The prolific Boise State offense is well known. Last night before a nationwide television audience, it was the Bronco defense that grabbed attention, shutting down the high-powered #14 Oregon offense for most of the night in a 19-8 win in Bronco Stadium.
After all of the summer
hype, the first college football game is in the books for BoiseState.Although Bronco players were amazingly silent during the offseason about
the Oregon game, it is evident that
they were certainly ready to play.
a tenacious defense, BoiseState stunned #14 Oregon before a Bronco Stadium
record crowd of 34,127 last night in the season opener for both teams.It was BoiseState's 50th
consecutive regular season home victory, becoming just the eighth team in
college football history to accomplish that feat.Only Princeton (75 in a row from
1887-1900), Miami (58 consecutive from
1985-1994), Alabama (also 58 from 1963-1982), Carlisle (52 from 1901-1915), Pennsylvania (52 in a row from
1889-1896) and Michigan (1901-1907) and Yale (1886-1895) with 50 in a row are in the
company of the Broncos.
Oregon finished 2008 second in
the nation with over 280 yards per game, behind only Navy and just ahead of Nevada of the Western Athletic
Conference.The Ducks destroyed Top
10 Oklahoma State of the Big 12 Conference in the Holiday Bowl with their potent
Most of the ingredients
from that powerful attack were back this year but the Bronco defensive line was
ready for them.Ryan Winterswyk,
Chase Baker, Billy Winn and company were stout and stingy at the line,
disrupting the Ducks all night.Winn
had four tackles, a tackle for loss and a safety that put BoiseState up 10-0 in the second
quarter.Winterswyk had three
tackles, .5 for loss, .5 sacks and a fumble recovery.Baker had three stops, 1.5 for loss and .5 sacks.
Those may not seem like
big numbers, but they speak volumes.Because
of those stops, Oregon had eight yards of total
offense in the first quarter and six in the second and went without a first down
the entire first half.
Meanwhile, the Bronco
offense was controlling the game, marching into Duck territory several times but
coming up empty.They drove to the Oregon one-yard line but after
two losses and a missed field goal, were not rewarded for their efforts.BoiseState put together another drive
on their next possession but again a field goal attempt went wide.Finally with left in the half,
sophomore quarterback Moore hit a diving Austin Pettis in the corner of the end
zone from 10 yards out and the Broncos were on the board.BoiseState lined up in their spread
formation and Michael Choate ran in from three yards out past the surprised
Ducks for an 8-0 lead.
Following a change of
possessions, Bronco punter Kyle Brotzman nailed a 57-yarder that darted out of
bounds on the Oregon 4.On the next play, Winn shot through with a quick burst of speed and
tackled Duck star running back LeGarrette Blount for the safety.The Broncos then capitalized after the Oregon kick with a drive that culminated in a 45-yard field goal
from Brotzman and Chris Petersen's team went into the locker room with a 13-0
lead.A glance at the first half
statistics told the story:Oregon time of possession, Boise State 24:10.
"It is frustrating
when you don't get a first down," Oregon head coach Chip Kelly
said.It's frustrating.A lot of it they're a good football team."
D.J. Harper (The Texas
Tornado) was the most dangerous weapon of the night for the Bronco offense.Harper did not get his first carry until 11 minutes left in the first
half, but increasingly became a factor, gaining 88 yards on 19 carries (4.6
average).Harper ignited the Broncos
on the opening drive of the second half with a blazing 33-yard run down the east
sideline to the Duck 15 and the Broncos scored an important insurance touchdown
on Harper's one-yard carry to make it 19-0.
Oregon began to fare better with in the third quarter
following a Bronco punt.Duck
quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was 2-8 for nine yards in the opening half, hit
tight end Ed Dickson for 15 to earn the team their first first down on the
contest and later found Jamere Holland, Jeff Maehl for 14 yards and another
first down and then scampered in from five yards out to close the margin to
19-6.Duck star running back
LeGarrette Blount dashed in on a two-point attempt to make it 19-8.
But that was pretty much
it.BoiseState was content to run out the
clock, largely abandoning the throwing of Moore and focusing on the ground
game instead.This strategy resulted
in breaking the 29-year old school record for running plays.The Bronco performance in the 1980 Division I-AA National Championship
win over Eastern Kentucky is legendary, but it will now have to rank second in
the books as Boise State ran it 57 times last night.Oregon defenders tugged at the
football on every carry and managed to recover three Bronco fumbles, two in the
fourth quarter, which gave them opportunities to catch BoiseState.
But the Bronco defense,
aided by a loud crowd that topped 120 decibels, thwarted every challenge and
kept Oregon scoreless the remainder of the game.
Moore completed 19 of 29 passes
for 197 yards and a short touchdown, guiding the Broncos with poise and
precision.Moore was not rattled by the Oregon pass rush, which was
largely contained by the BoiseState offensive line.While Moore was unable to complete
deep passes, he did damage with short strikes to tight ends Tommy Gallarda and
Kyle Efaw and to wide receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young.
Bronco running back
Jeremy Avery finished with 27 carries for 74 yards after a slow start and Pettis
had six receptions for 68 yards.
BoiseState finished the game with 361
yards of total offense to 152 for Oregon, compiling 22 first downs
to six for the Ducks.The Bronco
defense held Blount, who had 1,000 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns and a 7.6
yards-per-carry average last season, to a negative five yards on eight carries.
Although Oregon's offense was much more
effective in the second half, BoiseState still amassed 42:32 on
offense to for the Ducks.Usually
this statistic is meaningless, but in this case it attests to the great play of
the Bronco defense.
"We didn't produce on the offensive side of the ball," Kelly remarked.
Promising freshman LaMichael James led
on the ground with two carries for 22 yards while Maehl led the Duck receivers
with five catches for 45 yards.Safety
T.J. Ward led the
defense with 11 tackles while linebacker Casey Matthews had 10 stops, Walter Thurmond III, Eddie Pleasant and Javes Lewis had nine each.Kenny Rowe also played an excellent game for the Ducks, getting six
tackles, two of them for loss, and two sacks.
now must face Miami of Ohio, who will be entering Bronco Stadium to prove
themselves next Saturday.
will return home for an important slate that includes Purdue, #19