Since Kellen Moores unbelievable pass to Titus Young on that cold Reno night in November 2010 a pass that should be considered one of the greatest in college football history Boise State kickers have made 11-of-19 field goal attempts with a long of 32 yards.
Among the misses were two of the most memorable kicks in Boise State history, game-winning attempts against Nevada in 2010 and TCU in 2011 that would have preserved undefeated seasons.
Thats the history.
No doubt it is burned into the memory of every Boise State diehard and, almost assuredly, into the mind of coach Chris Petersen.
Here is the present.
In Thursday nights 7-6 victory against BYU, the Broncos missed a 33-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. It would have been a career-long for kicker Michael Frisina. Boise State then passed on attempts of 41, 37 and 47 yards later in the game in favor of going for it on fourth down. All three fourth-down attempts failed.
We were probably in exactly no-mans land, Petersen said. It wasnt a great situation to be able to go for it, and we didnt want to kick a field goal there.
At a time when Boise State is struggling to score offensive touchdowns, the Broncos desperately need a boost and points from their kicking game.
The offense had the ball five times at or inside the BYU 30 including a first-and-goal opportunity set up by the defense and scored zero points.
There is plenty of blame to go around from the head coach to the offensive coordinator, from the quarterback to the offensive line. All deserve some for the Broncos offense being held out of the end zone in two of the first three games.
But the offense with a giant assist from the defense and its five forced turnovers got in position to score points Thursday night. Field goals made from 33 and 37 yards would have changed the entire dynamic of the game.
Sure, wed still be talking and writing and lamenting about the Broncos poor offense and its inability to get in the end zone. But the 36,864 at Bronco Stadium wouldnt have had to sweat out a two-point conversion with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.
Those are critical points for an offense that is struggling, particularly in the red zone. Boise State, which converted 74.3 percent of its trips inside the opponents 20-yard line into touchdowns, has scored just three touchdowns in 12 such possessions this year.
As it stands, the Broncos have to advance the ball to the opposing 15 and perhaps closer to even attempt a kick. And even then its not guaranteed to go through the uprights.
An uncertain kicking game, one that has loomed over the program for nearly two years now, can be minimized by a potent offense, such as the ones the Broncos have had in the past. But this years offense needs the help and the points.
The problem is not Boise States alone. Sports Illustrated recently wrote a feature story about missed field goals in college football, one that included quotes from former kicker Kyle Brotzman and referenced both his misses against Nevada and Dan Goodales miss against TCU.
But the Broncos are under-performing Football Bowl Subdivision kickers as a whole. Through Sept. 15, FBS kickers had connected on 67.8 percent of field goals (352-of-519). In 2011, FBS kickers made 70.4 percent of field goal attempts. Frisina, the only kicker to attempt a field goal in a game this year for Boise State, is 3-for-5 (60 percent).
The problem becomes even more pronounced when you consider only field goals of less than 40 yards, the only kind of field goals Boise State would even consider attempting. FBS kickers connected on 80.5 percent of them last year and 75.5 percent this year. Boise State is 3-for-5 on such attempts this season.
And now the future.
With little faith in its kicking game and seemingly even less in scholarship kicker Jake Van Ginkel, who was the teams 106th man and thus left off the 105-man fall practice roster we got a pretty good glimpse Thursday night.
A lot of fourth-down attempts. A lot of nail biting when the kicker does get on the field. A lot of pressure on the offense to score touchdowns.
© 2012 Idaho StatesmanBrian Murphy: 377-6444