BOISE, Idaho -- It was supposed to be an exciting prime-time shootout that would get college football fans' blood pumping for the start of the season. It devolved into an ugly slopfest with an even uglier aftermath.
By the end of No. 14 Boise State's 19-8 win over No. 16 Oregon Thursday night (
Oregon was supposed to provide Boise its big BCS-conference litmus test. Instead, the Ducks waddled off the blue turf of Bronco Stadium looking a lot like all those overmatched WAC foes that fall flat here every year.
Oregon's star running back
Blount had told
"I was kind of not surprised," Boise safety
You know your team's had a rough night when it goes the entire first half without gaining a first down -- and that doesn't even wind up the night's biggest embarrassment.
"Obviously we're not very proud of (Blount's punch)," Oregon's
Blount attended a postgame news conference afterward and apologized to every party he could name, but it's safe to say he won't be returning to a playing field anytime soon -- just like it's safe to say both his and quarterback
"We've had Oregon circled on our map for a while," said Boise defensive tackle
Before Blount assured his infamy on every SportsCenter for the rest of the weekend, the undisputed story of Thursday's game was the utter dominance of Boise's defense. The same Oregon offense that averaged 485 yards a game last year managed just 152. Despite the Broncos' best efforts to let Oregon back in the game -- after going up 19-0 early in the third quarter, Boise lost three fumbles and botched a fake fake-field goal -- the Ducks could manage only a lone touchdown and two-point conversion.
In a highly representative play, the Ducks, down 19-8, drove to the Boise State 19-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but on fourth and 1, Blount --- he of the 7.3-yards per carry average last season --- was met head-on behind the line of scrimmage by two Broncos defenders.
"We all know that Oregon's got some explosive players," said Petersen. "To hold that offense to eight points --- that's nice. Your defense needs to rescue you early in the season until your offense gets into shape."
Indeed, before the Broncos can start dreaming about January in Pasadena or Glendale, they'll need to address a litany of mistakes that tainted what should have been a statement victory.
At one point in Thursday's first half, the Broncos fumbled on three straight plays. Kicker
The Broncos finished with 361 total yards but gained just 79 on their last seven possessions. Six times they drove into Oregon territory but failed to score, with Boise QB
"We were always
Boise may be looking for any motivational sources it can find after Blount hand-delivered them such ripe material for the opener. With a cannon-armed quarterback, the dynamic running tandem of
However, because their conference is so lowly regarded, Boise won't go without scrutiny from the voters. A turnover-marred opener against a Pac-10 team is one thing; a similar display against Miami of Ohio next week won't be viewed quite so favorably.
"In some ways [the buildup to Thursday's game] will help them because there have been so many distractions for a long time and they did a great job of blocking it out," said Petersen. "The bullseye will continue to grow."
Hopefully there will be fewer black eyes in future contests.