Boise State players, coaches on when they watched first Fiesta Bowl
Most of the current players on the Boise State football roster were in elementary school when the Broncos defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.
As No. 15 Boise State honors that 2006 undefeated team this week, including Saturday for the Colorado State game (click here for the Fans Guide), players and coaches recall what they experienced when they watched one of the most memorable college football games ever played.
BEN WEAVER, SENIOR LB
Weaver watched the game with his family in suburban Houston. Unlike most, he didn’t feel terribly excited once the game ended.
“I was actually an Oklahoma Sooners fan at that point. My mom and sister both went to OU. I was watching it from a different perspective, probably the first time I ever saw Boise State actually play. It was a different story: at the end of that night, I had to kind of almost hate Boise State. But now the whole family loves it here.”
What did the win mean?
“Just seeing the capabilities. I loved the fact that Boise State’s always the underdog, no matter what situation they’re in. ... They outperform whatever bigger opponent it is.”
THOMAS SPERBECK, SENIOR WR
Sperbeck watched in northern California with his father, Marshall, who played quarterback for Nevada against Boise State in the early 1980s. Marshall Sperbeck was hired as Sacramento State’s head coach 12 days after the Fiesta Bowl.
“I always loved watching Boise State growing up, it was always fun. I did watch that game, it was pretty memorable, obviously. I was watching it with my dad, I think my mom, too, maybe my sisters. We were just going crazy. It was amazing.”
What was the future Bronco receiver’s favorite play?
“The hook and ladder probably.”
SAM MCCASKILL, SENIOR DE
McCaskill saw the game in Eugene, Ore., and it made a Boise State fan out of the youngster who grew up cheering for Oregon.
“I remember going on iTunes and purchasing the highlights of that game. The only video I had on my little iPod when I was that age was the Boise State-Oklahoma highlights, so I would watch that all the time. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. At the start, you just kind of see it as the hook and ladder and the Statue of Liberty, that’s awesome, but there were so many little individual plays and different efforts in there that made that game so special.”
What did that game mean to him?
“Definitely being in the program, it’s something you’ve got to feel proud about. The legacy that was started through that game, it was pretty cool what those guys accomplished. I definitely didn’t know too much about Boise State until that game. It definitely put them on the map for me personally, a lot.”
KENT RIDDLE, TIGHT ENDS/SPECIAL TEAMS COACH
Riddle was a Boise State assistant from 2001-05, departing with coach Dan Hawkins for Colorado, where he also coached tight ends and special teams. Three other assistants joined Riddle and Hawkins in Boulder.
“I was watching the game, we had a big crew of guys that had been here at Colorado. We were all together watching the game, cheering like crazy. It was awesome. I think it just gave credibility to Boise State, finishing undefeated, beat Oklahoma. ... All that stuff, it just gave tremendous credibility to the program. Hats off to all the guys that were a part of that.”
JUNIOR ADAMS, WIDE RECEIVERS COACH
Adams had just finished his third season as receivers and returns coach at his alma mater, Montana State.
“Of course I remember watching it. I had some good friends on the staff here at that time. You remember the hook and ladder play, then the Statue of Liberty play. Those were the big plays, but this program, they built up to that. They were always Boise prior to that. They were able to get on that stage and showcase their talent, being efficient offensively, playing good defense, being blue collar. I always admired that about this program.”
ANDY AVALOS, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Avalos played linebacker at Boise State from 2001-04, and after one season coaching at Corona (Calif.) High in his hometown, he joined the Colorado staff as a graduate assistant in 2006. But he wasn’t with Riddle and the other former Broncos. He was in Phoenix.
“I was actually at the game, so it was awesome. Just being away from the program for a few years there, that was the biggest bowl game we’d been to and probably the biggest game we’ve been in. ... With a lot of the former players and alumni, sitting in the stands down there where a lot of that stuff unfolded, on that side of the field, it was a good spot to be.”
Colorado State at No. 15 boise state
- When: 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday
- Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
- TV: ESPN2 (Mark Neely, Ray Bentley, Cole Cubelic)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 5-0, 2-0 Mountain West; Colorado State 3-3, 1-1
- Kickoff weather: High 50s, with wind and rain
- Vegas line: Boise State is favored by 31 points
- Series: Boise State leads 5-0 (won last season 41-10 in Fort Collins)