November 30, 2013, 10 years ago today: Little does anyone know at the time, but Chris Petersen coaches his final football game at Boise State in a 45-17 win over New Mexico at Bronco Stadium, his 92nd win against 12 losses. It was Senior Night, and Petersen started quarterback Joe Southwick, still recovering from a broken ankle suffered six weeks earlier. Southwick played one series and completed both of his passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Six days later Petersen accepted a job at Washington.
Petersen surely knew he was gone going into the game, but that didn’t prevent him from doing the right thing for Southwick, who had paid some serious dues (and taken an inordinate amount of guff) over his five seasons as a Bronco. Coming out of Danville, CA, as one of the Bay Area’s best high school quarterbacks, Southwick immediately immersed himself in the Boise State offense. Then-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin thought enough of him to take him on every road trip during his true freshman season in 2009, suited up and ready to go. It ended ugly, as Southwick was sent home from the Hawaii Bowl over a hotel balcony incident. Very reliable sources would tell me later that Southwick was not involved.
Senior Night also marked the end of a seven-year relationship between Boise State and the Moore family. Kellen, of course, was one of college football’s all-time greats, going 50-3 and throwing 142 touchdown passes from 2008-11 (he redshirted in 2007). Kirby was injured and didn’t play against New Mexico. But he had plenty of memories, including his first brother-to-brother touchdown catch from Kellen as a true freshman in 2009. Kirby had 115 career catches for 1,137 yards and six TDs for the Broncos.
Coach Pete was in the rumor mill at that point, but Washington wasn’t a part of it yet. ESPN.com reported that “sources” said Petersen and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin were the top candidates for the USC job that weekend. Petersen would meet with the Trojans the day after the game against the Lobos, but the two sides mutually decided it wasn’t the best fit. Then USC hired Steve Sarkisian away from the Huskies, and UW became the perfect match for Petersen. It was the right move for Washington—Coach Pete had the Huskies in the College Football Playoff in his third year.
(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.)