Boise State Football

Boise State football celebrating many milestones in 2016

Ian Johnson jumps into the crowd after he scored on a two point conversion during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.
Ian Johnson jumps into the crowd after he scored on a two point conversion during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007. Idaho Statesman file

The Boise State football program has plenty to celebrate in 2016, including memories both spectacular and sad from the past 30 years. Now that the season is here, the celebration will focus on the 30-year anniversary of the blue turf and the 10 years years since that magical Fiesta Bowl victory.

100 years ago

Lyle Smith is born

  • Born March 17, 1916, in Steptoe, Wash.
  • Compiled a 156-26-6 record in 20 seasons as Boise Junior College head coach (1947 to 1967).
  • Lost more than two games in a season only twice and posted five unbeaten seasons, including 1958 NJCAA national title.
  • Did not coach most of the 1950 and all of the 1951 seasons while training Navy sailors in California during Korean War.
  • Served as athletic director of Boise State from 1967 to 1981.
  • The field at Bronco/Albertsons Stadium has been named “Lyle Smith Field” since 1980.

Bryan Harsin, Chris Petersen, Gov. Butch Otter, Gene Bleymaier, Karl Benson and Dirk Koetter all wish the grandfather of Boise State football, Lyle Smith, a happy 100th birthday.

30 years ago

The turf turns blue

  • The first non-green playing surface made its debut Sept. 13, 1986, with a 74-0 rout of Humboldt State.
  • Since installation, Boise State is 165-36 on the blue. A few others with non-green fields: Eastern Washington (red), Eastern Michigan (gray), Coastal Carolina (teal).
  • Boise State was granted a trademark in 2009, which protects blue to be used as an artificial field color.

This time-lapse video from July 2015 shows the famous blue turf at Boise State University's Albertsons Stadium turning green for a Basque Soccer Friendly soccer match. Crews transitioned the field to real grass in 10 days leading up to the match b

20 years ago

Hello FBS, goodbye Pokey

  • Boise State played its first game as a member of Division I-A (now Football Bowl Subdivision) on Aug. 31, 1996.
  • The Broncos lost their first D-I game, against Central Michigan 42-21, and went 2-10 that season; they’re 196-47 since.
  • Coach Pokey Allen, battling cancer, coached the final two games of 1996, winning one. He died Dec. 30, 1996.

10 years ago

Broncos make Fiesta Bowl magic

  • Boise State stunned powerhouse Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime to conclude the 2006 season in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007 (exactly 10 years after former coach Pokey Allen was buried after his death from cancer).
  • Broncos won with three trick plays: a hook-and-ladder on fourth-and-18 to force overtime, a pass from a receiver to a tight end for a touchdown in OT, and a Statue of Liberty handoff for the winning two-point conversion.
  • The win completed a 12-0 season for Boise State, making the Broncos just the second team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to win a Bowl Championship Series game.
  • Sports Illustrated ranked it as the No. 1 game of the decade and ESPN’s No. 2 “Greatest Highlight,” finishing behind the 1980 Miracle On Ice game.
  • The 2006 Broncos will be reunited and honored at halftime of Boise State’s game Oct. 15 against Colorado State at Albertsons Stadium.

This season


Fans voted this summer on the top players to play on the blue, and 27 were chosen, with three write-ins to be announced when the 30-member team will be honored Sept. 10 at halftime against Washington State.

  • Quarterbacks: Kellen Moore (below), Ryan Dinwiddie
  • Running backs: Doug Martin, Jay Ajayi
  • Wide receivers: Thomas Sperbeck, Austin Pettis, Matt Miller
  • Tight end: Jeb Putzier
  • Offensive line: Nate Potter, Matt Paradis, Scott Huff, Daryn Colledge, Ryan Clady
  • Defensive line: Erik Helgeson, Pete Kwiatkowski, DeMarcus Lawrence, Shea McClellin, Billy Winn
  • Linebacker: Andy Avalos, Korey Hall, Winston Venable
  • Defensive backs: George Iloka, D Ross, Marty Tadman, Kyle Wilson
  • Kicker/punter: Kyle Brotzman
  • Returner: Chris Carr

This season


  • Senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck needs 734 yards to tie Titus Young’s career receiving record of 3,063 (2007-10).
  • Sperbeck’s eight 100-yard receiving games are tied for fifth; he’s five shy of tying Ryan Ikebe’s record of 13 (1993-96).
  • Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien’s five 300-yard games are seventh; he needs 11 to tie Kellen Moore’s record of 16 (2008-11).
  • Junior running back Jeremy McNichols’ career average of 5.8 yards per carry is fourth; John Smith’s 6.24 ypc is the record (1972-75).
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