By scoring with
such ease, Peterson made Petersen's life less complicated. "I decided then
and there that if we scored again, we were going for two," the coach
Easier said than
done. The Broncos needed seven plays to grind out the same 25 yards Peterson
devoured in five seconds. The key players were a pair of undersized
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.
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.
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
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