Boise St.-Nevada is best game of year

CFN’s analysis of Nevada’s 34-31 overtime victory against Boise State.

By Pete Fiutak

There you go, America. You don’t have Boise State to kick around anymore.

Kyle Brotzman didn’t lose the BCS dream for the Broncos; that was gone once Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick took over.

After the game got tight, Boise State’s season was effectively over. The national title was out of the mix once Rishard Matthews ran for a 44-yard touchdown early in the fourth to pull the Wolf Pack within three. Passing TCU and getting a BCS bid was on life support with the Matthews seven-yard catch in the final seconds of regulation to tie it up. The missed kicks from the normally automatic Brotzman just made it official.

It was the best game of the 2010 college football season with several phenomenal plays; from the weaving Mathews touchdown dash; to Doug Martin putting Boise State ahead late on a 79-yard touchdown play as he motored through the Wolf Pack secondary; to the 14-play, 79-yard march by the Pack to tie it; to the miraculous 53-yard pass play to Titus Young to set up the ill-fated 26-yard Brotzman field-goal attempt that would’ve won the game. It was a heartstopping fourth quarter that might have destroyed Boise State’s season, but it was also a phenomenal exclamation point on Kaepernick’s great career.

Nevada’s season isn’t done, with Louisiana Tech to finish the WAC season and a good bowl game coming as the possible conference co-champion, but this is the win Kaepernick needed to validate all the stats and all the great accomplishments — most notably, combining with Vai Taua as the most productive rushing duo in college football history. 0-3 against Boise State going into this week, and 0-3 in bowls, and in ugly fashion, the pressure was intensified by the ongoing reminder that this was the biggest sporting event in the history of the football program, the school, and the city of Reno. And Kaepernick came through.

Nevada had never won in Kaepernick’s long career when he threw more than one pick, and he threw one early on. That would be his only mistake as he cranked out 259 yards and a touchdown and ran for 45 yards and a score, but for one of the only times in his career, the stats didn’t define his play. All that mattered were the 17 fourth-quarter points, and all that mattered was the strike he threw for a touchdown pass to help tie the game in the final seconds. But even in Kaepernick’s shining moment, Kellen Moore came up with the special finish.

Completing 20-of-31 passes for 348 yards with two touchdowns, and one miracle that should’ve been enough to win the game, Moore was once again fabulous despite being under pressure for most of the game from the aggressive Wolf Pack defensive front. His dream season is gone now, likely marking the end of an era with the program moving to the Mountain West next year. Boise State will still be good, but this was the chance at something truly special. One bad fourth quarter, two shanked kicks, and it’s all gone, while Nevada gets the win four years in the making.

TCU, you got your break. Now do something with it.

By Richard Cirminiello

Of all the ecstatic Wolf Pack players in Reno, none is happier on this night than Doyle Miller.

Miller is the corner who inexplicably allowed Boise State WR Titus Young to get behind him with just a few ticks left on the clock. He was destined to be a pariah, the face of yet another Nevada loss to the Broncos. Yet, the kid got a reprieve from Kyle Brotzman, who missed a chip-shot field-goal attempt that would have prevented this thriller from ever getting to overtime. Thanks to the suddenly erratic place-kicker, Miller no longer has to worry about being an infamous footnote in history since the Kellen Moore-to-Young hook-up wound up having absolutely no relevance on the final outcome.

The fallout from this shocker is somewhat elementary. Boise State is out of the BCS picture, and as a solid No. 3, TCU’s hopes of playing for a national championship have improved dramatically. A little less obvious, however, is what this means to the at-large berths. The Broncos, seemingly a sure thing for one of the four spots, are no longer in contention, meaning a huge opportunity for programs, such as Stanford, the winner of Saturday’s game between LSU and Arkansas, and possibly the next best thing in the Big 12. While shifts in the top five of the BCS rankings have been limited in recent weeks, vacating Boise State from the process is going to open up doors for at least one program that otherwise might have been left behind.