Boise State’s revenge?
Broncos aim to keep emotions in check vs. Nevada, but motivation is clear
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 12:15 am
The fans want it, former players want it, but Boise State
refuses to accommodate — at least the Broncos won’t admit it.
After losing 34-31 in overtime last November in Reno, Boise State faces Nevada today, and the word “revenge” is on the tips of just about everyone’s tongue who won’t be on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium.
“I don’t want to call it revenge, it’s a different team, even if we beat this team this year, it won’t change what happened last year,” Boise State safety George Iloka said. “… It’ll feel good to beat them, but it feels good to beat any team.
“Maybe you could say ‘redeem’ ourselves, show we can play four quarters, but I wouldn’t call it revenge — I’ll call it just another game where we have something to prove.”
Former Boise State safety Gerald Alexander has used his Twitter account to start support for something called “Operation Score 100 Points On Nevada.” The Bronco players who took part in that fateful night 10 months ago are aware of the outside hopes of a blowout.
“The coaches keep our heads straight, and we understand that’s what the fans want,” linebacker Aaron Tevis said. “We’re used to that kind of stuff, so we just keep our heads down, do our best and try to win, no matter what the score may be.”
Boise State is well aware of what last year’s game did to alter its season, dashing hopes of a BCS game and putting the Broncos in a lower-tier bowl. It meant an end to a 24-game winning streak and a heartbreaking way to do it, after squandering a 24-7 halftime lead.
So, even if “revenge” doesn’t emerge from the mouth of a Bronco, it’s in the back of his mind.
“A little bit,” running back Doug Martin said. “We’ve just got to go out there, play hard for four quarters and finish this time.”
It is only human to look across the sideline and see the Wolf Pack standing there, and have the thoughts of that game stoke some sort of internal fire, yet Boise State coach Chris Petersen said he isn’t concerned about his team becoming too emotional.
“We’re more worried about ourselves … they kind of feed off the coaches, you coach them a certain way — play hard — I don’t expect these guys to play any harder against one team than another team,” Petersen said.
The Broncos know that before revenge or redemption can manifest itself, they have their own concerns — namely improving the running game and finishing games strong. The Broncos gave up 21 points in the final 19 minutes last week against Tulsa, and the memories of giving up scoring drives on Nevada’s last five possessions in Reno are fresh.
“We didn’t play like we should, and that’s one of the reasons why we lost, so we have to improve on that this year,” offensive tackle Nate Potter said.
After his team won, Nevada coach Chris Ault said it was “the greatest victory this university has ever had.” Wolf Pack fever reached intense levels, as the Wolf Pack sold more than 15,000 tickets for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Ault also has hired more staff to aid recruiting, though he is quick to focus on the now.
“That’s all last year’s news,” Ault said. “… We’re nowhere near the team we were last year at this particular time.”
Gone from the Wolf Pack are record-setting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, running back Vai Taua, tight end Virgil Green and defensive end Dontay Moch, all now in the NFL. Though the Broncos have suffered some losses, Kellen Moore is still throwing passes and Martin is still punishing defenses attempting to stop him.
Moore threw for 348 yards on 20-of-31 passing against the Wolf Pack last season, but he said the game, only his second loss, doesn’t often cross his mind.
“Not too much,” Moore said. “It’s a different season, Colin’s not their quarterback. It’s very different circumstances.”
Nevada will join Boise State in the Mountain West next season, but the team’s veterans were happy the schools agreed to play this nonconference game today, as Martin, a senior, recalls thinking “of course it’d be nice to play them again, due to the loss last season.”
Petersen stressed that his team isn’t hell-bent on revenge, but acknowledged that energy ebbs and flows, adding that “hopefully” his team’s energy is at a peak all game long after it was less than desired late last Saturday against Tulsa.
“It’s motivation just because we didn’t play well and we want to play better this year,” Potter said. “Obviously the loss was devastating, like every loss is. It’s a rivalry with Nevada, and all that together is motivation to really focus.”
Just what kind of revenge do we seek?
Is it like the above?
Or More like the below where the Master who brings along the student must in the end set the student straight on who the master is !
Personaly this is more what I’m looking for.
Five questions with … Shaun King, former NFL QB, Versus analyst
Q: What comes to mind when you watch Moore play?
A: “Precision. Composure. His consistency. If I could describe him in one word, just consistent. I don’t think the kid has ever had a bad game. He’s been playing since he was a redshirt freshman, and that’s very difficult to do. More so than the physical liabilities associated with being human, the mental side of it — getting yourself prepared mentally, understanding the game plan, being able to recognize and diagnose defenses for such a long period of time. Not allowing the success to interfere with your preparation. I can’t say enough about the kid. I’m hard on quarterbacks — and I love the kid. One of the things with me and Kellen, I’m able to appreciate his collegiate brilliance without letting the fact he might not be a top-tier NFL prospect interfere with that.”
Q: You’re 6-foot-1. How much of an issue is Moore’s size for the NFL?
A: “He’s going to have some limitations just because they’re searching for a bigger vessel, per se. But me and Kellen are very comparable in size.”
Q: What’s your take on the Broncos?
A: “They play with a level of execution that’s closer to a professional ball club than a college team. You don’t see as many of the boneheaded mistakes. And they always show up. … You’re coached by Chris Petersen and Kellen Moore is your quarterback. People just kind of feed off of those two and take on those characteristics and attributes.”
Q: What should fans expect from the Versus broadcast?
A: “A clean, crisp broadcast. We’re going to be honest. We’re going to do a good job of giving credit where credit is due.”
Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
A: “Just an opportunity to give my opinion, evaluate these young guys as they pursue their dreams and explain to the common fan what’s happening.”