Even the Camera Man was Faked Out: Memories of Boise State’s 2007 Fiesta Bowl Win

Eight friends and I simultaneously jumped from our chairs, pumped our fists in the air, and screamed with delight. Jared Zabransky had just completed an old fashioned “Statue of Liberty” play to Ian Johnson for a two-point conversion, to win the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The Boise State Broncos had beaten the Oklahoma Sooners.

We were at a social club in Pocatello, close to four hours from Boise, Idaho State Bengal territory. But that night, Bosie State Bronco fever had spread across the state. Everyon was bleeding blue.

Making matters more incredulous, the Statue of Liberty (a trick play which rarely works) followed a hook and ladder that put them in position to score.

According to coverage of the game by USA today:

Boise State pulled more rabbits out of its underdog helmet than Houdini on Monday. The old hook-and-ladder. A touchdown pass from a wide receiver. And don’t forget the Broncos’ version of the Statue of Liberty play. It all added up to an improbable 43-42 overtime victory against Oklahoma in one of the wildest finishes in the 36-year history of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

The boys from Boise, champs of the Western Athletic Conference, their presence in this game questioned because of their schedule, turned into BCS-busting men.

The winning play was so well executed, even the camera man was faked out. Most videos of the play clearly show Zabransky pretending to throw the ball to the right (with what was actually an empty hand) while dishing the ball to Johnson on his left. But there is a secret, known mostly to those of us with first-hand memories from watching the game. Those videos are shots from a secondary camera man. That night, what viewers saw was the fake throw to the right. It wasn’t until a few seconds later that the television screen switched to show Johnson in the end zone.

In addition to criticisms of Boise State’s schedule, criticisms of Zabransky were rampant that year. Some said he made too many mistakes. But one thing was for sure, when that quarterback got a read, he always hit his target.

This bowl had impact far beyond football. In the first week after the Fiesta Bowl, application inquiries to Boise State’s Graduate College increased 10-fold and online inquiries to their Admissions Office jumped 135 percent … what a game!

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