As 2008 fades into 2009, so to does the Bronco Football Program.  It serves as a great time to reflect on the accomplishment of this past year, and look ahead to the promise of the next season.


A team that lost a great deal of experience, including its starting quarterback and two NFL draft picks, was expected to be a contender for the WAC title, but not seriously pushing for a spot in the BCS or coming within two points of another Perfect Season.  But, Boise State’s supposed “rebuilding” year, turned into yet another “loaded” year, punishing its WAC brethren (again), putting up the program’s third unbeaten regular season in the past five years and climbing into the BCS top 10.  Accomplishments to be coveted by any college football program. 


Still, there remains the sting of a one point loss to 11th-ranked TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.  A narrow defeat that will fuel this Bronco team during early morning winter conditioning, a month of spring drills and the heat of summer workouts.  So close to a perfect 13-0 record, yet still so much to savor from a 12-1 and what will certainly be a fifth Top 20 finish since 2002.  Consider what has been done at Boise State in that seven year period from 2002-2008:  an 80-11 record (77-7 in the regular season), seven straight bowl games, six 10-win seasons (four with 12 or more wins), six WAC championships, five undefeated conference seasons, a 54-2 WAC record, seven consecutive years ranked in the top 25, five seasons ranked in the final top 20 poll and a staggering 45-1 Bronco Stadium home record.


Head coach Chris Petersen and his staff molded together a Bronco team that featured senior starters Ian Johnson, Andrew Woodruff, Vinny Perretta, Mike T. Williams, Kyle Gingg and Ellis Powers with the youthful talent of Jeremy Avery, Austin Pettis, Billy Winn, Jeron Johnson, George Iloka and Kellen Moore.  What resulted was an undefeated regular season, joining the 2004 and 2006 Broncos to match the same feat.  Along the way, Boise State never trailed in the second half of any regular season game, put together the nation’s third best defensive unit and ranked among the top 15 offensively in scoring.


Here are ten of the best moments of the 2008 season, not in ranking order but in order of taking place.

  1. August 30th Kellen Moore takes his spot in Bronco history as the first freshman quarterback to start a season opener.  Moore would throw for 274 yards and two touchdowns in his debut, a 49-7 victory over Idaho State.  He would go on to be named WAC Freshman of the Year, leading the league in pass efficiency, throwing for 25 touchdowns and setting a single season school record for completion percentage.
  2. September 20th Boise State scores 24 unanswered first half points against Oregon, shocking a sold out Autzen Stadium crowd.  The Broncos hold on for a 37-32 watershed victory over on Oregon team that would firmly entrench itself in the top 20, the school’s first win on the road over a Pac-10 team.  Boise State would move into the top 20 for the first time following the signature win.
  3. October 17th The Broncos motto of “Take Back The WAC” had extra meaning against a Hawaii team that in 2007 snapped Boise State’s string of five straight conference titles.  Leading just 10-7 at half, Boise State outscored the Warriors 17-0 in the second half for a 27-7 victory, avenging Boise State’s lone conference loss of the 2007 season.
  4. October 24th Ian Johnson scores two rushing touchdowns in Boise State’s 33-16 win at San Jose State, his first trip back to San Jose since suffering a collapsed lung in the 2006 Bronco win over the Spartans.  The victory also puts Boise State firmly in the WAC championship driver’s seat for.
  5. November 15th Boise State puts together another impressive second half, outscoring Idaho 28-0 en route to a 45-10 victory.  It marked the Broncos 10th straight win over the most intense and bitter of rivals.
  6. November 22nd The Broncos wrap up the outright WAC title with a 41-34 win at Nevada, the team’s sixth WAC Championship in seven years.  It also marked Boise State’s ninth straight win over the Wolf Pack.
  7. November 28th Ian Johnson’s 1 yard touchdown run with six minutes left in Boise State’s 61-10 win over Fresno State brought one of the loudest ovations in Bronco Stadium history, as Johnson tied Marshall Faulk’s WAC record of 57 rushing touchdowns.
  8. November 28th Boise State wrapped up a perfect 12-0 regular season with one of the most dominant second halves of football ever seen.  Holding a 13-10 halftime lead over Fresno State, the Broncos scored 48 second half points for a 61-10 win.  It brought about a wild scene at games end, as thousands of Bronco fans poured onto the Blue Turf of Bronco Stadium, celebrating the Perfect regular season and joining Bronco players in parading the WAC Championship trophy around the field.
  9. December 7th Boise State learns its bowl fate, accepting an invite to play 11th ranked TCU in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, California on December 23rd.  It marked the Broncos seventh straight bowl game and ninth bowl invite in 10 years.  The Poinsettia Bowl joins a growing list of Boise State bowl destinations, which now includes six different bowl destinations (Poinsettia, Hawaii, Fiesta, Liberty, Fort Worth and Humanitarian/MPC Computers).
  10. December 23rd A premier bowl showdown between two top 12 teams ends in a heart wrenching one point loss by the Broncos.  But, the game lives up to its hype with Boise State and TCU playing one of the best bowl games of the year.  Ian Johnson etches his name into the WAC record book with his 58th rushing touchdown to surpass Marshall Faulk for the league’s all-time mark.  Bronco Nation responds as well, with many estimates placing the Boise State traveling crowd at 10,000 fans for the Poinsettia Bowl, nearly a third of the bowl attendance.


In wrapping up a look at the 2008 season, would like to address all the talk relating to Boise State’s schedule en route to a 12-0 undefeated regular season.  Comparatively, the non-conference portion on many levels was even better than TCU, Utah, BYU or even Fresno State.  The Broncos featured three FBS non-conference opponents, with the trio of Oregon, Southern Miss and Bowling Green producing a 21-15 record and all becoming bowl eligible (Oregon and Southern Miss advanced to bowl games).  From there, Boise State simply dominated the conference portion of their schedule (winning by an average margin of 31 points per game), which the only thing they control there is playing the games. 


TCU’s three FBS non-conference opponents went 18-19, with only Oklahoma advancing to a bowl game.  Utah’s three FBS non-conference opponents went 14-22, with only Oregon State advancing to a bowl game.  BYU’s three FBS non-conference opponents went 7-29, with none of the three advancing to a bowl game.  Fresno State’s 2008 non-conference schedule featured four FBS opponents, with the group going 21-27 and Wisconsin and Rutgers going to a bowl game.  Boise State and Fresno State each had six opponents (counting WAC bowl teams) on their schedule go to bowl games, while TCU and Utah had five and BYU had four.  Of the Broncos 12 opponents, eight were bowl eligible compared to Fresno State’s six, TCU and Utah’s five and BYU’s four.


Over the next few months, the 2008 season will fade as the 2009 team takes shape.  It will be remembered for another conference championship, the senior season and record setting running of the most popular football player in Bronco history, and a memorable unbeaten regular season where fans and player joined in a Blue Turf celebration like never before. 


Now, the 2009 Bronco team will look to carry that torch of success onward, and perhaps even make their own history in the process.  Click here for a quick preview of the 2009 Boise State football team. 


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