This Day In Sports: The best 16 hours ever on the Blue

September 25, 2010: In terms of before sunrise to after sunset, the biggest sports day in Boise State history (state of Idaho history, for that matter). ESPN College GameDay originated from the blue turf for the first time, drawing 13,250 fans at dawn. It was incredible to see the line to enter Bronco Stadium snake down Broadway, onto University Drive and all the way down to the Student Union Building before 6 a.m. The placement of the GameDay set on the Blue worked out great, with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Lee Corso and Erin Andrews clearly enjoying the scene. Picabo Street’s selection as celebrity picker was a surprise, but the Olympic gold medalist came prepared and did a fine job.

Then a record crowd of 34,137 turned out for the main event that night, a clash between the third-ranked Broncos and 24th-ranked Oregon State. And it was loud. The Oregonian’s Paul Buker, for one, was taken aback. He wrote that it sounded like 60,000 in there. And that guy had been around. It was Boise State’s first regular season game ever broadcast on network television, and the Broncos gave the ABC prime time audience a 37-24 win over the Beavers.

Only special teams gaffes and penalties kept the margin of victory from being larger—Boise State outgained Oregon State 469 yards to 237. There was a 54-yard OSU punt return for a touchdown, a 40-yard kickoff return that set up another touchdown, and a Titus Young fumbled punt that led to the third Beavers TD. But the Broncos defense made up for it. Pressure on the quarterback was the key to everything back then for the gifted Boise State defense. The Broncos, among the nation’s leaders in sacks, recorded four more against Oregon State. And they held Beavers star Jacquizz Rodgers to just 46 yards on 18 carries, the worst rushing game of his stellar Oregon State career.

The Boise State offense was led by an efficient 288 yards passing from Kellen Moore and 138 rushing on 19 carries from Doug Martin. It was a career high at that point for Martin, who only once had carried 20 times in a game. His 55-yard run in the third quarter was a long version of an amazing tackle-breaking effort versus Nevada the previous November that I called the best 16-yard run I’ve ever seen. Then there was the performance in the Broncos’ final possession against Oregon State, a seven-minute drive that saw him account for 61 of 67 yards. Martin had cemented his status as a marquee name alongside Moore.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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