Broncos come up short in Memphis

According to the 'experts', Boise State was a decided underdog to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl, anywhere from 14 to a whopping 60 point dog. The Broncos weren't even supposed to be on the field as the much larger, faster, pro-talent ladened Cardinals who were 1 play from an undefeated season and a probable BCS game.<br><br>But on a beautiful day in Memphis, in front of 58,355 fans, Boise State pushed Louisville to the very brink before subcoming to the Big East bound team by 4 points, 44-40.

Jared Zabransky scrambles during the 1st half at the Liberty Bowl

The first time the Broncos and Cardinals met, it was a game of lead changes, a game where "Ole Mo" went from sideline to sideline, and a game that ultimately came down to the final seconds.

The second time was no different.

Boise State and Louisville met for just the second time on in Memphis for the 2004 Liberty Bowl and while teams both played well, both seemed to self-destruct at times as well.. mostly with the other team's help. In the end, however, it was the Cardinals of Louisville who walked away with the Liberty Bowl victory, and the Liberty Bell Trophy.

T.J. Acree heads to the end zone

The game started slowly, with both teams seemingly feeling the other out.  Louisville got the hot hand early however and went up by as many as 11 at one point in the 2nd quarter, before Boise State scored 14 points in 13 seconds thanks to a couple of timely bounces of the ball.  First, Jon, (Not Joe as he was called by the ESPN crew), Helmandollar fumbled inside the 1-yard line, but the ball fortunately bounced right into the hands of Brad Lau who raced 2 steps into the endzone.  Then on the ensuing kickoff, Tim Volk caused a fumble that was recovered by Korey Hall and on the next play, Jared Zabransky hooked up with T.J. Acree for a 2-touchdown swing that gave more points than seconds it took to create them.  Jared Zabransky plowed 1 yard for the final TD of the first half giving the Broncos a 10-point cushion heading into the half.

Also contributing to the Bronco lead was a 92-yard pick-6 by Andy Avalos.  It was the 2nd game in a row with a defensive TD for the Bronco Defense, who were much maligned for the majority of the season.  The INT would be 1 of 2 for Cardinal QB's, who also lost 2 fumbles to the opportunistic Bronco Defense. 

Mike Williams brings Stefan LeFors down
while Chris Carr comes to help

However, even with the help of the turnovers, the Bronco run defense, which had been stingy all season, ranking 4th in the nation against the rush, but gave up a staggering 329 yards to the Cardinal rushing attack.  Although no Cardinal player broke the 100 yard mark, Michael Bush rushed for 96 yards, and Eric Shelton and Stefan LeFors rushed for 76 yards respective.  Lee Marks led the Broncos with 66 yards.

Jared Zabransky out-dueled LeFors with 199 passing yards to LeFors 193, but LeFors had 2 TD passes to Z's 1.  Both QB's threw 1 interception, although Zabransky's came on the last play of the game as he heaved the ball into the endzone, Hail Mary style.

The second half saw the Broncos score only 9 points on a Jon Helmandollar TD, (The 2-point conversion failed), and another Tyler Jones FG, (his second of the game).  Meanwhile the Cardinals scored 23 points to give them the final margin of victory.

The Broncos had numerous streaks snapped in the loss, it was their first loss in 22 games, dating back to September of 2003 when they lost another tight contest at Oregon State.  They lost for the first time in ESPN, and also lost their first D1 Bowl Game.

Jared Zabransky, running for daylight in Memphis once again

The loss was hard to swallow for the Bronco players and Coaches, all of whom told the media assembled after the game that they had left it all on the field, that there were no moral victories, and that the Broncos hadn't lost that game, Louisville had won it.

The class and spirit of this Bronco squad has been a pleasure and a privilege for Bronco fans to watch this season, and while some other team's fans might  already start  looking forward to next season, (a season for Boise State that will see 17 returning Bronco starters joined by what should once again be the best recruiting class in Boise State history), the sting is still fresh, and will linger for some time for all of us who have ever cheered on the Orange and Blue.

All of us here at BroncoCountry would like to thank the Bronco Fans, Sponsors, Coaches, and Players.. but especially the departing Seniors who laid it all on the line for Boise State night after night....

THANKS & GOOD LUCK
BRONCO SENIORS!!

Bronco Seniors # Pos. Hgt Wgt Home Town

Jones, Tyler

85

K

6-1

198

Boise, ID 

Sanford, Michael

2

QB

6-4

211

Los Alamitos, CA 

Carr, Chris

1

S

5-9

180

Reno, NV 

Kishpaugh, Derek

63

OL

6-3

273

Kamiah, ID 

Weldon, Andy

80

TE

6-3

246

Red Bluff, CA 

Adams, Klayton

65

C

5-11

293

Sacramento, CA 

Horn, Jarret

83

WR

5-10

177

Caldwell, ID 

Acree, T.J.

89

WR

5-10

178

Pocatello, ID 

Hefty, Tim

95

LB

6-1

221

Laguna Niguel, CA 

Ansel, M.J.

70

OG

6-3

289

Huntington Beach, CA 

Roberts, Julius

92

DE

6-5

245

Los Angeles, CA 

Avalos, Andy

40

LB

5-11

220

Corona, CA 

Bady, Lawrence

9

WR

5-10

189

Vacaville, CA 

Cabaong, Deshan

28

S

6-2

200

Compton, CA 

Franklin, Gabe

16

CB

5-10

185

Hayward, CA 

Onibokun, Mark

15

CB

6-0

198

Lakewood, WA 


Thanks Bronco Seniors...

from all of us here at BroncoCountry!

 


Bronco Country Top Stories