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Schouman, you've met. Similar in appearance to a lumberjack, the soft-spoken, four-year starter (who also married a Boise State cheerleader) is smart and versatile. While his coaches rave about his blocking, the 6'2", 233-pound fullback--tight end hybrid is also a reliable receiver. If he weren't, Harsin wouldn't have called his number three times in overtime. Three plays after "Shoe" moved the chains with a 10-yard reception, Johnson fumbled on the five-yard line. Officials ruled that his knee was down, and while the play was being reviewed, Zabransky and Petersen had a bit of a tiff on the sideline.
Facing fourth-and-two from the five, Petersen wanted to run a halfback pass. Can you blame Z for raising hell? On what might have been his final play as a collegian, he would not handle the ball. Rather, he would serve as a decoy, motioning away from the play, and the game would be put in the hands of a 5'9" utility player who had not thrown a pass all season.
It seemed like a vast amount of trust to put in Vinny Perretta, a running back and wide receiver who didn't even rate a scholarship when he came out of La Costa Canyon High in Encinitas, Calif. (Perretta earned one before his redshirt-freshman season in '05.) But Perretta is a quintessential Bronco: tough, smart and still angry that he had been so lightly regarded.
There's another thing: He confuses defenses. Because he lines up as both a receiver and a running back, says Petersen, "They're looking at him going, What is this guy? He creates tremendous personnel problems."
And he can act. On Shop to Bunch Right, Q-Out, 18 Crack Halfback Pass, Perretta takes a direct snap and sweeps right--action identical to a running play Boise used all season. Against the Sooners, he tucked the ball, put his head down and ... lifted it back up, cocking his arm while looking toward the back of the end zone.
Key to the success of the play, says Harsin, was how well everyone, Perretta included, sold the run. "The way they fired out, their body language as they attacked the line of scrimmage--it pulled those linebackers and safeties up."
As he made a show of trying to get a piece of Sooners linebacker Rufus Alexander, the Big 12 defensive player of the year, Schouman said with his body language, Oh, well. I guess that's why I'm at Boise State and you're at Oklahoma. Then he planted hard with his left foot, cutting toward the back of the end zone. Perretta--still sporting his receiving gloves, by the way--had to loft the ball high enough to get it over middle linebacker Zach Latimer, who was only a half step behind Shoe.
The pass was perfect: a firm spiral Schouman snatched before Latimer wiped him out, to no avail.