Bowl Countdown: 2007 Hawai'i Bowl
Dec. 15, 2015
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State's matchup against Northern Illinois at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 23 will mark the program's 14th-straight bowl appearance. In the lead up to the contest, BroncoSports.com will look back at the Broncos' 13 bowl games since the start of this streak in 2002.
Today BroncoSports.com looks back at the 2007 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, in which the Broncos faced East Carolina. Boise State scored 24-straight points in the second half to knot things up at 38-38, capped by Marty Tadman's 47-yard fumble return for a score with 1:25 to play, but East Carolina marched downfield over the final minute-plus and stole the 41-38 win on a Ben Hartman 34-yard field goal as time expired.
The Broncos entered the contest at 10-2 and ranked 24th in the AP Poll, and had had its run of WAC championships snapped at five as Hawai'i took the crown.
(recap below courtesy of the AP)
In the Hawai'i Bowl, the Broncos had trouble containing ECU's Chris Johnson, who set an NCAA bowl record with 408 all-purpose yards. Johnson rushed for 223 yards, caught three passes for 32 yards and returned six kickoffs for 153 yards. But he committed a costly fumble late that almost sent it to overtime.
With East Carolina trying to run out the clock near midfield, Tadman scooped up Johnson’s fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 38 with 1:25 left.
The Pirates took possession at their 39 with 1:16 left and drove to the Broncos 17 to set up Hartman’s winning kick.
The Broncos almost repeated their last-minute magic from a year ago when they stunned Oklahoma in overtime in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0.
The Pirates appeared to have the game in hand when they took a 38-14 lead early in the third quarter on Brandon Simmons’ 3-yard TD run. The Broncos, however, hung in and reeled off 24 straight points. D.J. Harper’s 1-yard TD plunge cut East Carolina’s lead to 38-31 with 7:09 left.
Boise State was driving to tie the game in the final minutes when East Carolina recovered a Bronco fumble which set up the Pirates at their 39 with 1:45 left.
But East Carolina’s Johnson couldn’t hang on to the ball as he struggled to add a few more yards to his record, and Tadman returned the fumble for a touchdown.
The usually explosive Broncos looked rusty and unprepared in the first half. They went three-and-out on their first four possessions, followed by an interception, touchdown and fumble.
Boise State managed just 3 yards of offense in the first quarter while East Carolina racked up 181 behind Johnson’s 106 rushing yards.
The Broncos’ lone highlight in the first quarter was Austin Smith’s 89-yard kickoff return for a TD. In the second quarter, Ryan Putnam caught a 3-yard pass from Tharp to cut East Carolina’s lead to 10.
Freshman running back Jeremy Avery was named Boise State’s most valuable player in the game, gaining 69 yards on 10 carries, catching four passes for 43 yards and one touchdown and returning two kickoffs for 41 yards.
Another Bronco freshman, Austin Pettis, was Boise State’s top receiver with nine catches for 89 yards.
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