Record-setting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr never did it. Older brother and fellow Bulldogs great David Carr never had a chance.
The three quarterbacks who started between the Carrs never came close to getting the job done on the blue turf.
So here was quarterback Brian Burrell and the Bulldogs, tied with the Broncos and one quarter away from leading Fresno State to a historic victory at Boise State.
But when it mattered most, Burrell and the Bulldogs collapsed, their best offensive weapon was nowhere to be found and Boise State once again prevailed, 37-27, in Mountain West action Friday night before an announced crowd of 35,008 at Albertsons Stadium.
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Burrell and the Bulldogs (3-5, 2-2) in the final quarter gained just 4 total yards and never converted a first down. And Fresno State's defense twice failed to stop Boise State (5-2, 3-1) on fourth downs and surrendered a go-ahead touchdown on a trick play.
"I thought our guys competed like they wanted to win a championship," Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said. "I liked how we came back in the second half.
"Fourth quarter, in a tied ballgame, you've got to find ways to make plays. The story of the game is on third down. We couldn't get off the field (defensively). And third down in the fourth quarter (on offense), we didn't convert. We can't do that."
With the score tied 27-27, Boise State marched 75 yards on 17 plays -- converting on fourth-and-2 from the Bullldogs 45 and fourth-and-1 from the 11 -- and took a 34-27 lead on a reverse pass to quarterback Grant Hedrick for a 9-yard touchdown with 9:11 remaining.
The Broncos faked a fly sweep to the left on Hedrick's handoff to Jeremy McNichols, who then pitched it to Sperbeck on a reverse to the right. Sperbeck then floated the crucial touchdown to a wide-open Hedrick in the end zone.
"It was an unbalanced set. They brought everything to the field, reversed it back to the boundary and the quarterback snuck out," Bulldogs safety Derron Smith said. "There's not much you can do about that in the certain call that we had."
Said Broncos coach Bryan Harsin of the trick plays in Boise State's arsenal: "It's part of what we do. I think they're well-designed and I think they've been well-executed. We are going to continue to do that and find more ways to be creative in that area. They've worked for us in critical situations and we have to continue to find ways to do that."
The Bulldogs offense went three-and-out twice in the fourth and their final drive ended on an interception.
Bulldogs junior running back Marteze Waller ran for 164 yards on 18 carries against a Broncos defense that was one of the best in the nation in stopping the run, allowing 109.5 yards per game (16th in the country). Waller's rushing total was the most the Broncos have allowed this season.
Despite Waller's success -- he averaged 9.1 yards per carry with a long of 76 -- he touched the ball just once in the fourth. And it was for half of the Bulldogs' total yards in the fourth: a 2-yard run.
During last week's 30-27 overtime loss at UNLV, Waller ran for a game-high 137 yards but had just one carry during the Bulldogs' final two drives.
Boise State loaded the box to try to stop the run, which is partly why Bulldogs offensive coordinator Dave Schramm called plays that required Burrell to throw.
But Burrell went 1 for 5 for minus-1 yards in the fourth quarter, took a 10-yard sack on third-and-8 from the Bulldogs 37, and was picked off on the Bulldogs final play while trying to throw downfield into a prevent defense with less than 2 minutes remaining. His most productive play was a 12-yard scramble.
Burrell completed 13 of 25 attempts for 127 yards, one touchdown with one interception in the game. He was sacked five times.
Burrell was Fresno State's second-highest rusher with 10 carries for 19 yards. Backup running back Josh Quezada had three carries for 1 yard.
Waller said he's a quiet type and would never ask for the football. But he added he would like 30 carries a game if he had his choice.
"It hurts a lot losing to Boise State, and we won last year," Waller said. "It hurts a lot."
Contact Bryant-Jon Anteola: email@example.com, (559) 441-6362 or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.
Some early notes from the game:
-- Fresno State scored on its opening drive of the second half for the fourth time this season and for the second straight game. Waller rumbled down field on a 35-yard run and Burrell followed with a pass to receiver Josh Harper on a post route for a 32-yard touchdown as Fresno State reduced Boise State's lead to 20-17 with 14:23 left in the third quarter.
-- Known for its trick plays under former coach Chris Petersen, Boise State stills like to play mind games with defenses under first-year coach Harsin.
Trying to offset some of the momentum that Fresno State gained on a 76-yard run, the Broncos used a double pass for a 29-yard gain on the ensuing drive on second-and-4 to reach the Fresno State 27. Hedrick made a lateral pass to Sperbeck, who fired downfield to a wide-open Troy Ware. Four plays later, the Broncos made a 40-yard field goal to move ahead 13-10.
-- Fresno State made two sacks in the first half with safety Charles Washington registering his first of the year with 1-yard loss on Hedrick for a third-down stop. Bulldogs nose guard Tyeler Davison had a sack for a 9-yard loss for his third of the season.
-- Boise State scored on four straight drives midway through the first half, scoring on a 9-yard touchdown run from running back Jay Ajayi then field goals from 34 and 40 yards before Ajayi ran in another score, from 3 yards. That play gave the Broncos a 20-10 lead with 8:25 to go in the first half..
-- Boise State gained 49 yards on a toss sweep to receiver Shane Rhodes-Williams out of a heavy-set package. The Broncos lined up bunched up and faked a handoff up the middle to Ajayi before giving it to Rhodes-Williams with a toss to the left. On the next play, Ajayi scored on a 9-yard run.
-- Fresno State quarterback Brandon Connette made a first-half appearance after not playing during last week's 30-27 loss at UNLV. The backup came in for for Burrell with 8:25 left in the first half with the Bulldogs down 20-10 and Fresno State starting a drive from its 25. Connette opened the drive with back-to-back runs, losing a yard and gaining 2 before Burrell came back in for third-and-9. Boise State committed a 5-yard penalty, but Fresno State still couldn't convert on third-and-4 as Burrell took a sack with no receivers getting open on a scramble.
-- After avoiding going to kicker Kody Kroening in overtime last week at UNLV, Fresno State turned to its true freshman to cap its second drive. The walk-on responded with a 34-yard field goal to put Fresno State on the scoreboard in the first quarter. The Bulldogs offense had been scoreless in the opening quarter of six of seven games entering Friday. Fresno State also scored in the first quarter on running back Marteze Waller's 76-yard run and the Bulldogs finished with a season-high 139 total yards in the first quarter. The Bulldogs' previous high was 122 total yards gained in the first against San Diego State.