Games rarely go scripted but this one did and Boise State did all the right things when they mattered the most. Make no mistake Arizona is loaded with talent and they showed their experience and faith in themselves by coming back and fighting hard they will be a team to be dealt with in the Pac 12 for some time to come.
On this night however the magical come back was denied the Wild Cats and if you were paying attention you would only have one conclusion to come to Coach knew how this game would play out and he steeled away his defense for that 4th quarter stand. Arizona ran 106 plays from the line of scrimmage 106 !!! and most of those were in the second half. By comparison Boise State only ran 69 plays.
Yet when we got to that final drive it was clear it was Arizona’s offense that was gassed and not Boise States Defense. If you were paying attention you would have seen that Turner didn’t even get into the game until second half and Elliot Hoyte not until the 4th playing nearly all the final downs in Arizona’s final drive. Yates was saving his defense and it appears his strategy was to keep his foot on the gas pedal playing mainly starters in the first half holding his second and his 3rd shift if I can be allowed a hockey reference for the second half. When Elliot entered that final drive he had an immediate impact driving Arizona’s Center straight back into the QB, it looked near effortless, the result QB sack now he didn’t get credit for that sack because as he got around the Center the Center quickly grabbed and held him from behind however other fresh legs in Rondell Mc Nair and Ben Wallace was there as well to finish the Job.
Jay Ajayi’s and the offense fast start allow Coach Yates the luxury of having a second half strategy. Ajayi’s first touch of the game resulted in what look like his easiest 56 yard TD run of his career he would follow that up with 2 more touchdowns . One being a perfecting run Statue of Liberty play that got Scooby Wright not flat footed but got him moving in the completely wrong direction. On this play Scooby relying on his instinct’s would result in more than just a Boise State TD but his hard pursuit back to the ball cause a domino effect of forcing a SS Bondurant to come in contact with Tevis at the same moment Jay Ajayi came into contact with Tevis the results was devastating dislocation of Tevis elbow as both players hit Tevis’s at nearly the same moment from opposite direction. Bondurant from what I can see pulled his groin on the play. Add in with 52 seconds to go in the half Tanner Vallejo ear holed Nick Wilson Arizona’s best and most productive back who in just one half racked up 86 yards on 19 carries and a TD. Tanners blow knocked Wilson out of the game removing one of Rich Rods biggest threats to Boise State. How big was the loss? Well Terris Jones-Grisby could only muster 39 yards on 14 carries the rest of the game.
This game nearly went the way I thought it would the start by both the offense and defense was what I expected as was The Wild Cats response. The lack of offensive production in the second half was un expected but I did know one thing if the game went the way it did go in the end the Defense would hold and in fact they did more then hold they score the decisive touch down when Donte Deayon intercepted Solomon’s pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown with 1:57 to go in the 3rd. It’s not that Boise States offense went completely in the whole in the second half but the fact that 2 costly turnovers and bad penalties killed drives.
The unsung heroes of this game however belong to both So. Punter Sean Wale and Sr. Place Kicker Dan Goodale. Time and again Wales bailed Boise State out with his best punting performance by far. His punts reset the field to give Boise States defense the ground they needed to force Arizona to go long distance which mostly in the second half would result in field goals. Goodale’s kicking was just as good on kick off’s and his near end of the first half field goal gave a desperate Boise State offense a lift going in for the half.
This certainly wasn’t the best Boise State football team to win a Vegas Bowl let alone a Fiesta bowl but I wouldn’t trade this 2014 team with anyone they brought heart, determination a winners attitude and a new chapter to Bronco Football they embodied the Attack the Future mantra of this new era of Boise State Football. This young band of brothers laid the foundation for the future of Boise State football like all the others that had come before them and deserve their spot at the table with those past Great Boise State teams.
#ATF #BLEEDBLUE #BRONCONATION