The Boise State Broncos are back, and it’s like they never left.
After an 8-5 record during Chris Petersen‘s final season with the program, Boise State appeared to be on a downward trend. The start of the 2014 season wasn’t promising either with a 35-13 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels to open the campaign. However, this year’s Broncos squad proved to be resilient.
The program reeled off 11 wins in its next 12 games and claimed a Mountain West Conference title. The Broncos were then anointed the top team among the Group of Five conferences and was granted a bid to the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
The magic the Broncos experienced in two previous Fiesta Bowl appearances continued Wednesday. The nation’s 20th-ranked team held on for a 38-30 victory over the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats.
Something about Boise State in Glendale…
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) January 1, 2015
The win helped cement Boise State’s status as one of the elite programs outside of the Power Five conference.
“It’s huge,” Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin told ESPN’s Todd McShay after the game. “To be here and play a Top 10 team on this stage, I think it says a lot about what we’ve endured throughout the season to be where we are right now.”
Boise State finished 12-2 overall during Harsin’s first year with the program.
If anyone thought Boise State would crumble post-Chris Petersen, Bryan Harsin just beat a Top 10 team in the Fiesta Bowl in his first season
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 1, 2015
What has been built is Boise, Idaho, is bigger than the coaches leading the program. Since Dirk Koetter took over in 1998, the Broncos are 133-35 overall. Three different head coaching changes occurred between then and now, and the program continues to chug along.
The Broncos win by finding talent that is overlooked by other programs.
The best example on this year’s squad is running Jay Ajayi. The junior ran for 134 yards on 22 carries on his way to setting Boise State’s single-season records for rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns.
Undersized quarterback Grant Hedrick also posted a solid effort despite a poor second half. The senior completed 24 of 34 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown.
These were Boise State’s leaders on offense. Neither will be with the team next year. However, the program will continue to do what it does. It’ll win more games than almost anyone else in the nation.
Boise State is college football’s Gonzaga. Their name says they’re the little guys. They can play with the best.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 1, 2015