For the first time since September of 2007, Boise State takes the field one week after losing a game. That loss to Washington was the first of three that season. Nevada handed Boise State only their second loss in the three years since, last Friday night in Reno. Now the Broncos have to ready themselves for a game against an inferior Utah State team with their BCS hopes already gone.
A Senior Day matchup that looked like it could, and possibly should, have been a celebration of the Broncos first trip to the Rose Bowl has now become Boise State’s final regular season WAC game with little other than pride on the line.
The Broncos may come out a little bit flat, as most teams would after a deflating loss such as the one they endured at Nevada last week. This is not a program maker or breaker today. Instead, this is going to be a legacy game for the 18 outgoing seniors. Clinch a share of the WAC title and move on to their bowl game on a high note or struggle to find intensity and motivation while going through the motions.
Nobody would be surprised to see the Broncos come out swinging though either. This is a proud program with an extremely intelligent coach and outstanding athletes. The guess is that one bad half against a solid Nevada team isn’t going to define them. The Broncos would like to set the tone by firing on all cylinders out of the gate.
An uncharacteristically poor performance by both the offensive and defensive units last Friday put the Broncos in a tough situation as they allowed Nevada to gain confidence throughout the second half. Giving Utah State that same confidence that they could hang with a disappointed team that is just going through the motions is not what this program has been about.
Hopefully an equally devastated fan base will rise to the occasion on a cold, snowy day to send this outstanding group of seniors out on a positive note. If the crowd can get into this game, the players will respond. If the hangover from last week remains, it could be a long afternoon at Bronco Stadium.
Though Utah State has virtually no chance of winning this game, they have to sense a wounded team and want to pounce. The Broncos can win this game without effort but that would be unlikely to happen under Chris Petersen’s watch. Their lofty goals may have gone unmet but they still have pride on the line. And sometimes a team’s best performance comes when they simply play their hearts out for the love of the game.