Boise State

Last night’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with Boise State vs. OU was a forehead bopping surprise, mouth open wide unbelief game. I’ve followed the Sooners since von Schamann’s “the kick” in 1977. Even got to watch the 2000 undefeated Sooners play FSU when we were in Uganda, via satellite.

But I don’t want to talk about the Sooners this morning. I saw a Boise State Broncos team that executed plays so well that it was a pleasure to watch them. The former junior college with the blue field and no respect came to win and did it with style and class. They played excellent defense and were able to move the ball on Oklahoma with running game and passing game. Ian Johnson, a sophomore, was an inspiration leader and a mature running back who ran patiently behind his blockers, then he proposed to his head cheerleader girlfriend after the game on national television. Standout quarterback Jared Zabransky said, “I’m sure it probably wouldn’t have been as romantic if we would have lost.”

The Broncos kept the lead through the first half and as expected by most people, the Sooners more than just made it a game but tied it. With a minute and a half to go the Broncos had one last chance to re-take the lead they’d held all game. But Zabransky immediately threw an interception and the Sooners ran in for a score. The air went out of the Broncos, now down by 7 with a minute left . . . Zabransky said his coaches and fellow players said they believed in him and the offense and they went back on the field and moved down the field then scored on a play that we used to call “the OU special,” a pass then pitch play that was beautifully executed.

The game went into overtime and OU immediately scored. Then Boise State, back against the wall again (not that OU’s wasn’t at times, but remember I want to write about Boise State!), came to fourth down and scored on a play that had Zabransky in motion left and a backup quarterback throwing right into the end zone.

Then came the amazing and gutsy play that shows the difference between champions and “also played” teams: everybody went right and Zabransky faked a pass right then handed the ball behind his back to Ian Johnson who sprinted left and scored and was never touch and had no blockers in front of him. The play was ingenius and the line blocked well to pull it off.

I recorded the game so my kids could see it, and they’re watching it now. I think I’ll go watch it again. Jacob will be from here on “doing the Zabransky” handoff behind his back after he sees this. I know he will . . . because I’ll be teaching it to him.

ESPN: Johnson pops the question after wild Fiesta Bowl win