From Riggins, Idaho to America’s Team: Leighton Vander Esch reflects on his journey
Four former Boise State football players suited up for Sunday Night Football — and all of them were heavily involved.
A fifth former Bronco, Kellen Moore, was on the Dallas Cowboys’ sideline as quarterbacks coach.
“It was exciting. I got to talk to them all after the game,” said New York Giants cornerback Donte Deayon, who was on the opposite sideline from the rest of the ex-Broncos. “It’s just great to see them out there playing at this level.”
We caught up with all five former Broncos and will have stories posted throughout the week. But here’s a quick recap of what we saw Sunday night (check out photos of the players at the bottom of this post):
▪ Cowboys starting defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford each recorded a sack as the Cowboys relentlessly harassed Giants quarterback Eli Manning in a 20-13 win at AT&T Stadium.
Lawrence, on the pregame introductions on NBC, said he’s from “THE Boise State Broncos.” Crawford went with the more standard “Boise State University.”
In the locker room, Crawford showed off his suit jacket lined with Boise State logos.
▪ Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch of Riggins, a first-round draft pick, ranked third on the team with seven tackles for the Cowboys. He played a series in the first half and played extensively in the second half after starter Sean Lee went out with cramps. Vander Esch also played many of the special teams snaps.
▪ Deayon made the fifth regular-season appearance of his three-year NFL career. He entered in the second half as the nickel cornerback after starter Eli Apple left with an injury. Deayon made a pass breakup in the end zone early in the fourth quarter and nearly intercepted the Dak Prescott pass. The Cowboys scored a TD two plays later for a 20-3 lead.
“I pride myself on that, being a guy to go and get the rock,” Deayon said. “That’s why I’m disappointed I didn’t come down with the interception on that — corner of the end zone, Sunday night, Dak Prescott. I need those. That’s just dropping money right there.”