowa 18-yard line with just over 30 seconds remaining.
But it was 4th-and-10, and they needed a miracle. Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell heaved one into the end zone for Damarlo Belcher.
Belcher had it in his hands, had it in his gut, and then let it hit the ground. Incomplete pass.
Iowa won the game by a final score of 18-13.
4. Chandler Catanzaro: Clemson vs. Auburn
The Auburn Tigers had yet to become the SEC's most unstoppable juggernaut in mid-September, and they ended up having their hands full at home against the Clemson Tigers.
The Tigers pushed then-No. 16 Auburn into overtime when regulation ended with a 24-24 tie and allowed just a field goal in the first overtime.
After a dropped pass in the end zone on third down, Chandler Catanzaro was summoned to try a game-tying 26-yard field goal.
He made it, but there was an illegal snap penalty against Clemson that forced him to retry it.
From 31 yards out, he missed wide left.
Auburn won the game 27-24, and is still undefeated.
3. Christian Ponder: Florida State vs. NC State
The Florida State Seminoles took a 6-1 record into a Thursday night road tilt against conference rival NC State in late October and had also won five games in a row.
They were the No. 16 team in the land and the clear front-runners in the ACC.
But the Wolfpack gave them hell and had a 28-24 lead late in the fourth quarter.
But the Seminoles were driving and were inside the Wolfpack 10-yard line with a minute to play with.
And that's when quarterback Christian Ponder, who'd had a very strong game, fumbled the ball. The Wolfpack recovered, and the game was over.
As a result, the Seminoles need NC State to lose in order to reach the ACC Championship Game.
2. Tennessee: Tennessee vs. LSU
There were three seconds left on the clock in the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the LSU Tigers, and the Vols had a 14-10 lead.
The Tigers had the ball on the Tennessee 1-yard line and were threatening to take the lead. But a bad snap went right past Jordan Jefferson, and the game was over.
Or was it? After much rejoicing, Tennessee was called for having 12 men on the field. LSU got another shot and punched it in for the game-winning score.
Congrats, LSU? No, shame on Tennessee.
By the way, special thanks to Ross Coleman for reminding me about this game with his article.
1. Kyle Brotzman: Boise State vs. Nevada
Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman had a chance to cap one of the most amazing college football games in recent memory in Reno Friday night.
The Broncos and Wolf Pack were tied 34-34 with two seconds left on the clock, and the Broncos had been able to get the ball on the Nevada 9-yard line after a brilliant 53-yard pass from Kellen Moore to Titus Young.
It was a 26-yard field goal for Brotzman, who'd missed just one field goal all year, none of which from closer than 30 yards. And it was right down the middle, well away from the left hashmark that he fears so much.
He missed wide right.
He would miss another gimme in overtime, and the Broncos saw their national title hopes crushed when Nevada won with a field goal in their first overtime possession.
And a nation went, "Wow..."