College Football
Greatest college football game ever? Bob Stoops, Chris Petersen revisit 2007 Fiesta Bowl
College Football

Greatest college football game ever? Bob Stoops, Chris Petersen revisit 2007 Fiesta Bowl

Updated Nov. 6, 2021 3:54 p.m. ET

The 2007 Fiesta Bowl was one of the greatest games in college football history, the kind of game that if you were watching at the time, you'd never forget it. 

Imagine what it would've been like to coach in it.

Now, you don't have to. FOX Sports College Football Analysts Bob Stoops and Chris Petersen were the coaches in that game, and they sat down to relive all the drama, including its epic finish.


Setting the stage

The contest featured the mighty Oklahoma Sooners, who entered the game as Big 12 champs, sporting an 11-1 record and No. 8 ranking in the AP poll. On the other side were the Boise State Broncos, champions of the WAC and ranked No. 9, one spot below Oklahoma despite sporting a perfect 11-0 record.

The Sooners had Adrian Peterson, the dominant running back whom the Minnesota Vikings would make the No. 7 overall draft pick in the NFL Draft later that spring. The Broncos had a running back named Ian Johnson, who rushed for more than 1,700 yards that season but would become most known for the mark he made on this game.

The Sooners were favored by 7.5 points.

"Ahead of the game, we knew, we said 'oh, these guys are really good," Stoops said.

"Did you really think that?" Petersen asked.

"Oh, absolutely," Stoops replied.

Broncos' burst

"I knew that if we were going to have any chance, start fast and get some turnovers," Petersen said.

And that's exactly what happened. Boise State led 14-0 midway through the first quarter, 21-10 at the half and 28-10 early in the third. The Broncos were sparked by two long touchdown passes from Jared Zabranksy to Drisan James, as well as a 27-yard pick-six by Marty Tadman off Paul Thompson.

Boise State's Marty Tadman scores on an interception return against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Sooners storm back

Oklahoma wasn't finished, however, scoring 18 straight points to tie it up at 28-28 with 1:12 left. Zabranksy then threw a pick-six of his own, giving Oklahoma a 35-28 lead and appearing to ice the game.

Sooners cornerback Marcus Walker celebrates his touchdown off an interception in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, which gave the Sooners a 35-28 lead with 1:02 remaining.

But it was far from over.

What a finish!

Facing a fourth-and-18 and with only 18 seconds left, the Broncos pulled off a hook-and-lateral play — Zabransky hit James 15 yards downfield, and James immediately pitched it to Jerard Rabb, who sprinted another 35 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

In overtime, Peterson gave the Sooners a 42-35 lead on a 25-yard TD run.

The Broncos battled right back, though, scoring on another trick play, this time a pass from receiver Vinny Perretta to tight end Derek Schouman on fourth-and-2.

"We were close, we had good coverage," Stoops said. "[Perretta] just threw the ball like a quarterback."

That's when Petersen decided to go for the win, opting for a two-point conversion instead of kicking it for one. And Petersen had one last trick up his sleeve, a "Statue of Liberty" play.

Zabransky faked a pass out into the right flat before handing the ball behind his back to Johnson, who outran the defense to the end zone, and the game-winning score.

Petersen said the play was risky because of how close Zabransky and Johnson had to be to make the handoff.

"Their feet almost hit," he said. "They did click in practice, and we had tried to tell them, ‘make sure you get clearance.’ I think they even ticked."

Boise State's Ian Johnson scoring the winning 2-point conversion during the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma on Jan. 1, 2007.

The former coaches shared a laugh after the video.

"We'll never talk about this again," Petersen said.

"If we're going to keep our friendship, that's right," Stoops replied.

Watch the video above for commentary from the coaches in one of the greatest college football games ever played.


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