Now the Las Vegas Bowl must hope its football game is as good as the recent basketball game between Boise State and Oregon.
The Broncos beat Oregon on Friday on a half-court shot at the buzzer to end the Ducks’ 46-game home winning streak.
Maybe only a Hail Mary pass into the end zone will top that drama when the schools meet at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Sam Boyd Stadium. ABC will televise the game.
“I think the matchup for both teams is good,” Broncos coach Bryan Harsin said. “We know about each other, and there is a history there. I think it is something that both sides are going to be looking forward to. We certainly are. This is a football team that our guys have followed and seen over the years and now they get a chance to play them. I know we have played them in the past, and the guys know the history between Boise State and Oregon, so we will be looking forward to it.”
The teams met in 2008 and 2009, with Boise State winning both games. In the second meeting, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount punched Broncos defensive end Byron Hout in the jaw after the game.
There is a strong local feel to this matchup. Boise State offensive lineman John Molchon went to Faith Lutheran High School and defensive end Derriyon Shaw to Legacy. Oregon has three locals — offensive linemen Tyrell Crosby (Green Valley) and Sam Poutasi (Desert Pines) and defensive lineman Elijah George (Arbor View).
“I’m sure our fans will enjoy the trip to Las Vegas to watch the Ducks, and we will continue to work to have our team prepared and focused for a nationally ranked opponent,” Oregon coach Willie Taggart said. “Our players, especially Tyrell Crosby and our Nevada natives, are looking forward to this opportunity, and we hope to see a lot of green in the stands on Dec. 16 in Las Vegas.”
Whether Taggart is also there remains to be seen. Taggart, a Florida native, is considered a top candidate for the coaching job at Florida State, which is in the market after Jimbo Fisher dumped his Christmas tree on the front lawn and bolted for Texas A&M last week. Taggart has deflected questions ab0ut the Seminoles’ opening, telling reporters that “there is no decision to be made.”
Whether he stays or goes, the bowl landed an attractive matchup of two nationally known programs that are peaking at the right time.
Oregon (7-5) has won three of four games, including a 69-10 blowout of Pac-12 Conference rival Oregon State on Nov. 25. No. 25 Boise State (10-3) won eight of its final nine games, avenging its one defeat in that span Saturday with a 17-14 victory over Fresno State in the Mountain West title game.
“This is one that we had our eye on a few weeks ago,” bowl executive director John Saccenti said. “Didn’t know if it was going to happen. We needed a lot of help. We had conversations with both schools. They both really wanted to come here.”
Oregon last played here in 2006 when it lost 38-8 to Brigham Young. Boise State played in this game from 2010 to 2012, winning all three years.
“The fans miss us a little bit,” Saccenti said. “They want to come to Vegas. With Boise, there’s a perfect tie-in with the (National Finals Rodeo) overlapping a little bit this year, so a lot of their fans will be down here as well.”
Las Vegas Bowl
Who: Boise State (10-3, 7-1 Mountain West) vs. Oregon (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12 Conference)
When: Dec. 16, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
Top players: Boise State — QB Brett Rypien has passed for 2,515 yards and 14 touchdowns. Oregon — RB Royce Freeman has russhed for 1,475 yards and 16 TDs.
Notable: Boise State — The Broncos avenged a loss to Fresno State the week before by beating the Bulldogs 17-14 in the Mountain West title game on Saturday. Oregon — The Ducks finished the season on a two-game winning streak, thrashing Arizona and rival Oregon State to reach seven victories in coach Willie Taggart’s first season.
Last time: Boise State 19 beat Oregon 14 on Sept. 3, 2009.
Bowl history: Boise State — This will be the Broncos’ 16th consecutive bowl appearance, tied for sixth-best in the nation with Wisconsin. They are 11-6 overall in bowl appearances and 3-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl (2010-12). Oregon — This will be the Ducks’ 12th bowl appearance in the last 13 years. They are 13-17 overall in bowl appearances and 1-1 in the Las Vegas Bowl (beat Air Force in 1997, lost to Brigham Young in 2006).
— The Associated Press