These Broncos Started A Stampede!

These Broncos Started a Stampede!



 Note: Huge credit for this article goes to the outstanding research of former Boise State history professor Dr. Patricia K. Ourada, who compiled the remarkable book, The Broncos: An Illustrated history of Boise State University Athletics" in 1994.

As we approach the Homecoming game marking the 72nd birthday of the school we now know as Boise State University, this Bronco stands and salutes all of the past players and coaches of the last 72 years, for you have all made the Boise State football team what it is today.  Take a bow! In this article, we look at a brief portion of the history and some of the many talented players and coaches of the Boise State Broncos!       


      In 1932, Boise Junior College was founded  and the school's football program was born.  That same year, the Broncos defeated St. Joseph's Academy at Public School Field (which is now the site of East Junior High School) 7-0 on a scoring pass by Jess Swan in the first football game in their history.  Shortly after, the school moved to the banks of the Boise River, between Capitol and Broadway, in an open area formerly occupied by the city's airport with plenty of room for expansion. 


      The football team struggled in their early years.  Then in 1947, new Head Coach Lyle Smith took over the reins of the program, and the Broncos quickly went undefeated, receiving their first national ranking (#6).  Tackle Dick Nelson also became the school's first All-American that year.  In 1949, after an undefeated season and a #3 national ranking, the Broncos received their first bowl bid.  In fact, they received two, and accepted the one to Bakersfield, California (Potato Bowl) to play Taft JC, and promptly won the game 25-7.  In 1951, led by the combined rushing of Merlin Howard and Dwight Winslow (445 yards and five touchdowns) Boise State defeated Bakersfield 34-14 winning a second Potato Bowl. 


     In 1958, the team went 9-0 during the regular season including wins such as 51-0 over Carbon, 75-6 over Dixie, 40-0 over Oakland and 55-0 over Trinidad. Coach Smith's team was selected to host the third annual National Junior College championship game against Tyler, Texas, and dominated that game 22-0 to win the JC national title. It was the last time a Bronco team would go through the entire season undefeated. 


     In 1961, the Broncos won the Intermountain Conference for the 14th time in 15 years and included three All-Americans—running back Frank Kaaa, guard Gayle Laudenslager and Linebacker Dave Wilcox, who became one of the top linebackers in the National Football League. 


     In 1965, the school became Boise State College, in 1969 the NCAA accepted the Bronco football program for membership and in 1970 joined the Big Sky Conference and built a brand new 14,000-seat stadium.   


     Boise State was led in this era by Coach Tony Knap and quarterback Jim McMillan (5,508 yards passing), with many of those completions going to Don Hutt (189 career catches), Terry Hutt (132), Mike Holton (139)and Al Marshall (116). Stalwarts on defense included Steve Forrey, whose record of 24 career interceptions still has not been broken and Joe Larkin, who intercepted 15 of his own.


     Knap's teams amassed an incredible 63-17-1 record from the years 1969-1975, including three consecutive Big Sky championships and Division 2 playoff appearances from 1973-1975.  In 1971, the Broncos defeated Chico State 32-28 in the Camelia Bowl game, for their first bowl win as a four-year school.


     In 1979, the NCAA reorganized, combining Division I schools with some of the more successful Division II schools to form the new Division I-AA.  Boise State by this time had become a state university, officially known as Boise State University.  Jim Criner was the head man for the Broncos, taking over from Knap in 1976.  In the second year of the new division's existence, four backs known as "The Four Horsemen" (Quarterback Joe Aliotti, fullback David Hughes and running backs Cedric Minter and Terry Zahner) led Boise State to the National Championship with a thrilling 31-29 win over defending champion Eastern Kentucky.  Boise State led most of the game, until a long pass put the Colonels ahead 29-24 with 55 seconds remaining.  With their backs to the wall, Kipp Bedard came up with three heart-stopping catches to move the team to the EKU 13.  Then, on a fourth and ten with 20 seconds left, Aliotti scrambled to his right, then spotted a wide-open Duane Dlouhy in the left portion of the end zone. Aliotti threw all the way across the field, Dlouhy caught the ball, and the Broncos won the national title. One of the great defenses in Bronco history was featured in the late 70's to early 80's, that included Carl Keever (397 career tackles), Ray Santucci (333), Doug Scott (325), Dan Williams (296), Randy Trautman (285) and Michel Bourgeau.


     Coach Pokey Allen took over the program in 1993 and a year later had the team at 13-2 and winners of the Big Sky again.  Led by quarterback Tony Hilde, receiver Ryan Ikebe and running back K.C. Adams, the Broncos then won three thrilling come-from-behind playoff games in Bronco Stadium to advance to the I-AA national title game once again.   That 1994 team will be honored Saturday. Joe O'Brien would get 10.5 sacks that year, but Chris Wing would record an amazing 20 just two years later. Erik Helgeson (19.5 and 17.5) and Pete Kwiatkowski (15) were models of defensive pressure in the late 80's. Frank Robinson also picked off 22 passes in his career to pace the defense. 


     1996 represented another milestone for the program as Boise State applied for and was accepted into Division I-A football.  The Broncos played in the Big West Conference and the opening season was a baptism into major college football as the team went 2-10.  Sadly that year, Coach Allen was diagnosed with cancer and the Bronco program lost one of its most popular coaches.  The Bronco team continued to improve as has been the case throughout its history, no matter which division of football.  No sooner than three years had passed after they were first admitted into I-A when Boise State rose to the top of the Big West with a record of 10-3.  With the title came an automatic berth in Boise's own bowl game, the Humanitarian Bowl, and a date with Louisville.  Behind the passing of Bart Hendricks and the running of freshman Brock Forsey, Boise State assembled another brick in the wall of tradition, winning its first I-A bowl game by a score of 34-31.  In 2000, the Broncos captured another conference title (it's 25th since 1947) and another H-Bowl win, this time defeating UTEP 38-23. 


     Boise State's reputation was continuing to build, and in 2001 they joined the respected Western Athletic Conference and introduced Ryan Dinwiddie as the starting quarterback.  One of Dinwiddie's favorite targets was current NFL starter Jeb Putzier. The Broncos compiled a respectable 8-4 record in their first year, highlighted by a dramatic 35-30 win over the then-#8 team in the nation, the Fresno State Bulldogs (led by current NFL starter David Carr), in Fresno, California.  The Broncos followed a familiar pattern by winning that conference title a year later under new Head Coach Dan Hawkins.  Not only did the team go undefeated in the WAC but dominated in a way no Bronco team had done since the junior college national championship team of 1958.  Led by Forsey, Dinwiddie and the great receiving group of Lou Fanuchi, Billy Wingfield and Jay Swillie, the Broncos were amazing, winning their games by an average score of 27 points.  Overall, Boise State was 12-1 and the crowning achievement was the school's first I-A national ranking, a peak of #12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and #15 in the Associated Press poll.  When Iowa State came to town for Boise State's third H-Bowl appearance in four years, the Broncos notched their first win over a "Bowl Championship Series" conference team, knocking off Iowa State of the powerful Big 12 conference by a count of 34-16. Quintin Mikell's 401 career tackles just missed the all-time record of 415 set by Scott Russell in the late 80's.


     Hawkins' team made it back-to-back WAC titles in 2003, again going 8-0 and 13-1 and being nationally respected in the two polls.  At the conclusion of the regular season, Boise State received and accepted it's first "at-large" bowl bid, an invitation to play in the Fort Worth Bowl against host TCU.  The Horned Frogs had nearly put together a perfect season, losing only it's last game against Southern Mississippi after vaulting all the way to #8 in the national polls.  End result—the Broncos had placed yet another brick, winning their first I-A bowl game away from home as well as its first bowl game against a nationally-ranked team.

Great placekickers include Mike Black, Nick Calaycay, Greg Erickson, Roberto Moran and Kenrick Camerud.


     Which brings us to 2004—here and now.  With a record of 4-0, Boise State has received its earliest ranking in the I-A polls, #21 in the Coaches' poll and #23 in the AP.  The current team has been featured in two more games nationally broadcast by ESPN (Oregon State and BYU).  After spotting the Beavers a couple of early touchdowns, the Broncos rebounded for a 53-34 win, which represented the school's first win over a PAC-10 conference team.


     So on the occasion of this Homecoming game with SMU, let's salute past players such as Jess Swan, Dave Wilcox, Dick Nelson, Frank Kaaa and Gayle Laudenslager. Greats like Jim McMillan, Joe Larkin, Steve Forrey, and Don and Terry Hutt. Huge stars such as Joe Aliotti, David Hughes, Terry Zahner, Cedric Minter, Duane Dlouhy, Kipp Bedard, Ray Santucci, Dan Williams, Carl Keever, Doug Scott, Randy Trautman, Michel Bourgeau, Scott Russell and Frank Robinson. Kickers including Mike Black, Nick Calaycay, Greg Erickson, Roberto Moran and Kenrick Camerud. 1994 team members including Tony Hilde, Ryan Ikebe, K.C. Adams and Joe O'Brien. Names like Chris Wing, Erik Helgeson, Pete Kwiatkowski, Brock Forsey, Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jeb Putzier, Lou Fanucchi, Billy Wingfield, Quintin Mikell and Jay Swillie. And many, many more. Coaches such as Lyle Smith, Tony Knap, Jim Criner and Pokey Allen.  


     It has been nothing short of a meteoric rise to national prominence in really a blink of an eye.  Now, as the recent success has taken the Broncos to the outskirts of a tiny but very respected place called "Top Ten", it's a good bet that in Boise, and in other places around the country, the world, and the hereafter, past Bronco greats are smiling.  And cheering wildly!



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