Special-teams plays set up three TDs for Boise State vs. Fresno State (with video recap)

Brian Murphy and I discuss the game.

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

FRESNO, Calif. — The Boise State football team’s two turnovers gave Fresno State a chance to run away Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The Broncos’ special teams reeled the Bulldogs back in before they lost 41-40.

Boise State executed a fake punt and set up three touchdowns with two long kickoff returns and a pooch-kickoff recovery. Plus, junior kicker Dan Goodale was 2-for-2 on field goals and Fresno State’s star punt returner, Isaiah Burse, finished with minus-1 yard.

“Fresno has a great special teams unit as well,” Boise State sophomore safety and special-teamer Dillon Lukehart said. “It was kind of a special-teams battle tonight. We knew that coming in and we feel pretty good about how special teams went.”

Junior wide receiver Dallas Burroughs replaced Shane Williams-Rhodes as the primary kickoff returner and showed his explosive speed. He returned a kickoff 55 yards in the second quarter, after Fresno State took a 17-10 lead. That led to a touchdown.

Burroughs delivered again with a 58-yarder late in the third quarter, when it was 34-19. Aaron Baltazar scored on a 35-yard run on the next play.

Burroughs is from Rocky Mountain High in Meridian.

“I knew him in high school,” said Lukehart, who played at Eagle. “It’s good to see him burning people out here, too.”

The second return looked like it could have gone for a touchdown. Burroughs cut to the inside when Chris Santini was walling off the sideline.

“I thought maybe we should have even had more out of (the kickoff returns),” coach Chris Petersen said, “so we’ll have to look at those.”

Special teams coach Scott Huff also dipped into his bag of tricks.

Down 12 in the third quarter, the Broncos used a fake punt. Senior punter Trevor Harman tossed a pass to Lukehart on fourth-and-6 from their own 19-yard line — and Lukehart rumbled 30 yards. That drive didn’t result in points, but it flipped the field position.

And down two in the fourth quarter, Goodale booted a high, short kickoff down the middle of the field. Fresno State tight end Marcel Jensen couldn’t handle it and true freshman linebacker Tanner Vallejo came out of the pile with the ball. The Broncos scored four plays later for their first lead.

“Sometimes we’ll get it; sometimes we know it’s not going to go to their good returner,” Petersen said. “We know from experience those balls are hard to handle. They are hand to communicate and that stuff happens to us a lot in practice.”

The one hiccup on special teams was a failed two-point conversion in the first half — points that haunted the Broncos at the end of the night. The Broncos have been using swinging-gate PAT plays in the first half of games for years. They tried one trailing 17-16. Holder Matt Miller kept but didn’t get in the end zone.

“It was wide open,” Petersen said. “We just have to execute.”


Coach Chris Petersen

Here are some leftover notes and quotes from the game:

— Boise State QB Joe Southwick’s injured throwing arm could be a problem next week. Click on the notebook in the story list below for more. Not in there is this quote from Petersen: “Everybody is playing hurt. He has to play hurt, too, and he did and that’s fine. … He’s hurting a little bit but he can still play.”

— Wide receiver Kirby Moore: “It was going to be the last team that had the ball and obviously we didn’t make the most of that.”

— Southwick on the final throw: “They were going to blitz and they did. So I got the ball out, put it in the best spot I could, and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

— Lukehart: “We are a young team but we’ve got a lot of fire and we’re determined. This is something we’re going to use to our advantage and to motivate us to keep going and fight and come together and regroup.”

— Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski: “I’m never gonna make excuses for (youth). We’ve just got to get better and the only way to do that is to go back to practice and keep working to get better. If we do that, we will get better. … They’ll rebound. They’re resilient. They’re competitors. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Fresno’s a good team, all we can worry about is what we can do to get better. We’re focusing on the next game and what we’ve got to do as a defense, as individuals, as coaches, as everything, to get better.”


It was an emotional win for Fresno State. Coach Tim DeRuyter, who was just 0-1 against Boise State but inherited the burden of trying to beat the Broncos, choked up in his postgame interview on the field. Here’s what he said in the postgame press conference:

“I think in a lot of people’s minds this game is the measuring stick to see where you are in this conference and to get past that is huge, not only for this team, but hopefully for future teams. Also for our fan base, I know they are tired of seeing this Milk Can up in Boise. I’m glad our California dairy guys can be proud when they go to the Ag Fest this coming spring and know that the Milk Can is here in Fresno.”

Here is a full Fresno State quote sheet.



Here are links to our stories from last night. Because of how late the game ended, most of these have additional quotes and information that weren’t in this morning’s newspaper.

Game story
Murphy column
Drive chart
Live coverage and press conference videos
Photo gallery

QB Joe Southwick

Read our coverage on your iPhone or Android phone.

Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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