Petersen Wins BroncoCountry Coach of the Year
Chris Petersen Looking back, it is hard to believe that Coach Petersen took the reins of the Bronco football program just a year and a half ago. Regarded as one of the top assistant coaches and most brilliant football minds in the nation, Petersen succeeded his friend Dan Hawkins as head man of the Broncos prior to the MPC Bowl in 2005. A lot has happened since then. Stepping in as a head coach for the first time in his career, Petersen became only the second coach in history and the first since 1900 to take his team to a 13-0 record in his initial year. He inspired a tremendous work ethic and cohesion on the 2007 Broncos as they downed all challengers for a fifth straight Western Athletic Conference title. On the strength of their second undefeated regular season in three years, Boise State was selected to play in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against seven-time national champion Oklahoma. The Broncos romped to a 21-10 halftime lead, advancing the margin to 28-10 before a Sooner second half comeback gave them a 35-28 lead with a minute left. Boise State mounted a last charge to again take what had been theirs all game long. A flawless Hook and Lateral play that will live forever in Bronco lore got the job done, and the Broncos eventually won in overtime 43-42. Petersen also became the first Boise State coach to earn national coach of the year honors winning the 2006 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year award. The award was only one of a number of honors Petersen received. He was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award and was the Region 4 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association. The Fiesta Bowl win capped the second undefeated season in school history, with the last being the 1958 junior college national championship season. Boise State finished fifth in the Associated Press Poll and sixth in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Coach Petersen presided over a Bronco program that produced two All-Americans. Running back Ian Johnson was named first-team All-America by SI.com and CBS SportsLine.com, second-team by The Sporting News and third-team All-America by the Associated Press. Offensive tackle Ryan Clady was a SI.com second team choice. Johnson became the first Bronco to finish in the top ten in balloting for the annual Heisman Trophy Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate football player. Ian finished eighth in the voting. He was also a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, given each year to the country's top running back, and was one of 10 Players to Watch for the 2006 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. Clady, Johnson, wide receiver Legedu Naanee, tight end Derek Schouman, linebacker Korey Hall, defensive lineman Andrew Browning and placekicker Anthony Montgomery were all selected to the All-WAC first team. Hall was also chosen as WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Offensive lineman Jeff Cavender, quarterback Jared Zabransky, linebacker Colt Brooks, safety Marty Tadman and punter Kyle Stringer were all tabbed to the All-WAC second team. The Broncos also won two ESPY Awards for their Fiesta Bowl victory. Fans voted the contest as Best Game of the Year and selected "Statue Left" as it has become known, for Best Play of the Year. Statue Left was the winning play in the game that saw Zabransky fake a pass to the right side and then hand the ball to Johnson, who went in untouched for the two-point conversion.
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