'Calculated Risk' Leads to ISU's Downfall

Boise State head coach Dan Hawkins is only in his second season as head coach of the Broncos, but a gambling, attacking style has already earned him attention as one of the hottest young coaches on the rise nationally.

Known for extensive blitzing on defense and punt blocking, the Broncos are also apt to throw in a trick play or two during a game. In the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl on Tuesday, BSU's ‘Anaconda' victimized the Iowa State Cyclones.

"Our biggest problem was figuring out what to call that play," said Hawkins of the trickery in the fourth quarter that led to a Bronco touchdown on the next play and commanding 27-10 lead over the Cyclones.

Boise State had the ball on the ISU 28-yard line with a fresh set of downs. Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie took the shotgun snap and faked a fumble. He actually handed the ball from behind to wide receiver Tim Gilligan, who had his hands behind his rear end. As Dinwiddie and the entire Bronco team went to the right, Gilligan ran left for 19 yards before being tackled by ISU cornerback Johnny Smith.

"If (Gilligan) would have hung in there and been a little more patient, I think he'd run it in untouched," Hawkins said.

As it was, the play set the Broncos up with first-and-goal at the ISU nine-yard line and tailback Brock Forsey ran the next play in for the BSU touchdown. With only 5:20 left in the game, the score pretty much sealed the Cyclones' fate.

"It was a play coach (Kent) Riddle ran at Army," Hawkins said of his running backs coach. "In the wee hours of the morning you're looking for some diversions. He said to me, ‘You've got to see this (play on tape).'

"We had a fake in for punting, but we couldn't get it in the right spot. I didn't think we were going to get (both fakes) in the same game, so we went with this one—a little bit of razzle dazzle."

The Broncos are the top offensive team in Division I-A and absolutely dominated the opposition en route to the WAC Championship and 12-1 record, including their Humanitarian Bowl victory over ISU Tuesday.

Cyclone fans might take note that their 18-point loss to the Broncos was the second-lowest margin of the 12 wins. Only Arkansas bested Boise State and the average margin of victory in their WAC-championship run was 37.2 points.

Make no mistake, Hawkins takes no prisoners. This was evidenced on BSU's final drive of the game when Dinwiddie threw a touchdown pass to Lou Fanucchi with only 27 ticks left on the clock.

Some might say it was ‘running up the score' but Hawkins said taking a knee in that situation isn't the way the Broncos play football.

"We're going to attack, we're going to keep going," he said. "We're going to go full throttle."

It's no wonder that the Orange and Blue clad Bronco fans are so taken with the excitement surrounding their team and its dynamic young coach.

"You have to be a calculated risk-taker in life or you're not going to go anywhere," Hawkins said in summing up his philosophy. "We can line up with two backs and two tight ends and run off tackle all day long. That's pretty safe. Sometimes you've got to get out of your comfort zone, take some risks and grow, learn and expand."

‘The Anaconda' was a classic example of the type of play that typifies the Hawkins-led Broncos. On Tuesday, it certainly helped in adding ISU to their growing list of the victims.

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