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Weekend Watch: 2007 Fiesta Bowl

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April 24th, 2020

With nearly every major sports league suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans around the world are yearning for a return to normalcy.

The sports we love will be back, but in the interim, as we wait out the virus that has turned our world upside down, it's important to stay connected to the games we love.

Our Weekend Watch feature touches on the most significant moments in sports history, and luckily for us in this modern age, many of them are viewable online, in their entirety.

2007 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Oklahoma

For the longest time, based on memory, I assumed the 2006 Rose Bowl was the greatest college football game I've ever watched.

I was wrong.

After re-watching this classic, it's clear. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl is at the top of the list.

I've said it before in this column, but the most compelling part about going back in time to experience these events again is what has been forgotten.

I remembered Boise's hook and lateral to send the game into overtime, and I remembered the Statue of Liberty play to win the game. But that was just the punctuation to the insanity.

Just on their overtime drive alone, the Broncos (a 7.5-point underdog) tried to run a double-pass play that didn't work, a misdirection tight-end screen, a wide receiver counter run, and nearly fumbled the game away to set up fourth and 3 from the Oklahoma 6-yard line.

Then, on what could have been the final play of the game, they motioned quarterback Jared Zabransky all the way out to the left side of the field and snapped the ball to wide receiver Vinny Perretta, who rolled right and tossed a touchdown pass to tight end Derek Schouman.

And that came after Boise State blew a 28-10 lead, appeared to throw the game away on a backbreaking interception returned for a touchdown with just over a minute left to give the Sooners their first lead of  the game, and perfectly executed the hook-and-lateral play to keep the game alive.

I also forgot how great the Boise State defense played. It allowed Adrian Peterson to score easily in overtime, but locked him down for the first four quarters of action (52 yards on 19 carries) and intercepted OU quarterback Paul Thompson three times.

I gained so much more respect for coach Chris Petersen and the Broncos watching this time around. In these David-and-Goliath matchups, when the big school comes back to equalize, most Davids crumble.

But this Boise State team wasn't just any mid-major. When the Broncos needed a huge play, they showed up every time, and the execution was perfect in the biggest moments.