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This Day In Sports…November 17, 2007:
Boise State wins its ninth straight game in the Broncos-Vandals rivalry and its ninth straight game of the season in a 58-14 pounding of Idaho at Bronco Stadium. The Vandals narrowed the Broncos’ lead to 17-14 in the second quarter before Boise State put up 41 unanswered points to end the game. Senior quarterback Taylor Tharp threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns, and true freshman wide receiver Austin Pettis caught three TDs as Boise State secured its seventh 10-win season in nine years. Pettis would go on to become the Broncos’ career leader in touchdown receptions with 39 over his four seasons before moving on to the NFL.
It was the year after Jared Zabransky and the year before Kellen Moore at quarterback, and to say Taylor Tharp bridged the gap admirably would be an understatement. We’re currently in an era where 20 touchdowns and 3,000 passing yards are an accomplishment for a Boise State QB. Tharp threw for 30 TDs and 3,340 yards in 2007. He completed 68.3 percent of his throws, the seventh-best single-season mark in school history, and his 26-for-29 performance at Utah State (89.7 percent) is the third-best ever by a Bronco. The win over Idaho was also probably one of Bush Hamdan’s favorite days as a player—he came on to go 3-of-3 for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
It would be the final home game in the college career of eventual NFL first-round draft pick Ryan Clady. The 6-6, 319-pound left tackle scored a touchdown on what you might call a “lateral screen”—only to have it called back by a penalty. Clady was so anxious on the play that he moved forward a little too quickly, and the Broncos were called for an illegal forward pass. Coach Chris Petersen insisted the play wasn’t meant to be a swan song for the star junior, but Clady would indeed declare early for the NFL Draft and be selected No. 12 overall by the Denver Broncos.
Petersen was in his second season as Boise State’s coach, and he had already set the bar astronomically high after the Broncos’ legendary Fiesta Bowl upset of Oklahoma on New Year’s Day that year. Boise State would fall at Hawaii the following week in the de facto WAC championship game, sending the Rainbow Warriors to the Sugar Bowl. Then the Broncos would be edged by East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl. That gave Coach Pete his only three-loss campaign at Boise State until his final one in 2013. Imagine a 10-3 season equating to a “down year.”
(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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