Freshman Brock Forsey typifies Boise State. Given an opportunity to show his stuff, the seldom-used running back demonstrated that he could play.
Just like the Broncos.
Forsey rushed for 152 yards and helped Boise State, in its fourth season since moving up from Division I-AA, to a 34-31 victory Thursday over Louisville in the Humanitarian Bowl.
“I didn’t expect to have this good of a game,” Forsey said. “I knew I’d do a good job running the ball, but I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line. They opened a lot of holes for me.”
Five years ago, the Big West champion Broncos (10-3) played in the I-AA Big Sky Conference. In their first Division I bowl game, they matched the Cardinals (7-5) of Conference USA push for push.
Forsey, seeing the most action of his season, was named the game’s most valuable player.
“At the start of the season, Brock came to me and said he was mad that he wasn’t getting to play more,” Boise State Coach Dirk Koetter said. “I said he needed to improve in some areas, and he did.”
Meanwhile, Boise State quarterback Bart Hendricks outdueled Louisville’s Chris Redman, a top NFL prospect playing his last college game.
Hendricks, who didn’t throw an interception, completed 20 of 39 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. He also seemed to come up with big plays when the Broncos needed them most, scrambling for a first down or finding an open receiver.
Forsey was just as hard to stop. He ran for 86 yards in the second half, with a 26-yard burst that keyed the game-winning drive. The 60-yard scoring drive began after Forsey’s 39-yard kickoff return.
He returned two kickoffs for 67 yards and also caught a 50-yard pass to the Louisville 27 to set up Nick Calaycay’s 26-yard field goal that tied the game, 24-24, early in the third quarter. He finished with 269 all-purpose yards.
Redman was 26 of 47 for 314 yards but his three interceptions, one returned 80 yards for a touchdown by Shaunard Harts, were too much for the Cardinals to overcome. The NCAA career leader with 1,031 completions and 1,679 attempts, Redman was selected Louisville’s MVP.
The Cardinals also limited their chances by committing 14 penalties for 120 yards.
“We just needed to do things better,” Coach John L. Smith said. “We made coaching mistakes. That’s a lot of it, but offensively, we turned it over and that hurt us. Defensively, we were not able to stop them when we needed to.”
Louisville’s final chance was a slim one after Jeff Edwards pinned them inside the one with a 44-yard punt inside the last two minutes.
When Boise State’s Kareem Williams intercepted Redman’s pass with 46 seconds to play, the Humanitarian Bowl record crowd of 29,283 erupted in cheers.