Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/12/11
Well before Boise freshman Dan Goodale's kick sailed well wide of the uprights, this much was clear: the Broncos are not national title material. Boise State manhandled Georgia in the heart of SEC territory. The Broncos swept through the rest of their soft schedule with ease, sparking the age old debate. Did Chris Petersen, Kellen Moore and the rest of the Broncos deserve a spot in the BCS championship game? It's more than a tad ironic that Boise's perfect record was once again spoiled by kicking conundrums. Last year, it was senior Kyle Brotzman who flubbed two field goal tries against Nevada in an overtime loss. Losing to the Wolfpack moved the Broncos to an afterthought in the BCS scene. Let's consider both Boise losses for a moment. Nevada lost a grand total of one game last season. The Wolfpack were a legitimate top-20 team that had to travel over 2,500 miles to play a conference game, which they ultimately lost to Hawaii. This year's Bronco-toppler, TCU, is also an extremely dangerous - albeit young - squad capable of beating almost any other squad in the country. The Frogs' two losses were decided in the final two minutes or in overtime. There's little difference in the quality of the teams the Boise State lost to. The big difference is in the Broncos themselves. On the biggest pre-BCS stage it will ascend all season, this year's squad lost a home game for the first time in a decade. The 2011 version of the Broncos were exposed by their lack of depth and experience in the secondary. TCU sophomore Casey Pachall became the first quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in the Gary Patterson era. Pachall completely dissected the Broncos in the first half. He threw touchdowns of 75, 74 and 69 yards in the opening 30 minutes alone as the Frogs silenced the raucous crowd at Bronco Stadium by heading into the locker room with a 20-14 lead. Another difference between the 2010 and 2011 Boise squads: last year's version would have stepped on TCU's throat when it had a lead. The Broncos led 35-28 and were driving inside TCU territory with just under three minutes to play. Then running back D.J. Harper left the game with an injury, and third-stringer Drew Wright took over at tailback. On a third down, with the Frogs gasping on their last breath, Wright fumbled and the Frogs recovered. That gave TCU an opportunity for a comeback, and Pachall and company took advantage. Before these two teams took the field, Boise ranked fifth in the country in pass yards allowed. The Broncos had been torched all game, but TCU still had 73 yards to go and only 2:26 to get to the endzone. But Pachall would not be denied. On a 3rd-and-7 from his own 30, with the crowd almost shaking the stadium with its collective voice, Pachall fired a laser to Antoine Hicks for 15 yards. Moments later, Pachall hit rarely-used senior Jonathan Jones, who broke two tackles for a critical 21-yard gain. And then, Pachall lofted a pass toward the right corner of the end zone, where true freshman Brandon Carter lept over a Boise defender and made an unbelievable catch. It was then that head coach Gary Patterson made the boldest decision of his entire career. Rather than go for overtime, Patterson opted to go for two. It was the biggest display of faith the defensive-minded coach had ever placed in an offense and, in particular, a quarterback. And it was only the tenth start of Pachall's career. Patterson's belief paid off, although it probably shouldn't have. Pachall's pass on the Frogs' game-winning 2-point conversion attempt should have been intercepted. Instead, sophomore Josh Boyce wrestled the ball away and reached it over the plane of the goalline. Frog fans knew they had an abundance of talent on the field. They just didn't know it would all come together and work so quickly. The Big 12 has officially been put on notice. If you can win in Boise, you can win anywhere. But Boise's loss is the bigger head-turner, and robs Kellen Moore of an opportunity he should've received in 2008, 2009 or even 2010 if he had a reliable kicker on his sideline. This year's version of the Broncos doesn't measure up to previous editions, and what took place on the previously sacred blue turf is proof positive.
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