On January 1, 2007, the Boise State Broncos permanently put themselves on the national football map with three plays that shocked the world in a stunning overtime victory against heavily-favored Oklahoma. For Texas fans watching, the fact that the victory came against the hated Sooners only made it that much sweeter.
After blowing a 28-10 lead achieved halfway through the third quarter, the BCS-busting Broncos had to break out the bold to overcome Bob Stoops and his Sooners late. With 18 seconds remaining, it was desperation time for Bryan Harsin's offense facing 4th and 15 from midfield. So Harsin and head coach Chris Petersen dialed up "Circus," a hook-and-ladder play that featured three possible lateral options.
The Broncos only needed one, as Drisan James caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Jared Zabransky, then took three steps into the middle of the field to draw the defense as Jerard Rabb ran the "hook," receiving the lateral from James and sprinting towards the sideline before diving into the endzone with seven seconds remaining to tie the game. With the extra point, the two teams had combined for 22 points in the final 86 seconds of regulation.
A 25-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown on the first play of overtime gave Oklahoma the lead, forcing the Broncos to respond with a touchdown. Facing a 4th and 2 from the Sooner five yardline, it was time for another trick play. Running a variant of the Wildcat offense, quarterback Zabransky motioned out wide, leaving the Sooners expecting a run from Vinny Perretta in the shotgun -- a play Boise State had used that season against Nevada.
Instead, Perretta faked the run, then threw over the top of the defense to tight end Derek Shouman in the end zone, who brought in the throw with an Oklahoma defender closing late.
The play that followed was perhaps the boldest of all. Knowing that the physically overmatched Broncos might not be able to score with Oklahoma given one or more overtime periods, Petersen and Harsin eschewed the easy extra point to go for the victory.
The Bronco coaches called for a Statue of Liberty play, called "Statue Left" by the team. The quarterback faked a throw to the right with the ball in his left hand, which he wrapped around his back for running back Ian Johnson, who followed the blocks of Shouman and left tackle Ryan Clady into the endzone untouched to pull off the upset.
Listen and watch Harsin describe the plays himself:
3 Plays That Shocked The World, 2007 Fiesta Bowl (via raysinboise)
While trick plays are only a small portion of what Harsin will bring to the new Texas offense in 2011, the resounding Fiesta Bowl victory over the Sooners demonstrated that when the game calls for bold action, Harsin isn't afraid take calculated risks. More than that, it's the work put in on those plays during practice and the absolute belief from the players involved that allows them to work.
Bring on the bold, Bryan.