Fourth-ranked Boise State saw its BCS national championship hopes die in the cold of a Reno night, falling in incredible fashion to No. 19 Nevada 34-31 in an epic overtime thriller Friday night.
The Broncos had a shot to win the game with 2 seconds left, but kicker Kyle Brotzman pushed a 26-yard field goal wide. Now, the formerly undefeated Broncos can only hope to be co-champs of the WAC with Hawaii and Nevada, and head to the Kraft Fight Hunger or Humanitarian Bowls -- their dream of a BCS national championship berth crushed.
Now, TCU is the only non-AQ team left standing.
Boise State came into the game with all the momentum. It had the nation's longest winning streak at 24 games and many thought if the Broncos beat Nevada in convincing fashion, they would pass TCU as the top non-AQ team -- putting them in position to sneak into the BCS national title game if either Oregon or Auburn slipped.
But the Broncos are the ones who slipped. After jumping to a 24-7 halftime lead, they were totally stymied on offense in the second half. Dontay Moch and the Nevada defensive line were able to get pressure on Kellen Moore. That was enough to throw off his rhythm. The Boise State receivers had several uncharacteristic drops. That included several from the normally sure-handed Titus Young.
Meanwhile, the Boise State defense had problems with tackling. Vai Taua was a rushing machine, and receiver Rishard Matthews came up huge. So did Colin Kaepernick, who called this game the biggest of his career.
After Matthews tied the game at 31 with 13 seconds left on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick, Moore did what seemed impossible -- he completed a 54-yard pass to Young with 1 second left. That's when Brotzman missed his field goal.
Brotzman, the career all-time leading scorer in school and WAC history, got a chance at redemption in overtime. But he missed another field goal, this one from 29 yards out. Nevada nailed its overtime field goal -- by a freshman no less. Anthony Martinez made a 34-yarder for the improbable win.
You know Brotzman is going to be haunted by what happened for some time to come. This was as stunning a loss as there has been all season.
It was the first win over a Top 10 team in Nevada history. Kaepernick finished with 304 total yards and two touchdowns; Taua had 131 yards rushing; Matthews ended with 172 yards receiving and a touchdown, plus 44 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
Now you have to wonder what happens to Moore's chances of getting an invite to the Heisman ceremony in a few weeks.
As for the Broncos, they are in a three-way tie atop the WAC. The WAC doesn't have a tiebreaker system -- the league calls co-champions. Beyond the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, there is no order designated for bowl selection. So it's up to that bowl and the WAC to determine where Boise State and Nevada land. Hawaii is all set in the Hawaii Bowl.
Boise State still has one game left -- against Utah State next week.
As for TCU, the Horned Frogs remain at No. 3 and play New Mexico tomorrow. They need Auburn or Oregon to lose in order to slip into the title game. If not, they are headed to the Rose Bowl.