Boise State football added another chapter to its storied history in 2010. Armed with the highest preseason ranking in program history, 21 starters returned from an undefeated 2009 season and 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl title with their sights set on greatness.
A third-consecutive Western Athletic Conference Championship capped a magical season in which the 2010 Broncos achieved a level of success reached by few of their predecessors, collectively and individually. Boise State boasted a conference-leading 11 first-team all-WAC honorees to match its 11 wins. Leading the way was redshirt junior quarterback Kellen Moore who picked up co-Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Moore finished the regular season ranked second in the country in passing efficiency, throwing 33 touchdowns and just five interceptions. The Prosser, Wash., native was also named 2009 WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Moore was a finalist for a host of national awards, including the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Maxwell Award. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, the highest place by a Bronco.
While earning all of the attention and accolades, Moore ascended to the top of the Boise State record books in nearly every career passing statistic. By the end of the regular season he held the No. 1 spot in career passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions and 200-yard passing games.
Moore's prolific passing numbers have been aided by a host of quality receivers, including arguably the top two in school history. Seniors Austin Pettis and Titus Young etched their names in Boise State history throughout the season as well. Pettis spent the regular season extending his school record for receiving touchdowns, while also reaching the top of the all-time list in receptions. Young flew past defenses for his second-consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season, to make him the career leader in receiving yards.
Moore, Pettis and Young were all repeat All-WAC First Team selections, as well as junior left tackle Nate Potter. Redshirt junior center Thomas Byrd also earned a nod to the first team. Redshirt junior running back Doug Martin muscled his way to more than 1,000 yards on the ground during the regular season, becoming the 16th Bronco rusher to reach the milestone. Martin also garnered a spot on the All-WAC First Team.
The Boise State defense was once again led by Ryan Winterswyk at defensive end. Winterswyk, a redshirt senior, was named first-team All-WAC for the third-consecutive season. Also named to the conference's top team from the Boise State defensive line was junior defensive end Shea McClellin. The Broncos' dominant defensive backfield was well-represented on the all-conference team, safeties George Iloka (junior), Jeron Johnson (redshirt senior) and Winston Venable (senior), all garnered their first All-WAC First Team honors.
Junior linebacker Byron Hout, redshirt senior cornerback Brandyn Thompson and redshirt junior defensive end Billy Winn earned second-team All-WAC consideration.
The individual honors were bestowed on a group that led the Broncos to an 11-1 regular season record and claimed Boise State's eighth WAC title in the last nine seasons.
The Broncos wasted no time setting the stage for a season of unparalleled excitement with a highly-touted matchup against No. 10 Virginia Tech, Sept. 6, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The marquee game of college football's opening weekend did not disappoint.
The Broncos recovered a fumble 15 seconds into the game, and redshirt senior kicker Kyle Brotzman gave Boise State its first points of the season on a 44-yard field goal. When the Hokies' next drive stalled, Pettis blocked the ensuing punt to give the Broncos great field position. Boise State converted for a touchdown two plays later-a 12-yard pass from Moore to Pettis.
Another first-quarter touchdown gave the Broncos a 17-0 lead, but Virginia Tech did not go away. The next Boise State score, another Brotzman field goal, was sandwiched by a pair of Hokie touchdowns. By halftime the lead was trimmed to six, 20-14.
Neither side budged in the first half until Virginia Tech forced a fumble deep in the Broncos' territory. Seven plays later Ryan Williams had his third touchdown of the day and Virginia Tech led 21-20.
With the Hokies holding their first lead of the game and momentum on their side, the defense looked to force Boise State three-and-out and take control. On a crucial third-and-one, Boise State senior running back D.J. Harper scampered for a 71-yard score and the Broncos were back on top, 26-21 after a failed PAT.
The back-and-forth affair continued when Virginia Tech capitalized on a running into the kicker penalty. The infraction