How the Fiesta Bowls shaped the modern Boise State

All three of the Fiesta Bowls Boise State has appeared in have been won by the university. These wins helped Boise State football to gain national recognition and still influence the university’s campus culture to this day, according to Boise State football Head Coach Brian Harsin.

“I bet if you ask, 95 percent of our team will say the reason why they came to Boise State is because of the Fiesta Bowl and watching our team play in it. I know what this game can do for us. I know how powerful it is,” Harsin said.

The 2007, 2010, and 2014 Fiesta Bowl games were all won by Boise State. These games caused a cultural shift that affects modern Boise State culture.

The 2007 Fiesta Bowl pitted the No. 7 ranked Oklahoma Sooners against the No. 9 ranked Boise State Broncos. According to Bleacher Report, the Broncos came into the game as seven-point underdogs. Boise would go on to win the game 43-42 capping off an undefeated season. The game took two overtimes and a series of trick plays to end.

Former Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky threw for three touchdowns and 262 yards on the day. He followed up with a post game interview.

“It was kind of the typical story of David and Goliath, it’s what [the media] was building up,” Zabransky said. “We knew the media was taking that story and running with it. But for the most part, we did a really good job at not really paying attention to what they were saying.”

For winning the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State received a $4.3 million payout from the Mountain West for representing the conference on the national stage.

Boise State safety Marty Tadman ran back an interception for a touchdown during the game and shared his feelings in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 2016.

“It wasn’t like we went into the game, let’s rewrite history. When we woke up that morning, it was just another game,” Tadman said in the interview. “And by the time I went to bed, everything had changed. That game changed our lives forever. It changed our school’s life. It was just magical. Who would have thought?”

The 2010 Fiesta Bowl featured No. 4 Texas Christian University and No. 9 Boise State. Boise State won the game 17-10, again completing an undefeated season. Bleacher Report had Boise State as seven-point underdogs for the second time.


The 2014 Fiesta Bowl had the lowest-ranked match up of the trilogy with No. 11 University of Arizona facing off against No. 21 Boise State. This was the first season that saw Brian Harsin as the head coach for the Broncos.

Bleacher Report had Boise State as field-goal underdogs this time, yet the game ended 38-30 Boise State.

In a post-game interview, former linebacker Tanner Vallejo gave his take on Boise State’s third Fiesta Bowl win.

“I don’t even know what to say. It’s just a legacy. Like coach says, embrace the past, attack the future and we’re definitely attacking the future right now,” Vallejo said.

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