Some teams live by the kicker. Others die by the kicker. In a high-stakes marquee matchup between Mountain West heavyweights TCU and Boise State, it happened.
BCS chaos—but it wasn’t the pandemonium the BCS bustin’ Broncos were on their hands and knees hoping for. Rather, it was another heart-wrenching defeat that left them on their hands and knees in absolute disappointment and disbelief.
TCU entered Bronco Stadium (aka smurf turf) and somehow managed to snap Boise State’s 65-home game winning streak in thrilling fashion, 36-35.
Kellen Moore connected with Matt Miller on a 22-yard touchdown reception to get the scoring started with 11:27 in the first quarter. TCU’s Casey Pachall then found wide out Josh Boyce on a 74-yard touchdown with 8:34 to play in the opening quarter to tie things up 7-7.
Pachall delivered another strike on a big-play reception to Brandon Carter for a 75-yard score to take the lead 14-7 with 13:17 left in the second quarter. Broncos running back D.J. Harper found the end zone with 8:13 to go on a 17-yard touchdown scamper.
The first-half scoring was capped off with yet another monumental deep ball TD from Pachall to Boyce for 69 yards with 6:34 to play in the 2nd quarter, but Ross Evans couldn’t capitalize on the gimme extra point. The Frogs headed into the half with a 20-14 lead.
TCU got off to a sour second half start, as Antoine Hicks fumbled the first snap on a reverse play which led to a seemingly game-changing 32-yard score for Tyron Crawford and the Boise State defense.
The Lizards looked like they were shell-shocked and would crumble to their fatal fate. Insult met injury when D.J. Harper finished off a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a three-yard score to take a 28-20 advantage.
But the Lizards didn’t quit and put their hands in the sand. They got angry instead and shot blood out of their eyes.
Josh Boyce found the end zone yet again on a two-yard touchdown through the air and Pachall punched it in for a successful two-point conversion to knot the game up 28-28.
Heisman hopeful and the most winningest quarterback in Division I history then found Dallas Burroughs to retake the lead over the Horned Frogs 35-28 on a 54-yard score with 14:47 remaining in the game.
Under 2:00 to go, everyone was thrown on an emotional roller coaster.
Pachall then linked back up with Carter for a 25-yard leaping touchdown, placing the Horned Frogs just one point away from tying things up with 1:05 left to play in regulation. Given recent success on a previous two-point conversion, an earlier miss by the kicker and the awareness that beating Boise in OT in its own stadium is no easy enterprise by any stretch of the imagination, head coach Gary Patterson took a leap of faith and went for all of the cards on a play to win the game on a two-point conversion.
Pachall took the snap and threw the ball to who other than the young man already with three touchdown catches—Josh Boyce, who stiff-armed the defender and made his way into the all-important two-point score from two yards out to advance 36-35.
It was far from over, nonetheless. Boise State wasn’t going to throw in the towel.
Thanks to an errant kick out of bounds, the Broncos set up shop with great field-position.
A controversial call on a failed 4th-and-10 looked to have changed everything with less than 40 seconds to go in the game. It was ruled pass interference and by everyone’s estimation a questionable call to say the least.
The Broncos were back in business. The Lizards’ defense appeared to be on its last legs and Boise State positioned itself in a great position to stay alive in the national title running with a last-second crowd-pleasing, game-winning field goal.
But that didn’t happen. What had stung TCU earlier in the game—a kicking error—stung the Broncos and become much more detrimental. It was really reminiscent of last year’s letdown in Reno, NV.
Kicker Dan Goodale, a freshman, who had hit two of three field goals in his young collegiate career, missed the 37-yard-field goal to win the game. This of course puts an end to Boise’s high hopes for a chance to play in the BCS National Championship, as the Broncos drop to 8-1, while the Horned Frogs improve to 8-2 on the season.
Pachall aired out an aerial assault going 24 for 37 for 473 yards and five touchdowns to one interception.
Two TCU receivers received the bulk of his attention, as Carter racked up four catches for 120 yards and 2 TDs and Boyce reeled in five receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Who was the biggest winner in Boise State’s loss? Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Stanford, among others benefit, but the consensus winner—albeit TCU won the game—was Houston. Case Keenum and the Cougars just became a lot closer towards having their shot at playing for a BCS bowl game. And no, they won’t be complaining to have a chance at the National Title, too, they’re more than thrilled for just a chance to play as an at-large team in one of the five major bowls.
What are your thoughts on the game and the immediate future of these two teams? Let us know below!