Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, yours truly had the chance to drive up to Boise on Friday morning for the (unofficial) WAC championship game. On top of seemingly everything else that didn't go according to plan -- getting pulled over for speeding in Oregon, having to explain to the hotel desk clerk that I didn't, in fact, cancel my reservation, tailgating in the rain -- the Wolf Pack came up short in its bid for an outright title. The winning streak is over. Sunrise, sunset. Sigh.

The aforementioned rain lasted up to halftime, and as a result, I was reluctant to whip out my digital camera as often as I usually do for road games. After seeing how quickly my group's white foam board signs became soaked, I think you would've reached the same conclusion (Hence why the above photo is not from me, but Liz Margerum at the RGJ).

With that said, some of my parting thoughts from this bittersweet game include:

  • I'm proud of how the team played. Say what you want about the obvious need to not spot the Broncos 20+ point leads early in the game, but there was absolutely no quit in this team. In a situation when others would roll over and accept their fate, the team raised its collective head and soldiered onward.
  • The secondary didn't get beat on deep passes. You read that correctly. Kellen Moore and his receivers got their yards and points on short to moderate routes, yes -- the fact is they're just too good not to. But for an area that has consistently and thoroughly plagued the greenhorn secondary since Coach Burton's arrival last year, they didn't yield the 40- and 50-yard bombs we're accustomed to seeing a few times every game.
  • The defense was not fooled by trick plays. The two-point conversion in the first quarter -- unusual for most teams, but not for Boise State -- and the halfback pass in the third quarter were both snuffed out.
  • The defense, as a whole, played well enough to win. Both defenses, in fact, made some good adjustments in the second half, each forcing a turnover and only surrendering 17 points apiece. Unfortunately...
  • Nevada's offense and special teams did not play well enough to win. Colin played noticeably better than last year's 19-of-50 showing, but got less effective protection as the game wore on. And any time the team is held to about 100 yards less than their rushing average on the season, a tough task is made even tougher. The word "frustration" will one day show up in Webster's with a picture of Boise State's opening kick-off return for a touchdown. The one touchdown special teams surrenders all year long, and it comes at the worst possible time!
  • Boise State's fans -- in person, at least -- were exceptional. I experienced nothing firsthand that would change my belief that they are some of the best you will find anywhere. Some of their Internet fans will continue to get a bad rap, but you're in the wrong place if you expect me to pile on the criticisms of them (of which I still have several, make no mistake). Instead, consider something the author Michael Crichton once said. When explaining the conclusions he ultimately drew while researching for his book State of Fear, Crichton said "The world changes. Ideologues and zealots don't."
  • The Pack fans who made the trip were also exceptional. What they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. They made more than their share of noise and seemed to relish being greatly outnumbered. But what made me the most optimistic was their average age: looking around me, the majority of them were either current students or recent graduates. They were fans who probably have little to no familiarity with the Tormey years and -- dare we say it -- can actually see how bright the future is for this team and want to be a part of it. Even as the clock wound down and the loss began to sink in, I still smiled a little and felt a twinge of pity for the Renoites who still insist on sitting at home because of their myopic disdain for one guy on the sidelines. I'll say this about my fellow diehards: we don't always come out on top, but we always have more fun! And on that note...
  • The people of northern Nevada have a team they can be proud of. We're all disappointed the team still can't seem to get that signature win it needs. But if that's the reason why you might be hesitant to come out and support these guys, you're still missing out on something really special. Look at Packfan7's entries on the history this team continues to rewrite. Listen to anyone who goes to the games tell you how dynamic and exciting this team is to watch in person. Pencil in some season tickets for next year. Do something -- anything -- to show this team how much you appreciate their hard work and sweat translating into great things on the field! Be the positive change you want to see at Mackay. Be the fans that help the team get to the next level.

If you didn't already notice, I'm not bummed about this loss -- at least, not that much. It was an unfortunate end to the regular season, but it's not the end of the season. Now the hard part will be waiting one more week as the Pack's bowl fate is left in the hands of the college football gods.

Or Commissioner Benson...


On second thought, I've always been meaning to start praying more.

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