"Decade of Dominance" is a theme that Boise State uses to describe the last ten years of Bronco football. The climb to the next level began in 1999, Boise State's fourth year of Division I-A football. That season, the Broncos compiled a 10-3 record, 5-1 in the Big West Conference, and capped it off with not only their first major college bowl appearance, but a 34-31 win over Louisville in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.
The 1999 team will be honored tonight during the Homecoming game with UC-Davis, Coach Chris Petersen's alma mater. One year earlier, Boise State had enjoyed its first winning season in major college, a 6-5 campaign that included a come-from-behind Washington State win over Boise State. Idaho native Dirk Koetter took the Broncos to new heights in 1999 in only his second season as head man.
It is only appropriate then that we honor that team as well by taking a look back at the 1999 season. It was certainly one of the building blocks for the unprecedented success that Boise State is achieving this year.
September 5--UCLA 38, Boise State 7
Junior Drew Bennett and freshman Cory Paus shared time replacing pro-bound Cade McNown as #15 UCLA ran away from Boise State 38-7 in the season opener for both teams.
Bennett completed 8-of-16 passes for 120 yards including a 65-yard scoring play to Randy Hakes just over six minutes into the second half. Paus was 12-18 for 128 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
McNown was the 12th player selected in April's National Football League draft by the Chicago Bears.
The two-time defending Pac-10 Conference champions amassed 248 of their 401 total yards through the air. DeShaun Foster rushed for 55 yards on 17 carries and gave UCLA a 10-0 lead with a four-yard scoring jaunt with 11:21 left in the first half. Cornerback Julius Williams' 53-yard interception return made it 17-0 less than three minutes later.
Jermaine Lewis had 45 yards on 10 carries, including a five-yard TD dash with 1:31 left in the third quarter to make it 38-0.
Bart Hendricks completed 17-of-35 passes for 118 yards but threw three interceptions for Boise State. Backup Bryan Harsin came on to go 3-of-5 for 86 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass to Shaelan McDonough with two minutes remaining to spoil the shutout.
The Broncos were playing with heavy hearts after suffering a tragic loss in the final scrimmage of fall practice. Freshman defensive tackle Paul Reyna died from a head injury suffered in that scrimmage.
"Being at the funeral all day (Friday) took the edge off our game and took the focus out of our practice," Boise State coach Dick Koetter said.
Boise State, interestingly enough, had more first downs than UCLA (21 to 19), more rushing yards (35 carries for 156 yards compared to 41 rushes for 153 yards for the Bruins) and nearly as many passing yards (204 to 248). Boise State also held an advantage in punting, with a 39.0-yard average compared to four punts for a 33.0 average for UCLA. The return yardage (95 for UCLA to 65 for the Broncos) was comparable, as were fumbles lost (one each) and sacks (two for UCLA to one for Boise State). Clearly, the interceptions and some key penalties made the difference.
Davey Malaythong (18 carries for 103 yards) led the ground game for Boise State. Gavin Reed picked up 25 yards on five carries and freshman Brock Forsey (3-17) also saw action. Billy Wingfield hauled in seven receptions for 59 yards, leading ten Broncos who caught at least one pass.
Boise State safety Quintin Mikell recorded a game-high 16 tackles, including two for losses.
"We proved that we could play, but we can't turn the ball over and be effective," Koetter added. "I think we showed UCLA that we were physical enough to be here. We should have run the football more. I didn't think we could do as well as we did. That was my fault."
September 11--Boise State 35, Southern Utah 27
25,060 fans watched Boise State hold on for a win after grabbing a 28-14 halftime lead. Quarterback Bart Hendricks tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another and freshman Brock Forsey ran for two touchdowns to pace the Boise State offense.
Hendricks turned in a 13-for-23 passing performance for 205 yards in the victory.
Southern Utah scored first on a short run by quarterback Matt Cannon but Boise State quickly tied the score on a nice drive capped by a four-yard pass from Hendricks to Dave Stachelski.
Cannon led another drive that culminated in another one-yard keeper for a score to put the Thunderbirds up 14-7.
Forsey bolted over from a yard out with the first of his two touchdowns to tie the score and Jeb Putzier broke free in the end zone for the score that put Boise State ahead for good in a 28-point second-quarter outburst. Also included in the decisive quarter was another of Forsey's runs as well as a one-yard sneak by Hendricks.
Forsey was Boise State's leading rusher with 43 tough yards on 18 carries while Reed picked up 36 on six carries. Tight end Dave Stachelski was Hendricks' favorite target with six receptions for 108 yards. Billy Wingfield grabbed three passes for 48 yards.
Cannon finished with 31 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns and hit nine-of-14 passes for another 109 yards for the Thunderbirds. Cannon went on to achieve All-American status in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and ironically will be honored on the same day as the 1999 Boise State team when his number is retired today at Southern Utah.
Cannon started from 1997-2000, setting 10 school records and four NCAA FCS records. When he graduated in 2000, Cannon held national records for career rushing touchdowns (69), career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,852), rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (1,602) and career points scored (420). He was fourth all-time with 5,489 career rushing yards. Cannon still holds the NCAA FCS record for career rushing yards and career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and is one of only five players in FCS history to gain over 3,000 yards rushing and 3,000 yards passing in a career.
September 19--Hawai'i 34, Boise State 19
Hawai'i mounted a furious second-half comeback in Honolulu to send the Broncos home disappointed.
The Rainbow Warriors jumped on Boise State early as Quincy Lejay picked off Hendricks for a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Broncos' first possession. Boise State drew even later in the quarter on a 14-yard pass from Hendricks to Mike Davisson and extended their lead to 19-7 at halftime on a two-yard Gavin Reed run and a 39-yard scoring strike from Hendricks to Malaythong. Both conversions (a PAT and a two-point try) failed.
Hawai'i came roaring back with 27 unanswered points in the second half. Avion Weaver capped off a drive midway through the third quarter with a four-yard run. Quarterback Dan Robinson bulled over from a yard out and although the two-point conversion attempt failed, Hawai'i had moved out in front 20-19.
The home team then scored consecutive touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Neither team could get anything going on the ground, as Boise State managed 83 yards on 48 carries and Hawai'i just 74 on 30 tries. Reed led the way with 66 yards on 21 carries for the Broncos. Hendricks was 19-32 for 217 yards but Hawai'i harassed him all night long, bringing him to the turf five times with sacks. Putzier grabbed six Hendricks passes for 68 yards while Stachelski had four receptions for 28 yards.
Robinson completed 20-39 passes for 261 yards to lead Hawai'i to the win. Craig Stuzmann had nine catches for 77 yards to lead the Rainbow Warrior receivers.
September 26--Boise State 20, New Mexico 9
A sputtering Bronco offense finally took charge in the third quarter. The Lobos had a 9-3 lead at halftime after the defensive struggle in the first half. Hendricks got things rolling and finished 21-of-31 passing for 269 yards.
Eric Jaworsky hit Brian Urlacher in the end zone for a 7-0 Lobo lead. The Broncos capitalized on a drive with a 32-yard Nick Calaycay field goal to make it 7-3, but a New Mexico safety in the second quarter was the only scoring for either team prior to halftime.
Calaycay booted a 22-yarder on Boise State's first possession of the second half and exactly three minutes later, Hendricks put the Broncos ahead 13-9 when he found tight end Stachelski for a three-yard scoring play. Greg Sasser made good on his only carry of the game with a 39-yard jaunt with 4:23 left in the quarter for the final margin.
Hendricks wound up the day as Boise State's leading rusher with 13 carries for 41 yards. Malaythong ran for 38 on 11 carries. Jeb Putzier caught five of Hendricks' aerials for 111 yards, Lou Fanucchi had four catches for 60 yards and Stachelski finished with four receptions for 32.
The Bronco defense held New Mexico to 57 yards rushing on 41 attempts.
20,806 fans in Bronco Stadium were thrilled with the win.
October 3--Boise State 26, Utah 20
Boise State scored its third win over the Utes against two losses when they were a Division I-AA team as Calaycay connected on four-of-five field goal attempts.
The freshman was successful on kicks of 45, 37, 23 and 25 yards. Hendricks finished 17-of-28 for 215 yards for the Broncos, who handed Utah their first loss of the season. Hendricks reached the 200-yard passing plateau for the fourth time of the season and the 11th in his career.
Hendricks scampered in from 11 yards out to give Boise State a 7-0 lead and fired his only touchdown pass of the game 2 ½ minutes later with an 80-yard bomb to Stachelski.
Utah, which never led in the game, got on the board in the second quarter on a 52-yard pass from Darnell Arceneaux to Cliff Russell. A 26-yard interception return by Andre Dyson gave the Utes hope but the PAT failed and Boise State still led 14-13.
Calaycay, who had taken over placekicking duties the week before, then went to work, nailing four consecutive field goals to put the Broncos up 26-13. Utah scored a late touchdown on T.D. Croshaw's pass to Bob Bendinger.
Malaythong had tremendous success against Utah with 94 yards rushing on 27 carries. Mike Anderson led Utah with 66 yards on the ground.
21,817 fans witnessed the Bronco win over Utah of the newly-formed Mountain West Conference. Boise State made it two-for-two in wins over Mountain West teams, following up the previous week's win over New Mexico.
October 9--Boise State 41, Eastern Washington 7
Boise State showed it had improved significantly from its Big Sky Conference days with a 41-7 pounding of Eastern Washington. 21,981 fans witnessed the game in Bronco Stadium between former Big Sky rivals.
Aristotle Thompson gained 94 yards on just 16 carries to lead the Broncos, while the Boise State defense held the Eagles to just 44 yards on the ground. Forsey enjoyed his best game to date with 91 yards on 18 carries while Malaythong got in on the act as well with 11 carries for 57 yards.
Although he saw limited action, Hendricks sizzles with 10-of-12 passing for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Bryan Harsin completed 3-of-9 passes for 45 yards and reserve B.J. Rhode also saw playing time, completing 1-of-3 for 10 yards.
Jeb Putzier led nine Bronco receivers with two catches for 51 yards while Thompson had two receptions for 43 yards and fullback Shay Swan two catches for 30.
Jesse Chapman had 11 carries for 66 yards to lead Eastern Washington.
October 16--North Texas 17, Boise State 10
The Broncos were stopped cold by the Mean Green on this day in Texas. Boise State was caught off guard by the North Texas running attack, which gained 241 yards on the day.
North Texas kept control of the clock with their ground game, moving the chain several times on third-and-short situations.
A game Bart Hendricks tried to make the difference through the air, going 21-41 for 266 yards, but Boise State could not mount sustained drives. The game "featured" eight punts by Jeff Edwards (43.9 average) and 10 by North Texas.
Hendricks was also Boise State's leading rusher with 45 yards on 10 carries, while Malaythong had 40 yards on eight tries.
Stachelski (6-82) and Putzier (4-86) led the Bronco receivers with Brian O'Neal getting three receptions for 41 yards and Wingfield grabbing three for 31.
Ja'Quay Wilburn was the star of the game with 108 yards rushing and the game's first touchdown on just 17 carries while Michael Hickmon gained 94 yards on 20 carries.
Rather than dwell on the heartbreak in Denton that day, Boise State learned a lesson and turned it into something positive.
The Broncos would not lose the rest of the year.
October 23--Boise State 52, Nevada 17
Hendricks passed for two touchdowns and ran for to more as Boise State put away its longtime rival from Reno.
Nevada received the ball first, but after a three-and-out, Gavin Reed blocked a punt and returned it 15 yards for an early Bronco score. Trevor Insley hauled in a 31-yard pass from David Neill on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 7.
That was as close as it got.
Boise State scored on its next three possessions, as Hendricks took it in himself from five yards out, Mike Phillips hit a 38-yard field goal, and Hendricks spurted in for another five-yard score. The Broncos were quickly up 24-7 in the first quarter.
Koetter's team extended their lead to 31-17 at the half on a one-yard plunge by Malaythong and a 32-yard Calaycay field goal. Boise State came out of the locker room and scored 1:22 into the second half on a beautiful 68-yard scoring pass from Hendricks to Mike Davisson. Malaythong added a short run and Forsey took in a 12-yard pass from Hendricks to compete the Bronco scoring.
Hendricks accounted for 241 yards passing (13-24) and 62 rushing for the Broncos. Nine receivers had at least one catch for Boise State. Forsey totaled 52 yards on 11 carries. Jay Swillie led Boise State with three catches for 44 yards. The Bronco defense throttled the Wolf Pack all day with seven sacks.
Despite the score, Neill had a great game for Nevada, throwing for 296 yards on 21-of-35 passing. Insley too was brilliant with nine catches for 145 yards. Chet Lemon picked up 64 yards on the ground for the Wolf Pack.
Attendance at Boise State was 21,730.
October 30--Boise State 33, Utah State 27
Gavin Reed rambled for 199 yards on 14 carries and scored the winning touchdown on a 77-yard sprint as Boise State secured the seesaw road win at Logan.
The Broncos assumed command in the first half with a 16-7 lead, scoring on a 44-yard Calaycay field goal, a two-yard Malaythong run, and after a 17-yard Jeff Crosbie to Adrion Pierson Aggie score, got two more field goals from Calaycay.
Then disaster struck.
Just 27 seconds into the second half, Boise State fumbled in the end zone, and Utah State's Vaea Fiefia pounced on the loose ball to quickly make it 16-14. The Aggies capitalized on their newfound momentum on the next possession when Demario Brown broke free for a five-yard score from Crosbie. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Boise State answered that score with a nice scoring drive of their own as Hendricks hit O'Neal with a 28-yard scoring strike to regain the lead 23-20. Brown plunged over from a yard out to punctuate a four-minute, 17-second drive for Utah State and the Aggies were back on top 27-23.
That's the way the score stood until with 7:54 remaining, Reed bolted free with his heroic run to put the Broncos ahead for good 30-27. Calaycay added a 33-yard field goal on the next possession for insurance.
Boise State amassed 487 yards of total offense and picked up 26 first downs to 15 for Utah State.
But Brown continually picked up big chunks of yards for Utah State, and finished with 239 yards on 33 carries to put the team on his back. He nearly led them to victory.
Malaythong aided the ground game for Boise State with 53 yards on 15 carries. Fanucchi finished as the Broncos' top receiver with five catches for 46 yards. Swillie had four catches for 64 yards and Davisson had three big catches for 74.
Quarterback Bart Hendricks was 22-of-41 for 292 yards to lead Boise State to the come from behind win.
November 6--Boise State 63, Arkansas State 10
Hendricks led Boise State to its third straight win with 15-of-23 passing for 205 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 114 yards and a 35-yard score. Gavin Reed scored three touchdowns on the ground as well for Boise State. The surging Bronco defense held Arkansas State to 34 yards rushing on 32 attempts.
O'Neal snatched an 8-yard pass from Hendricks to give Boise State its first score halfway into the second quarter. Reed scored from five yards out on the next possession and Boise State was up 14-0.
After an Arkansas State field goal, Boise State erupted for three second-quarter touchdowns, beginning with Hendricks' 35-yard dash into the end zone and two identical two-yard runs from Reed.
Boise State methodically moved down the field on the opening possession of the second half with Stachelski the recipient of a one-yard pass from Hendricks for a 42-3 Bronco lead. Hendricks hit Fanucchi with a 27-yard strike on the next possession and he enjoyed the rest of the game from the sideline.
B.J. Rhode had his best success of the season, connecting with Forsey on a 62-yard pass play following Arkansas State's only touchdown of the game, and then capped the scoring with a 23-yard scamper into the end zone.
In addition to a total shutdown of the Indian ground game, Boise State held their opponent to 130 passing yards on 9-of-30 (164 of total offense). Arkansas State gained just 12 first downs.
Reed gained 43 yards on 10 carries while Forsey had 35 yards on nine tries and Thompson gained 27 yards on eight carries. Rhode finished 3-of-5 for 124 yards and the touchdown.
November 13--Boise State 45, New Mexico State 26
Bart Hendricks threw three touchdown passes and ran for a pair of scores to lead Boise State to its 10th Big West Conference win on Senior Day in Bronco Stadium. Hendricks completed 19-of-33 passes for 302 yards with scoring passes of 18, 26 and 23 yards.
The 6-0, 200-pound junior also scored on TD runs of nine and 28 yards, the second of which capped the scoring and sealed the Broncos' fourth straight win and seventh in eight games. Gavin Reed toted the ball 18 times for 75 yards. Lou Fanucchi (5-100), Jeb Putzier (5-74) and Jay Swillie (4-74) gave Hendricks plenty of options through the air.
Swillie's 18-yard touchdown reception opened the scoring and Hendricks' first touchdown propelled the Broncos to a 14-0 lead. New Mexico State countered with a field goal and a K.C. Enzminger run to cut the lead to 14-10.
Calaycay answered that score with a 39-yard boot through the uprights and Fanucchi found himself open for a 26-yard reception from Hendricks. Boise State went into the locker room up 24-10.
The Aggies weren't done though.
Enzminger scored again from four yards out and a 52-yard field goal from Nick Cecava brought them to within four again at 24-20.
But 23 graduating seniors were not to be denied their day. Hendricks found Davisson from 23 yards out and Reed plunged over from one yard as Boise State distanced themselves once again 38-20. Hendricks scored his second touchdown to send the Bronco faithful home happy.
Reed had 75 yards on 18 carries to lead the Bronco ground game. Fanucchi finished with his first 100-yard receiving game (5-100), Putzier had five catches for 74 yards and Swillie added four for 74.
November 20—Boise State 45, Idaho 14
Boise State captured its first Big West Conference Championship and seventh overall conference title with a resounding road win in Pullman, Washington.
The Bronco defense led the way with four interceptions and five sacks off Vandal quarterback John Welsh and held the Moscow school to 68 yards rushing. Davey Malaythong led Bronco rushers with 78 yards on 21 carries. Bart Hendricks was 15-of-28 for 256 yards and three touchdowns including a 68-yarder to running back Gavin Reed. Jay Swillie was dependable once again with seven catches for 71 yards.
Nate Colbert scored the game's first touchdown on a 28-yard pass from Hendricks. After Hendricks' 15-yard run and his 68-yard scoring play to Reed, the Broncos were up 21-0.
Boise State held a 24-7 halftime lead and, following an Idaho touchdown, cemented the win as Kareem Williams stepped in front of a Welsh pass and returned it 44 yards for six.
The 1999 Broncos were conference champions.
December 30—Boise State 34, Louisville 31
One month later, the Broncos found themselves in their first major college bowl game and their first appearance on ESPN2 against powerful Louisville in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise.
Freshman running back Brock Forsey picked a great time to emerge onto the scene with a postseason record 269 yards of all-purpose offense. Forsey picked up 152 yards on the ground on 23 carries. Bart Hendricks was 20-of-39 for 335 yards and a touchdown; he also scored on a keeper in the first quarter.
Shaunard Harts set another mark with his 80-yard interception return for a touchdown of Louisville quarterback Chris Redman. Redman, one of the nation's most highly-regarded quarterbacks, was intercepted three times and sacked twice by the tough Bronco defense. Boise State also held Louisville to 89 yards rushing on 32 carries.
Louisville of Conference USA grabbed the early lead on a 40-yard field goal by Jo Hilbert but Hendricks led the Broncos back, taking it in himself for a three-yard touchdown. Redman connected with Arnold Jackson (1,207 yards receiving in1999) for a 54-yard strike and the Cardinals were up 10-7.
That play was one of several big plays on the afternoon.
Boise State drove down the field on the next possession with Shay Swan carrying it over from four yards out. But Zek Parker returned Nick Calaycay's kickoff 91 yards for the touchdown and Louisville had a 17-14 lead at the end of the wild first quarter.
Boise State went up 21-17 on safety Shaunard Hart's 80-yard interception return before the Cardinals took a 24-21 lead on Redman's eight-yard TD pass to Damien Dorsey with 3:39 to play in the first half.
The scoring slowed in the third period as Nick Calaycay kicked field goals of 26 and 46 yards to give the Broncos a 27-24 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Boise State took a 34-31 lead on Davy Malaythong's five-yard run 5:32 into the final period. Frank Moreau, who rushed for 111 yards on 24 carries, scored on a three-yard scamper to give Louisville a 31-27 lead just over two minutes earlier.
Following Malaythong's score, Redman marched Louisville into Boise State territory but the drive was set back by a fumbled snap and the Cardinals had to punt on 4th-and-13 from the Broncos 37 with seven minutes remaining.
Boise State picked up three first downs and chewed more than five minutes off the clock before punter Jeff Edwards pinned the Cardinals at the 1 with 1:51 left.
Louisville's hopes ended when linebacker Kareem Williams picked off Redman at midfield with just under a minute remaining. The Broncos took just one snap to run out the clock.
Boise State set a Humanitarian Bowl record with 533 yards of total offense. The two teams combined for 936 yards in one of the year's top bowl matchups.
Redman finished 26-of-37 for 314 yards and two touchdowns. Redman, the Unitas Award winner as the nation's top senior quarterback, threw for 3,647 yards and 29 touchdowns in the regular season. He completed his career with 12,541 yards passing and 84 touchdowns.
But it was the Broncos who celebrated, not only that afternoon but for a 1999 season that was their breakout season, their first year in a Decade of Dominance.
And they're still celebrating.