Mama told me there would be days like this.
For years, Boise State football was like the Hulk Hogan of the WAC and Mountain West. No matter what challenge was put in front of them, they always rose to the occasion, toppling their opponent with sheer determination and offensive muscle.
Then one Sunday, in 1990, Hogan took on Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6. No one could think Hogan could possibly lose. But in the end, it was the Hulkster falling in defeat to his much hungrier opponent.
On Friday night, Utah State was the Ultimate Warrior.
Regardless of how dominating and effective Boise State has been the last 15 years, everyone experiences a loss like this. It is bound to happen to everyone. The Broncos were playing against a top 30 defense, and a revitalized offense, led by a quarterback who is making the most of his opportunity after starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton went down with a knee injury.
Kent Myers had a pretty amazing game for the Aggies, completing 17 for 24 with 3 touchdowns and rushed for another, while the Aggies defense forced Boise State to turnover the ball a record 7 times in the first half, including 3 interceptions of quarterback Brett Rypien. Plus without major offensive weapon Jeremy McNichols, the Broncos' running game was limited to just 34 yards rushing.
Utah State coach Matt Wells told ESPN it was probably the biggest win in school history.
"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like it in the first half," Wells said after the victory. "It's huge. I make no bones about it. I've been saying it -- out of respect -- the road to the championship goes through Boise. 'Til someone knocks them off the throne, it's theirs. I told our guys on Sunday, this isn't the championship game, but it puts you in the driver's seat."
Kudos to the Utah State defense, who were blitzing all night long. Linebacker Nick Vigil sacked Brett Rypien 2 times, had 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Kyler Fackrell, who is one of the best linebackers in the country, finished with 11 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered two for the Aggies. It was definitely a coming out party for a team that has flown under the radar all year.
The big story is how Kent Myers has come in and taken the QB job. Since taking over for Chuckie Keeton, Myers has thrown for 554 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also rushed for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. He's definitely out to prove that he can handle the gig the rest of the season.
There were some positives on the Broncos side of the ball. Thomas Sperbeck, despite dropping some passes, looked solid with 6 receptions and 156 yards receiving. Kelsey Young, despite not getting the yardage that Jeremy McNichols usually gets, had his moments with 2 rushing touchdowns.
After the game, Bryan Harsin explained to ESPN that Boise State's gameplan didn't go the way they expected,
"[We] need guys to work together. We need to create some field position in our favor. It just didn't go that way."
The Broncos were clearly shaken, not only by the Utah State defense, but also the loss of McNichols, who was out with an injury. Kesley Young and Devan Demas did the best they could, but clearly the absence of McNichols was felt all game long.
And if you are a Boise State fan, and think the sky is falling, it's not.
This team is darn good. Really good. All throughout the different coaching eras, whether it be Dirk Koetter, Dan Hawkins or Chris Petersen, the Broncos haven't really experienced a loss like this (well except if you wanna go back to the Georgia game in 2005).
But if there is any consolation to this shocking defeat, it would be that every team goes through this type of situation. Boise State has become so accustomed to winning the big game and also blowing out teams, that it's unfathomable to think that this could ever happen.
Boise State is going to be fine. Next week, they take on the Wyoming Cowboys, which is a chance for the Broncos to get back into the groove and show why they are the Boise State Broncos. The biggest challenges for the remainder of the season will be New Mexico, San Jose State and Air Force, but this Bronco team should finish with 9 or 10 wins this season, and if they don't make a major bowl game this year, so be it, but this isn't a bad team by any stretch of the imagination.
They just had a bad performance.
And they met Kent Myers, Nick Vigil and Kyler Fackrell.