Moore Belongs In Heisman Conversation
He is too small, his team won’t play any more marquee games until bowl time and there isn’t a lot of hype likely to be generated from a state more famous for its potatoes than its football stars.
But don’t be fooled.
Kellen Moore is the real deal and a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.
Boise State’s brilliant, little quarterback proved it by putting on a working man’s clinic on Labor Day night. He carved up Virginia Tech’s defense with scalpel-like precision, throwing for 215 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
And he left the best for last. With his gritty Broncos down 30-26 with 1:47 left in the game in front of a raucous crowd that included some, oh, 80,000 VaTech partisans, Moore took over on his own 44 yard line. From there, he coolly moved his team downfield, completing three crisp passes before finding Austin Pettis with the 13-yard winning touchdown throw with 1:09 remaining on the clock to make the final score 33-30.
Check that time again. It shows that he moved his team 56 yards in just 38 seconds. Trust me, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady couldn’t have done it better.
A lefty with a feathery soft touch, Moore is a kid who exudes more confidence than most NFL quarterbacks. Maybe it’s because he is the son of a coach, or maybe it’s just that his present coach, Chris Petersen, is college football’s New Big Thing.
Whatever it is, Moore is fun to watch. Hey, I know coming into the season everyone was talking about Heisman incumbent Mark Ingram at Alabama and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Out West, Washington’s Jake Locker was drawing most of the attention.
But for this particular Heisman voter, Moore is right up there near the top. He has to be. That victory last night was historic. Not only did it guarantee Boise State would be in the top five, if not the top two or three, in all the new national polls, it had huge BCS bowl implications.
The Broncos will be favored in every regular-season game from now on, and if, as many suspect, they finish undefeated, and it comes down to them or a one-loss SEC team that has played a much tougher schedule for the right to play for the BCS title, well . . .it will be the Big Enchilada of postseason college football debates.
For now, though, let’s forget that and concentrate on what the mighty mites from the forgotten state achieved on Monday night. That was no cream puff they beat in Landover, Md. Highly ranked Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer are real NCAA heavyweights, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor and their kids played a terrific game themselves, coming from 17-0 down in the first quarter to rally and lead until the final 69 seconds.
Petersen, now a jaw dropping 50-4 at Boise State, belongs right up there with the Nick Sabans, Urban Meyers and Mack Browns of college football. How this guy hasn’t been snapped up by a bigger school is beyond me and everyone else who follows the sport. The closing moments of that unforgettable bowl victory over Oklahoma, when the Broncos pulled off a pair of the finest trick plays anyone ever has witnessed, stamped him as a coming star. But the wait is over. He has officially arrived.
Pettis, the senior wide out from L.A., deserves a lot of credit for that victory Monday night, too. He not only caught two TD passes, including the pressure-filled winning grab, he blocked a punt early that set up another Boise touchdown.
In the end, though, the difference in the game was Moore. Look, I know he’s tiny. ESPN’s latest female sideline reporter looked taller than him in the postgame interview. And NFL scouts probably will slough him off as a kid who won’t be drafted in the early rounds.
But this is a great college quarterback who has only lost one time in his celebrated Broncos career. He doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but then, neither did Joe Montana. What Moore does have is that innate sense of when and how to deliver the ball to just the right receiver.
Playing quarterback is about making good decisions, and I can’t remember anyone who makes as many good ones as this clever little left-hander.
All he did was close out a lively opening week of college football with a clutch big-game performance for the ages. Does he belong in the Heisman conversation?
Are you kidding? Right now, he STARTS the conversation.
— STEVE BISHEFF w