From 2008-2011, the NCAA's Boise State Broncos were known for their prolific offence based around the arm of star quarterback Kellen Moore. With Moore off to the NFL this year, though, the Broncos' offence has taken several steps back, and Thursday night in a nationally-televised clash with BYU, their offence didn't register a single point. However, the Broncos still came away with a 7-6 victory, with all the points coming off a rather unexpected play by Canadian Michael "Bacon" Atkinson:
Yes, Atkinson is the Boise State nose tackle. Yes, you don't expect nose tackles to make interceptions, and you certainly don't expect them to somehow evade defenders for 35 yards and a touchdown after the catch. Even if the way Atkinson stepped up is surprising, though, it's not all that remarkable that he's making big plays. Atkinson started six games for the Broncos last year as a redshirt junior, no small feat on a defence that was ranked 12th nationally, and many expected him to thrive after taking over as a regular starter this season. His potential was always evident, and it's a big reason why the Hamilton Tiger-Cats took him 20th overall in this year's CFL draft. If Atkinson can continue to make plays like this as the year goes on, Boise State may find ways to succeed without Moore. It's somewhat odd when a Canadian defensive tackle produces your entire collection of points (well, minus the convert) in a win, but the Broncos won't be complaining. Neither will the Tiger-Cats, as that play certainly suggests they may have an impressive prospect headed their way in the future.