It has now been three straight Novembers where Boise State, on the precipice of a potential BCS berth, has suffered a tight conference loss.
The last two times, the Broncos have responded well — routing Utah State 50-14 in 2010, then blitzing out to a 42-14 halftime edge in an eventual 52-35 win at San Diego State last year.
Following a 21-19 setback last Saturday against the Aztecs, Boise State will attempt to heal itself quickly in the middle of Pacific with a road title today at Hawaii.
“I think we need a big win this week (for) momentum swings — when we get on a roll, we play a lot better,” senior receiver Chris Potter said. “We need to get that momentum moving.”
No one in the blue and orange would so much as mutter the letters B-C-S, but those on the outside knew the Broncos had a decent shot at one of the lucrative bowls if they won out. That’s not the team’s main goal.
The main goal is to win the Mountain West, and the Broncos have a chance to capture at least a share of it if they win their last three games. With a little help, they could win it outright.
“Our goals are still intact,” junior receiver Kirby Moore said.
Losing is obviously not a preferable outcome for a football player, and at Boise State, it’s an especially rare occasion — there have been, after all, only six of them in the Broncos’ 82 regular-season games under coach Chris Petersen.
When Boise State lost Aug. 31 at Michigan State, it bounced back with a 39-12 win over Miami (Ohio) in the next game, racking up 599 yards, which is still a season-high.
“I think it’s motivating in a sense,” Potter said. “I think it’s something where you go into that next week with more to prove, and I think that’s what we’ll do.”
Now, the Broncos’ attention turns to what Petersen said is the team’s most difficult road trip, traveling to Honolulu. The Warriors have struggled, failing to win this season against an FBS team, but Petersen said the team’s full attention is on Hawaii, where he hopes his team will carry a chip on its shoulder.
“Our goal should be all about Hawaii — period, that’s it,” Petersen said. “… We’ll see if we can refocus and hopefully play the best football we’ve played all year.
“The guys are pretty resilient. I think they’ll come back. Win or lose, we have to have an edge to us.”
The players have reported a fairly standard week of practice, treating it like any other week, not letting emotions get too high or low.
“The loss is behind us,” senior defensive tackle Darren Koontz said. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to do well — win or lose, we figure out what we did well, we correct it and move on.”
Unlike their losses the past two seasons, the Broncos’ loss to San Diego State didn’t come down to a missed kick — they didn’t even got the shot to attempt one. The Aztecs wore down the clock late on the stout Boise State defense, and the Broncos’ offense mustered only 41 yards outside their three touchdown-scoring drives.
The short-term goal of getting back on the winning side seems to be pushing the Broncos more than thinking about the long-term. Little will get that focus back in the right area than coming off a loss.
“Everybody made mistakes, and they can go out and better those (today),” senior linebacker J.C. Percy said. “Everybody’s got a little bit of frustration built up. We look forward to the next game and being able to take it out on somebody.”