Freshman Brock Forsey typifies Boise State. Given an opportunity to show his stuff, the seldom-used running back demonstrated that he could play. Just like the Broncos.
Forsey rushed for 152 yards and helped Boise State, in its fourth season since moving up from Division I-AA, to a 34-31 victory over Louisville yesterday in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
"I didn't expect to have this good of a game," Forsey said. "I knew I'd do a good job running the ball, but I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line. They opened a lot of holes for me."
Five years ago, the Big West champion Broncos (10-3) played in the I-AA Big Sky Conference. In their first I-A bowl game, they matched the Cardinals (7-5) of Conference USA push for push.
Boise State quarterback Bart Hendricks outplayed Louisville's Chris Redman, a top NFL prospect playing his last college game.
Hendricks, who didn't have an interception, was 20 of 39 for 335 yards and a touchdown. He also seemed to come up with big plays when the Broncos needed them most, scrambling for a first down or finding an open receiver.
Louisville's final chance was a slim one after Jeff Edwards pinned them inside the 1 with a 44-yard punt inside the last two minutes.
When Boise State's Kareem Williams intercepted Redman's pass with 46 seconds to play, the Humanitarian Bowl record crowd of 29,283 erupted in cheers while the Broncos, who went 8-0 at home this fall, jumped and danced on the sideline.
"We just had an awesome team meeting," said Koetter, who showed up 10 minutes late in the interview room. "Every one of our 23 seniors spoke to the team, and I cried about 15 times. I can honestly say that I never doubted for one second that we were going to win that game in the fourth quarter."
Redman said he was pleased with his college career but wanted to win his last game.
"You can't judge your career on one throw," Redman said. "There are other things in life bigger and better. This program will continue to grow."
Boise State took the lead for good when Davy Malaythong ran up the middle for a five-yard touchdown with 9 minutes 28 seconds to play.
Louisville went ahead 31-27 with 12:10 remaining when Frank Moreau capped a six-play, 60-yard drive on a three-yard scoring plunge. Redman was 4 of 4 on the drive and had another completion nullified by a penalty.
MISSISSIPPI ST. 17, CLEMSON 7: The No. 15 Bulldogs used their smothering defense and just enough offense to push past the Tigers in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
The Bulldogs (10-2) had only a 39-yard field goal by Scott Westerfield when quarterback Wayne Madkin bounced in for a two-yard touchdown run with 11:40 to go.
And the defense, which held Clemson to its lowest point total this season, made it hold up the rest of the way with five interceptions and a fumble. Mississippi State finished with 10 victories for the second time in school history.
Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden tried every gimmick he had to jump-start the Tigers (6-6). He shuffled quarterbacks Brandon Streeter and Woody Dantzler. He used crazy formations. Down 3-0, he passed up a tying field goal on fourth and seven from the Bulldogs 13.
Nothing seemed to work as Mississippi State stopped every challenge, including Streeter's fourth-down pass that was knocked away by defensive lineman John Hilliard.
The Tigers' only offensive bright spot was a 70-yard drive, ended on Streeter's one-yard touchdown run that cut the lead to 10-7 with 8:15 left.
But the Bulldogs offense, suddenly fluid, answered with a touchdown drive as Madkin hit Dontae Walker with a 15-yard pass four minutes later to put the game away. Madkin finished 17 of 38 for 176 yards.
Mississippi State's attack was mediocre by Southeastern Conference standards -- it needed last-second field goals to beat Kentucky and Mississippi last month. But its defense was the nation's best, allowing only 222 yards and 13 points a game.
That showed strongly against the Tigers, who came in averaging more than four touchdowns a game. Clemson did manage 391 yards, just off its season average of 403, but the yards meant precious little on the scoreboard.
Robert Bean blocked Clemson's 26-yard field goal try, his fifth block this season. Barrin Simpson and Conner Stephens had consecutive sacks to end a Clemson drive at Mississippi State's 29.