I thought I knew toughness when I saw it but I was introduced to a whole different level in Tallahassee, Florida last Saturday. The Boise State football team beat shut down your iphone heat and humidity, hurricane warnings, a 6.5 point spread against them and college football royalty in Florida State. The headlines across the internet told one story: NIGHTMARE and CHOKE AT DOAK.
But, I saw another one.
It is so easy to just quit sometimes. Especially, when no one would blame you. All the excuses were perfectly laid out for the Broncos. They were getting beat by a faster, harder hitting team and the deck was stacked against them anyway. 75% of every team who had ever played at Doak Campbell stadium had left with a loss. They told family,friends and fans to meet them in Jacksonville at 7pm est for a game. Less than 48 hours before that, they changed their mind to 12 noon est in Tallahassee and ,by the way, a category 4 hurricane is expected any day. The team had to get up and play a game at 10am mst. Sure, they could move the ball on the ground vs the ‘noles but they couldn’t score. After 47 plays of offense late in the 2nd quarter, Boise State had 250 yards but only 13 points. They had fumbled, threw an interception and subjected Qb Hank Bachmeier to a sack, several jarring jolts and a late hit. The FSU offense meanwhile was cruising, scoring touchdowns on 1,2 and 4 play drives.
It was ugly. But, that’s not all.
Players on both sides were cramping up. Safety Deandre Pierce and OT John Ojuwku had game ending, or worse, injuries. Curtis Weaver was laying down on the sideline with a wet towel over his head fighting off cramps in between every series. LB Zeke Noa fought off leg injuries to stay in the game. WR CT Thomas took a shot to the ribs and could hardly walk. WR John Hightower was playing on one leg with a very sore foot that had him hobbling around. RB Robert Mahone took a pounding on 24 carries. And, Bachmeier was sacked 5x, hit several more times and his chin was red and raw from getting punched.
You get the picture?
And, that’s just half the story. The environment was electric with distraction. The Marching Chiefs band, the tomahawk chants, the Seminole Warrior Osceola and Renegade his horse, the swag music, Boise State legends Kyle Wilson and Chris Childs, new President Tromp, and a screaming Boise State fan base who endured the road trip from hell to get there and then get-the-hell-outta-here. The distractions are too many to list. I disagree with those who said FSU choked.
They got ambushed. Boise State looked like they laid down and played dead til late in the 2nd quarter. Kinda like we used to play cowboys and indians. In the 4th quarter, the Broncos rose from the dead and stampeded the Seminoles with 10 runs for 52 yards. The Seminoles didn’t choke. They got beat by a team of cowboys.