2001 Miami vs. 2006 Boise State
Read the following capsules on this first-round game in the team of the decade tournament, and then vote along the right-hand side of the page for who you think should win. YOU decide who wins!
#1 2001 Miami
Led by junior quarterback Ken Dorsey (pictured), the Hurricanes dominated everybody on the schedule in their first ten games before narrowly escaping Blacksburg with a 26-24 win over Virginia Tech.
That win concluded an undefeated regular season, and Miami went on to destroy an overmatched Nebraska team in the Rose Bowl 37-14 to win the national championship.
This is the team that handed Joe Paterno his worst home loss ever when the ‘Canes beat Penn State 33-7 in the season opener.
For the season, Miami averaged 42.6 points per game, while allowing only 9.75.
Offense: The offense was unstoppable, as Dorsey finished as one of the most efficient passers in the country, but he was surrounded by megastars. The starting running back was Clinton Portis, who finished with 1,304 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Backing up Portis was future All-Pro Frank Gore, who carried the ball 64 times for 565 yards, an average of 8.8 yards per carry.
If that’s not enough, the third-string back was Willis McGahee, who actually finished with more carries then Gore (69) but ran for only 321 yards in his freshman season.
It probably helped the stable of running backs, which could have probably supplanted half of NFL team’s backfields at that very moment, to have a couple all-Americans on the offensive line. Bryant McKinnie was the left tackle, and he finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy that season.
On the other side, Joaquin Gonzalez secured the right tackle spot. He was joined on the line by all-Big East selection Martin Bibla at left guard, and Brett Rombrg at center. Four-fifths of the all-conference team’s offensive line played for the Hurricanes.
Dorsey had plenty of options in the passing game, too. Andre Johnson emerged as a big-time playmaker in 2001, catching 12 touchdowns.
Jeremy Shockey replaced Bubba Franks that season at tight end and was magnificent. He caught 45 passes (one more than Johnson) for 604 yards and eight touchdowns.
Defense: With the lineup coach Larry Coker sent out on the field defensively, he could have had Northwestern High School out of Miami’s offense take the field rather than his own.
Jerome McDougle and William Joseph led the defensive line. Both of them would be future first-round draft picks.
At linebacker, D.J. Williams was a monster on the outside, while his partner in the middle was future Pro Bowler Jonathan Vilma. An unbelievable linebacking corps for Miami would easily have been the best unit on about any other team, but not Miami.
The secondary that season was unparalleled in terms of speed, tackling, and that Miami swagger everybody talks about. The leader of that unit, the defense, and the entire team for that matter was safety Ed Reed. The most vocal on a team of quite a few loudmouths, Reed backed up his talk with sensation play.
Also in the secondary were Philip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, and James Lewis. All three, plus Reed, would be taken in the NFL draft.
Special Teams: Punter Freddy Capshaw was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s top punter, and kicker Todd Sievers was a finalist for the Groza award for best kicker. Gore returned kickoffs, while Buchanon handled punt returns.
During the Hurricanes’ 12-0 season, they won three games by at least 50 points, four by at least 40, six by at least 30, and ten by at least 20. With a roster full of future stars in the NFL, it was clear why Miami was one of the most talented college football teams in history.
#16 2006 Boise State
They were the team of destiny for the ages. The Broncos started the season unranked and largely unnoticed by the national media, but by the end of the season they had run through their schedule undefeated and finished ranked ninth.
They were the feel-good story of the season before the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. After stunning the Sooners in unrealistic fashion, they became America’s favorite little program.
With an array of trick plays towards the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, they might as well have renamed the game the Barnum and Bailey’s Bowl for the circus it resembled in the closing moments.
After winning that game, they finished the season 13-0, the only unbeaten team in the country. If there was ever a year where a postseason playoff was needed, 2006 was it, because Boise sealed their argument that they belonged with the best teams in America.
Offense: Jared Zabransky had a roller coaster of a career as the Broncos’ quarterback, but his senior season was a slam-dunk finish to his tenure. He finished the season as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. He completed 66 percent of his passes, to go with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The true leader of the Broncos’ offense was running back Ian Johnson, who rolled through opponents all season with 25 touchdowns, tops in the country. In an offense widely perceived to be a wide-open, spread ‘em out, pass-happy offense, Johnson nixed that persona by rushing for 1714 yards while averaging over 6 yards per carry.
The passing game was very balanced, however. Six players had at least 14 receptions; at least four of them had 275 yards and four touchdowns.
The offense was not explosive in the most orthodox way. It relied on Johnson’s running game to beat down the defensive front seven, while averaging less than nine yards per passing attempt, yet they still averaged 40 points per game.
Defense: It was quite suspect. They allowed 17.6 points per game, but in several games they nearly cost the Broncos an unbeaten season. Hawaii scored 34 points against them in a seven-point win. New Mexico State and Idaho scored 28 and 26 points, respectively in the middle of the season.
When they were motivated, it was clear they had the tools to be dominant. In the two biggest regular season games of the season, they held Oregon State to 14 points, and held Utah to only three.
Against Oklahoma, they held the Sooners to 10 points through nearly three full quarters, before blowing an 18-point lead late in the game and failing to stop the Sooners in the overtime period. In fact, they allowed Adrian Peterson to score on the possession’s first play.
The leader of the defense was Korey Hall, the linebacker who was named player of the year in the WAC. An all-around football player, Hall has converted to fullback in the NFL and has a vital role as the starter for the Green Bay Packers.
Special Teams: Although he was rarely needed in important situations, Anthony Montgomery was an extremely reliable kicker. He converted 13 of 14 field goal attempts, though only one of which came from beyond 40 yards. The Broncos’ offense was so unstoppable that often times Montgomery only stepped onto the field for extra points and kickoffs.
This team’s run was magical enough to gain admission into Hogwarts. Even after winning the Fiesta Bowl, the manner in which it was won still leaves them with a legacy as the ultimate underdog.That is a farce. The 2006 Boise State Broncos could have lined up against any team on any field, and surely would have left with their heads held high.