This Day In Sports: Another zero in the Broncos’ loss column

November 28, 2008, 15 years ago today: Boise State caps a perfect regular season with a 61-10 rout of Fresno State in Bronco Stadium. Bush Hamdan was honored with the Senior Night start at quarterback but threw a pick-six on the first series. Over 32,000 fans felt Hamdan’s pain. Redshirt freshman Kellen Moore came back on after that, and the Broncos managed a 13-10 halftime lead. But they pitched a second-half shutout—and what a shutout it was. Boise State scored 48 unanswered points. It’s hard to rush the field at Bronco Stadium, the way the fences are constructed at ground level. But the school allowed it this time to celebrate the WAC championship trophy.

It was also Ian Johnson’s final game on the blue turf. The Fiesta Bowl legend had endured a tough senior year and hadn’t reached 100 yards rushing. But Johnson ran for 128 yards in his finale, including a 69-yard gain that saw him drag a Bulldogs defensive back almost 20 yards before he went out of bounds just short of the goal line. He then went to the sideline to the displeasure of a booing crowd, replaced by freshman Doug Martin. But Ian explained after the game that he had jammed his wrist and had come out voluntarily.

Then, when Martin was stopped short of the goal line, Johnson came back in and scored one final poetic touchdown—one that tied the WAC career record of 57 held by San Diego State star Marshall Faulk. The chants of “Ian, Ian” gave the stadium the feel of an English soccer crowd. He would break Faulk’s record with a TD in Boise State’s 17-16 loss to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl (and that mark would be topped two years later by Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick). Johnson is still the Broncos’ second-leading all-time rusher behind Cedric Minter with 4,183 yards.

If you want to know about Boise State’s culture in those days, it was explained in the Fresno Bee by Bulldogs offensive lineman Bobby Lepori. “The No. 1 thing that Boise does is—it’s team over individual,” said Lepori. “You just have people that are selfless. They don’t care if they get a stat. They don’t care if they get their name in the paper.” Lepori harkened back to Fresno State’s 2006 game against the Broncos. “Well before we even snapped a ball, they were calling out our formations,” he said. “That doesn’t come from our bad play-calling, that comes from hours and hours and hours of film study. Kids just don’t dedicate themselves that way that Boise does.”

(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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