Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42
By Andrew Bagnato
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Boise State proved it belonged in the BCS.
After tying it with 7 seconds to go in regulation, the No. 9 Broncos stunned No. 7 Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime Monday night, winning on Ian Johnson’s 2-point conversion run after receiver Vinny Perretta threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to Derek Schouman.
“I think we went out and proved the nation wrong,” said Boise State safety Marty Tadman, who had two interceptions, one of which he returned 27 yards for a touchdown. “I’m tired of people doubting us.”
There were plenty of doubters when the Sooners took a 42-35 lead on Adrian Peterson’s 25-yard run on the first possession of overtime.
But the Broncos weren’t through. On the decisive play, Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky looked at three wide receivers to his right, then handed the ball behind his back to Johnson, who raced untouched into the end zone.
That play was almost as amazing as the one that tied the game.
After falling behind 35-28, the Broncos tied it with a stunning
50-yard touchdown play on fourth-and-18 with 7 seconds to play. Zabransky hit Drisan James at Oklahoma’s 35, and James pitched the ball to Jerard Rabb, who raced into the end zone.
“It would have been easy to give up on us with a minute left, but we had a lot of magic left,” Zabransky said.
Boise State is one of two unbeaten teams. The other is top-ranked Ohio State, which will play No. 2 Florida for the BCS national championship on the same field Jan. 8.
Afterward, the Broncos made a case that they should have been given a shot at the Buckeyes.
“We went 13-0 and beat everyone on our schedule,” Zabransky said. “We deserve a chance at the national title.”
In one of the more dramatic finishes in BCS history, the Sooners (11-3) and the Broncos (13-0) combined for 22 points in the final 86 seconds of regulation.
Johnson carried 23 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Zabransky completed 19 of 29 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and he threw an interception. Drisan James caught three passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Oklahoma’s Paul Thompson threw a career-high three interceptions. He completed 19 of 32 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. In what might have been his last college game, Peterson ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
The wild finish came after Boise State dominated the first 40 minutes, making it clear that the Western Athletic Conference champion deserved a BCS berth.
Oklahoma didn’t go quietly. The Sooners spotted the Broncos an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter, then rallied to take a 35-28 lead on cornerback Marcus Walker’s interception return with 1:02 remaining.
That came one play after the Sooners tied it at 28. They Sooners cut it to 28-26 on a 5-yard pass from Paul Thompson to Quentin Chaney with 1:26 to play. After penalties on their first two 2-point conversion tries, the Sooners converted when Thompson hit Juaquin Iglesias.
Thompson completed five passes for 59 yards on the tying drive and also ran for 8 yards.
The Broncos stunned the Sooners with two quick touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Broncos seemed to be in command when they stopped Oklahoma on the next series. But Boise State receiver Aiona Key inadvertently touched a punt, and the Sooners recovered at Boise State’s 11. Two plays later, Peterson scored on an 8-yard run to cut the Broncos’ lead to 28-17.