Commentary

Boise State's value of experience

Wonder why the Broncos are so good? They've been together for years

Originally Published: November 3, 2010
By Tim Keown | ESPN The Magazine
Getty ImagesThe 2010 Boise State Broncos might be one of the most experienced teams in college football history.

Austin Pettis remembers nothing. It's tricky to explain, because this kind of nothing was a presence, not an absence. It invaded the Boise State Broncos' huddle as 11 Broncos came together to face the 56 yards that lay ahead with 1:47 remaining and the then-No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies leading by four in the season-opening game. This nothing meant something.

The huddle felt hermetically sealed. No sounds -- not a thing -- seeped in from a mostly hostile crowd of more than 86,000. Inside, breathing was measured and doubt nonexistent as the world narrowed to 11 guys and 56 yards. To get there -- and they did get there, in all of 38 seconds -- the Broncos relied on feeling nothing. Pettis shrugs. It's hard to explain how those experiencing something extraordinary define it by its ordinariness. It was just another two-minute drill, like the ones he and his teammates had run at practice every Wednesday afternoon for the past three years.

"It was the big stage, but it didn't feel like it," says the senior wideout. "It just felt like, I don't know, like what we do. Experience leads to confidence."

Tim Keown | email

Senior writer, ESPN.com