On the Cutting Edge of History

They didn't realize it at the time, but the 2000 Boise State football team set the stage for the success of the current Broncos. Long before national rankings, Fiesta Bowls and Sports Illustrated covers, the 2000 Bronco team was 10-2 with a Humanitarian Bowl win over UTEP.

Little did they know it at the time, but the 2000 Boise State football team was beginning what was to be called the Decade of Dominance. 

The 2000 Bronco team had come off of a fine season that culminated in many firsts.  It was the first conference title in major college football (in their fourth year of Division I football), their first bowl game and their first bowl win (a 34-31 win over Louisville of Conference USA in the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl).  Little did they know, also, of the rivalry that would develop with Louisville as both schools progressed.  The Broncos would face Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl.

Boise State had recently received news that they had been invited to the Western Athletic Conference, a definite step up for the program.  But just as they had to do prior to the 1995 season, the 2000 Broncos would have to focus on the season at hand.

The defending Big West Conference champions opened the season with a non-conference game against New Mexico of the newly-formed Mountain West Conference.  The Mountain West teams were all part of the 16-team Western Athletic Conference but decided to form their own conference.  Quarterback Bart Hendricks accounted for 266 yards of total offense and two touchdowns for Coach Dirk Koetter's Broncos.  Hendricks also ran for 98 yards on 19 carries, including a 34-yard scamper for 6 that opened the scoring.  He also tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Andre Banks in the second quarter and finished 17-34 for 168 yards.  Shaunard Harts scored on a 34-yard interception return as the Broncos opened a 24-0 lead and never looked back. 

The Broncos entertained Northern Iowa in the 2000 home opener the following week.  Brock Forsey accounted for 292 yards of all-purpose offense, breaking the all-time single-game record.  A Bronco Stadium crowd of 26,490 watched as Forsey gained 167 yards rushing on 15 carries.  The Broncos piled up 589 yards of total offense in scoring the non-conference win.  Quarterback Bart Hendricks was a solid 16-24 for 341 yards and three touchdowns, with Lou Fanucchi catching 5 of those for 174 yards and 2 scores.

Boise State ventured to Little Rock , Arkansas , for its first-ever meeting with a Southeastern Conference team.  Razorback coach Houston Nutt had coached one season in Boise (1997) and is widely credited with turning around the Bronco program after a disastrous 2-10 season in 1996.  Prior to the game, Nutt called Hendricks over to the sideline and said to Hendricks (whom he recruited) "Soon I'll be seeing you play on Sundays."  The conversation must have rattled Hendricks because he was not his typical highly-accurate self in the first quarter.  Hendricks threw high, low, and two passes directly to Arkansas defenders, one of which was returned 39 yards for the game's first touchdown by Eddie Jackson. 

Because of Hendricks' ineffectiveness, Arkansas shot out to a 24-0 lead and observers felt it must be a mismatch between a superior SEC team and a game Boise State team that was simply over their heads.  A combination of the Bronco defense stiffening and the offense beginning to come off of life support resulted in consecutive Nick Calaycay field goals of 26 and 33 yards that closed the half with the lead cut to 24-6. 

Boise State opened the third quarter with a nice drive that ended with fullback Shay Swan clutching a two-yard pass from Hendricks for a touchdown.  Hendricks and Fanucchi teamed up for a two-point conversion and it was 24-14.  An exchange of punts followed before Arkansas once again hit paydirt with 2:54 remaining in the quarter.  The Hogs were now up 31-14 and again it looked like they were going to overpower their opponent from the Big West.  Arkansas kicked off, and it was a booming boot that David Mikell caught at the 2-yard line.  Mikell spurted up behind the Bronco wall, hit the sideline, and was off for a 98-yard answer that made the score 31-21. 

After another Bronco defensive stand, the Broncos moved to the Arkansas 24 where Calaycay was true on his third field goal of the game.  Boise State had moved within 7 points at 31-24.  Arkansas knew they were in a game now but their offense once again could not move the ball and were forced to kick.  Hendricks led the Broncos down the field and when running back Brock Forsey sailed into the end zone with a 42-yard pass from Hendricks, the game was tied.

Arkansas came back though and when wide receiver Boo Williams slipped behind the Bronco secondary for a 54-yard touchdown from quarterback Robby Hampton, the Razorbacks pulled out in front again 38-31 with just minutes remaining.  Hendricks calmly led Boise State down the field.  On their first set of downs, Boise State had a fourth-and-eight on their 22.  Arkansas pressure came up the middle.  Hendricks scrambled to his right and with a Hog defender hitting him as he threw, hit wide receiver Andre Banks just past the 30 for a first down.  Hendricks then fired to Fanucchi twice on the sideline for 12 and 7-yard completions that gave the Broncos a first down at the Arkansas 49.

On the next play, Banks found a seam in the Hog secondary and Hendricks threw a strike to him over the middle.  Banks was hit by #24, slowing him down to where #6 could make the tackle.  On a play he very well could have scored on, Banks nonetheless had the Broncos in business with a first down at the Arkansas 9-yard line with 59 seconds remaining.  The Little Rock crowd was frantic, desperately urging their team to hold these upstarts from Boise .  Forsey carried for no gain on first down.  On second-and-goal, Hendricks backed up and was once again hit as he threw.  His pass fell into the turf in front of Banks at the 4, who could have waltzed into the end zone as no one was within 10 yards of him.  Bart's next pass was nearly picked off by a blitzing Razorback on an attempted screen.  It was fourth down.

This time, Hendricks received excellent protection and fired a shot to Jay Swillie on the left sideline.  Swillie caught it and tried to stretch the ball over the goal line.  Instead, he was pushed out of bounds at the one-foot line and Arkansas won 38-31. It was a game effort by the 2000 Bronco football team that fell just short.

Hendricks finished 23-of-48 for 304 yards and 2 scores.  Forsey led the ground attack with 21 carries for 73 yards.  Cedric Cobbs, the amazing tailback for Arkansas , had 31 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown.  Fanucchi was the top receiver with 6 catches for 61 yards while Jeb Putzier had 5 receptions for 61.

While disappointed that they did not get a win in Little Rock ; Boise State did not hang their heads.  Instead, they went into Central Michigan and dealt the Chippewas their worst home loss in history (47-10).    Boise State had 515 yards of total offense to just 268 for Central Michigan .  Forsey ran for 74 yards on 17 carries while Hendricks connected on 13 of 21 passes for 3 touchdowns.

The Broncos were in Pullman , Washington the following week for a date with Washington State .  A WSU crowd of 25,129 was on hand that featured thousands of Bronco fans.  Boise State took the opening kickoff and marched down the field with Forsey snaring a 21-yard pass from Hendricks for the 7-0 lead.  Cougar quarterback Jason Gesser snuck in to tie the score but the Broncos once again drove down the field to regain the upper hand.  Hendricks floated a short pass to tight end Robby Snelling for the TD. 

Washington State dominated the second quarter with 2 Anousith Wilaikul field goals and a 14-yard TD pass from Gesser to Collin Henderson.  WSU tried a two-point conversion on the latter score that failed.  Determined Boise State came back just 35 seconds later with a 46-yard field goal from Calaycay that narrowed the score to 19-17 with 2 seconds left in the half. 

The Cougars tried to pull away in the beginning of the third quarter as well with a two-yard run from Adam Hawkins and another Wilaikul field goal.    But after an exchange of punts, Hendricks drove the Broncos down the field, hitting Davey Malaythong with a 9-yard pass that brought the Broncos within 5 at 29-24.  Washington State extended the lead to 35-24 with another 10-yard TD pass from Gesser and once again the 2-point conversion was unsuccessful. 

Boise State showed it was every bit the equal of Washington State with two consecutive scoring drives.  Calaycay booted a field goal when a Bronco drive stalled at the WSU 10 and when Fanucchi looked in a 12-yard pass from Hendricks in the end zone, Boise State was down 35-33.  Coach Koetter went for the two-pointer and saw his Broncos convert as Hendricks threw to Swan to tie the game with 7:41 remaining. 

Washington State then consumed 6:04 on the clock with a devastating ball-control drive that resulted in the game-winning score.

The final statistics were as close as the game.  WSU had 22 first downs to 21 for Boise State ; the Broncos outgained the Cougars 139-131 on the ground and 335-290 through the air.  Hendricks finished 24-41 while Gesser was 21-31.  Forsey had 15 carries for 75 yards while Malaythong reeled off a 53-yard run to set up one score .  Putzier had 7 receptions for 135 yards and gave the Cougars fits with his rare combination of size and speed.  The difference in this one was time of possession, which heavily favored the home team 34:14 to 25:46.        

Boise State returned home and posted their 10th consecutive win in Bronco Stadium with a 41-23 win over their old Big Sky Conference rival Eastern Washington .  It was Boise State 's 25th win as a Division I-A school.  A Bronco Stadium crowd of 25,493 saw Hendricks hit 18 of 33 passes for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Swillie caught 5 passes for 104 yards, Putzier grabbed 4 for 66 and a touchdown and Fanucchi had 3 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.  Quintin Mikell's 126 yards on punt returns set a Bronco record.

The following week, Coach Koetter's team exploded for a 59-0 win over North Texas .  The two teams had risen from the Division I-AA ranks together and were now both in the Big West.  In 1994, Boise State had squeaked out a 24-20 win over the Mean Green in the opening round of the I-AA playoffs.  In 1999, the Broncos lost a frustrating 17-10 game in Texas .

 This time, it was no contest as Boise State recorded its 20th shutout win as a four-year school.  Mikell scored three touchdowns on the ground and Hendricks tossed three TD passes to lead the Bronco rout.  Cornerback Julius Brown also scored on a 47-yard interception return late in the game.  The Bronco defense held the Mean Green to just 42 yards passing and 162 yards of total offense.  Brown and his cohorts limited North Texas to 3-of-20 through the air.

 Meanwhile, Coach Koetter's offense was clicking to the tune of 583 yards.  Mikell finished the game with 22 carries for 122 yards.  Hendricks was 16-of-24 for 257 yards and reserve quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie came in and was a perfect 4-of-4.  Putzier finished with 5 catches for 79 yards while Swillie gathered 4 receptions for 82.  Both of the talented receivers had two touchdowns. 

Hendricks was a sizzling 23-of-36 passing for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead Boise State to a thrilling 34-31 win on the road at New Mexico State .  Boise State 's trio of great receivers did considerable damage to the Aggies.  Fanucchi caught 6 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, Putzier also hauled in 6 for 96 and Swillie had 5 catches for 109 and a TD.   Forsey led the Bronco ground game with 23 carries for 106 yards and also caught a 10-yard scoring strike from Hendricks. 

The Broncos scored another conference road victory with a 42-14 win at Arkansas State , as Forsey ran for 136 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a 49-yard pass from Hendricks.  Hendricks was 19-of-27 for 291 yards for the Broncos, also clicking on scoring strikes to Banks and Malaythong. 

Boise State 's next game resulted in a landmark 250th win for the Broncos as a four-year school.  Boise State downed Utah State 66-38.  Hendricks had another amazing performance for the Broncos, connecting on 21-of-29 passes for 391 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Forsey rumbled for 95 yards on the ground to lead Boise State .  The 2 teams combined for 1,336 yards of total offense in the wild game in Bronco Stadium.  Fanucchi was the top receiver with 6 receptions for 151 yards. 

Koetter's Broncos closed out the year with a 66-24 win over Idaho to clinch Boise State 's second straight Big West Conference title, eighth overall conference championship and sixth overall undefeated conference season.  Boise State ended its short run in the Big West Conference with a record of 16-10.  Hendricks led the onslaught with five touchdown passes.  Bart was 20-of-30 passing for 405 yards.  Swillie had 6 receptions for 75 yards, Robbie Snelling fooled the Vandal defense for 5 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown and deep threat Fanucchi chipped in with 4 catches for 88 yards and another score.  The Broncos also devastated Idaho with 6 sacks.   

For the second straight year, Boise State would be playing in the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl.  It was ironic that the opponent would be UTEP, a team from the very conference that Boise State would be joining the following year (the WAC).  It was a good test of how the Broncos would fare in their new league.  Boise State prevailed in a 38-23 win that was nationally televised on ESPN2 for Boise State 's second straight Division I bowl win and 14th straight win in Bronco Stadium. Hendricks' thrilling 77-yard run up the middle led the Broncos' 2nd-half surge.  He also scored another rushing touchdown, threw a TD to Swillie and even caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Banks late in the game.  Hendricks finished the game 17-of-29 passing for 247 yards.  All told, the two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year closed out his great Bronco career with 315 yards of total offense.

 

The lessons from 2000 are these:

1.      You can overcome all odds if you believe in yourself (and your teammates).

2.      While excited about an impending conference change, the first order of business is to focus only on the season at hand.

3.      A game with a high-caliber school like Arkansas is a great opportunity to be sure.  But a loss isn't the end of the world.  Despite a heartbreaking defeat, the team persevered and finished the year with just two losses.  In other words, don't put all the stakes on one game.  The 2005 Boise State team reeled from the Georgia loss; the 2000 Broncos was not phased by the loss to Arkansas and in fact got stronger as the season progressed.

 

 

2000-Boise State (Big West)

9/2

@

New Mexico (5-7)

W

31

14

 

 

9/9

vs.

Northern Iowa (non-IA)

W

42

17

 

 

9/16

vs.

Arkansas (6-6)

L

31

38

@ Little Rock , AR

 

9/23

@

Central Michigan (2-9)

W

47

10

 

 

10/7

@

Washington State (4-7)

L

35

42

 

 

10/14

vs.

Eastern Washington (non-IA)

W

41

23

 

 

10/21

vs.

*North Texas (3-8)

W

59

0

 

 

10/28

@

*New Mexico State (3-8)

W

34

31

 

 

11/4

@

*Arkansas State (1-10)

W

42

14

 

 

11/11

vs.

*Utah State (5-6)

W

66

38

 

 

11/18

vs.

*Idaho (5-6)

W

66

24

 

 

12/28

vs.

Texas-El Paso (8-4)

W

38

23

@ Boise , ID

Humanitarian Bowl

 

10-2-0

 

532

274

 

 

 

 

Boise State 's 2000 Football Roster

 

Center Scott Huff (#56)

Center—Mike Macleod (#66)

Center—Tom Anderson

Guard—Rob Vian (#78)

Guard—Tyrone Tutogi (#68)

Guard—Scott Buttice (#72)

Guard—Michael Ansel (#70)

Guard—Matt Navest (#58)

Guard—Nick Lemalu (#76)

Guard—Jeff Cheek (#67)

Guard—Derek Kishpaugh (#63)

Guard—Drew Kishpaugh (#64)

Tackle—Matt Hill (#77)

Tackle—Dane Oldham (#69)

Tackle—Jason Turner (#60)

Tackle—Rusty Colburn (#61)

Tackle—Peter Naumes (#68)

Tackle—Derek Olley (#71)

Tackle—Scott Arnold (#74)

Tackle—Phillip Sperry (#75)

Quarterback—Bart Hendricks (#17)

Quarterback—B.J. Rhode (#11)

Quarterback—Michael Sanford (#10)

Quarterback—Ryan Dinwiddie (#14)

Running Back—Davy Malaythong (#27)

Running Back—Aristotle Thompson (#23)

Running Back—Brock Forsey (#36)

Running Back—David Mikell (#30)

Running Back—Donny Heck (#24)

Running Back—David Word (#25)

Fullback—Matt Strohfus (#33)

Fullback—Shay Swan (#39)

Running Back—Greg Swenson (#38)

Fullback—Scott Koci (#37)

Tight End—Kevin Louwsma (#82)

Tight End--Rocky Atkinson (#86)

Tight End—Robby Snelling (#85)

Tight End--Trent Lundin (#81)

Tight End—Jeff Udvarhelyi (#81)

Tight End—Shaelan McDonough (#22)

Tight End—Antoine Williams (#88)

Wide Receiver—Andre Banks (#4)

Wide Receiver—Jeb Putzier (#80)

Wide Receiver—Billy Wingfield (# 8)

Wide Receiver—Jay Swillie (#1)

Wide Receiver—Lou Fanucchi (#84)

Wide Receiver—Jerry Smith (#83)

Wide Receiver—Tim Gilligan(#87)

Wide Receiver—Brian O'Neal (#5)

Wide Receiver DeAndre Harrington (#89)

 

 

Defensive Tackle--Tony Altieri (#51)

Defensive Tackle—Brad Phillips (#55)

Defensive Tackle—Paul Allen (#90)

Defensive Tackle—Dane Oldham (#69)

Defensive Tackle—Shawn Murray(#65)

Defensive Tackle—Justin Llorente (#73)

Defensive End—LaMarco Gardner (#99)

Defensive End—Jeff Copp (#94)

Defensive End--Bobby Hammer(#98)

Defensive End—Zach Weber (#97)

Defensive End—Sky Dumont (#59)

Defensive End—Marcus Purkiss (#93)

Defensive End—Mike Phillips (#54)

Defensive End—Nick Stranberg (#46)

Defensive End—Julius Roberts (#92)

Defensive End—Tim Hefty (#95)

Defensive End—Nick Singleton (#53)

Linebacker—Kareem Williams (#42)

Linebacker—Shawn Sandoval (37)

Linebacker—Andy Avalos (#40)

Linebacker—Kris Foster (#44)

Linebacker--Brad Chase (#50)

Linebacker—Justin Howell (#49)

Linebacker—Jared Aurich (#52)

Linebacker—LaGary Mitchell (#34)

Linebacker—Justin Brown (#47)

Linebacker—Tom Anderson (#62)

Linebacker—Maurice Sapp (#35)

Linebacker—Selwyn Thomas (#45)

Linebacker—Nick Stranberg (#46)

Cornerback—Dempsey Dees (#41)

Cornerback—D. Ross (#15)

Cornerback—Julius Brown (#6)

Cornerback—Gabe Franklin (#16)

Cornerback—Ryan Brinkley (#2)

Cornerback—Greg Toomes (#18)

Cornerback—Matt Trujillo (#91)

Cornerback—Randy Seiden (#31)

Safety—Aristotle Thompson (#23)

Safety—Quintin Mikell (#9)

Safety—Shaunard Harts (#3)

Safety—Greg Sasser (#43)

Safety—Wes Nurse (#21)

Safety—Travis Burgher (#13)

Safety—Deshan Cabaong (#28)

Safety—Ryan Brinkley (#2)

Safety Chris Mazowieski (#48)

Safety Josh Comte (#20)

Safety—Marvin Morris (#29)

 

Punter—Jeff Edwards (#32)

Placekicker—Nick Calaycay (#19)

Placekicker—Brett Thompson (#96)


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