September 8, 2007, 15 years ago today: One link to Boise State’s undefeated season and Fiesta Bowl championship is shattered, as Washington breaks the Broncos’ 14-game winning streak that carried over from 2006, 24-10.The 70,000 fans in Husky Stadium included 10,000 Bronco faithful, but the blue-and-orange attendees couldn’t will their team to victory against UW and its star freshman quarterback, Jake Locker. Boise State outgained the Huskies but couldn’t get it done in the red zone and turned the ball over four times.
Locker and UW struck early, going 78 yards in 12 plays to go up 7-0. Boise State’s Rashaun Scott returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back by a holding penalty, and that seemed to suck some air out of the Broncos. The Huskies keyed on Ian Johnson, who came in with seven straight 100-yard games. Johnson was held to 81 yards on 20 carries. “We’re disappointed,” said coach Chris Petersen. “I think the tape will be very painful because there are a lot of little things. Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda.”
The two programs diverged at that point, with the Broncos winning their next nine games—and the Huskies losing their next six and finishing the season 4-9. Boise State was bested by Hawaii in the WAC de facto championship game the day after Thanksgiving and returned to Aloha Stadium four weeks later, falling to East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl to finish 10-3. The Kellen Moore era started the following year, with the Broncos going (say it with me) 50-3 over the next four years. Meanwhile, Washington stunningly went 0-12 in 2008, and coach Tyrone Willingham was replaced by Steve Sarkisian. Petersen, of course, would take over the Huskies in 2014.
Senior Taylor Tharp was Boise State’s starting quarterback in 2007, serving as the transition between Jared Zabransky and Moore. Tharp still dots the single-season top 10 lists in the Broncos record book. He threw 30 touchdown passes that year—only one Boise State QB has matched that number since (Brett Rypien in 2018). Tharp’s most efficient game came in a 52-0 rout of Utah State in Logan. He went 26-of-29, a clip of just under 90 percent that is still third on the school’s single-game list. The throws covered 283 yards with two touchdowns.
(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.)