Photo by Joe Jaszewski/Statesman
The kids are alright. Boise State played exactly how they needed to and the Bronco coaching staff put together a brilliant game plan to beat the Ducks and send monkeys flying off the collective backs of this young, but talented squad.
Autzen was plenty loud at times on Saturday (just ask my ruptured eardrums), but at other times was as quiet as a funeral when Boise State reeled off 24 unanswered points to put the Ducks on the ropes. Oregon was able to mount a furious comeback in the 4th quarter due to some deft passing by frosh Darren Thomas, a fumble by the Broncos and some painful 15-yard penalties...but it was all too little and much too late as the boys in blue (white) notched the first true BCS road win for the program and the first non-BCS win at Autzen in 14 years. Needless to say, we couldn't have been happier as we loaded the shuttles back to the Thurston High parking lot.
The crappiness of the Oregon fans was greatly exaggerated as we found them by and large to be very gracious and complimentary of the Bronco program. Most Duck fans were bummed at the outcome, but shook hands with us as we left Autzen and praised the scrappy Broncos and the unflappable Kellen Moore.
Only upon returning home did I see some unfortunate comments and allegations of dirty play by the Broncos. Unfortunately, I think that OSN's own commentators fed these claims that the Broncos were playing dirty regarding the Ellis Powers and Jeron Johnson hits. Ok...I was at the game and saw these plays from a very good vantage point and their subsequent replays on DuckVision (or whatever it's called). Ellis Powers was rightly flagged for roughing the passer as he laid a good smack on Masoli after he had released the ball, but this hit was not as egregious as some revisionist Duck homers are making it. The ball had scarcely been released and Powers was barreling full steam unabated toward Masoli and he popped him...it wasn't after the whistle or even close to the 3 seconds that some time-perception-challenged Duck fans contend. Roughing the passer...he got flagged...get over it. The Jeron Johnson hit may have been even less of an infraction than Powers', but I think he was on the receiving end of some payback by the refs. Remember, in the 4th quarter, Darren Thomas had come in and orchestrated some quick passing TDs and Ed Dickson was making the Bronco secondary pay, grabbing some big gainers over the middle...he went for a high pass over the middle (he eyed the ball the whole way and was leaping for the ball) and Jeron Johnson did like any Safety would've and played the receiver, not the ball. Dickson got crushed by Johnson, but Johnson was called (and ejected) for "targeting a defenseless player"—Is any tightend running at mid-field with his eye on the ball in a "defensive" position? Of course he was defenseless, he wasn't looking at the defender, but rather, the ball...the defender (Johnson) was looking at the player and gave him a shot. Fine with the flag...not with the ejection. Neither player had malicious intent, but both may be guilty of an error in judgement. End of story.
Kellen Moore looked stone cold. The Autzen noise levels are not exaggerated...it is ridiculously loud at times, but I didn't see one false start by the Broncos. Very impressive. Moore bounced back immediately from a tip-ball interception and engineered a great drive...he finished the day 24-36 and threw for almost 400 yards on a Duck secondary that was supposed to be one of the best in the nation. Kellen Moore is something very special...we are all starting to see that now. I am going to predict right now that Kellen Moore will win the Offensive Player of the Year award in the WAC. Heck, while I'm at it, I will predict that Jeron Johnson, not Solomon Elimimian, will win Defensive Player of the Year honors too. This team may just be scary good...and much sooner than a lot of people think.
Here are the players that I was extremely impressed with on Saturday:
Kellen Moore—duh...he was Walter Camp NPOTW good
Billy Winn—reminds me an awful lot of Alex Guerrero...and he's just a frosh
Mike T. Williams—played like a beast all game long
Jeremy Childs—the only way to describe some of his catches would be "miraculous"
Austin Pettis—can't think of a better guy to field an onside kick
Vinny Perretta—forget the long TD...he literally risked his neck to get a critical first down...we don't blame you for not holding on Vinny...hope you're feeling better
Kyle Wilson—we've known it for a while...kid's a baller
Brandyn Thompson—amazingly athletic interception
Jeron Johnson—we know your not a dirty player, JJ...but lordy, can that kid hit
O-line—run blocking be damned...keep pass blocking like you have been and Kellen Moore can pick apart any defense
On a final note...I didn't think that Saturday could've gotten much better. I was wrong.
Photo by Joe Jaszewski/Statesman