THIS DAY IN SPORTS: Ian’s biggest night in a big season

Presented by POOL SCOUTS.

This Day In Sports…September 7, 2006:

Indisputably the best performance ever by a Boise State running back, as sophomore Ian Johnson gains 240 yards and ties a school record with five touchdowns in a 42-14 rout of Oregon State at Bronco Stadium. Johnson was named Division I-A Offensive Player of the Week after his nationally-televised effort, which is a perfect word for it. He not only had scoring runs of 59 and 50 yards, he continually broke tackles and dragged Beaver players along for the ride. It was an exclamation point to BSU’s celebration of its 20thanniversary on the blue turf.

Emblematic of Johnson’s night was a three-yard TD run in the second quarter. He was met by a host of Beavers tacklers at the line of scrimmage, disappeared under them, and dragged them into the end zone. Cedric Minter still holds Boise State’s single-game record with 261 yards in 1978. But that was against Northern Michigan in the Division I-AA days. This was on ESPN, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth and a sellout crowd of 30,711 in the stands for a Blue-Out.

It was only the second win ever over a Pac-10 school for Boise State—both of them over Oregon State. And just like in the 53-34 win over the Beavers in 2004, the Broncos fell behind 14-0—just 8½ minutes into the game this one. This time they responded with six unanswered touchdowns. The defense was led by senior linebacker Korey Hall, who had 10 tackles and a game-turning interception (like he did in the 2004 contest). OSU coach Mike Riley said he “knew 14-0 wasn’t the answer,” adding that the Broncos “were resilient early, and then they just kept comin’.” That they did.

Johnson, of course, would go on to record one of the more legendary seasons in Boise State history. He rushed for a then-school record 1,712 yards and 25 touchdowns and reached the 100-yard plateau nine times. He had the NCAA tell him to stop selling his beanies, and he played through a partially-collapsed lung in Game 10 at San Jose State and missed Game 11 before leading the Broncos to the WAC championship-clinching win at Nevada. In the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, he ran for 100 yards and a touchdown, scored on the winning “Statue Left” two-point conversion, and asked Chrissy Popadics to marry him. 

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)


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