LAS VEGAS – The Boise State football team hoisted senior kicker Michael Frisina into the air and celebrated around him Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“Frisina! Frisina! Frisina!” they chanted.
For a few moments, and for a change, the kicker was the most beloved person in blue and orange.
Frisina made a 27-yard field goal with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining to give the No. 20 Broncos a 28-26 victory over the Washington Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“That had a little to do with the curse, you can call it, that we had,” Boise State sophomore wide receiver Matt Miller said of the celebration. “For him to step up and make a kick, I think it shows we don’t have a kicker problem anymore.”
The Broncos, whose lone losses in 2010 and 2011 occurred when their previous kickers missed potential winning field goals, finished this season with an 11-2 record.
To beat the curse, the Broncos needed true freshman wide receiver and kickoff returner Shane Williams-Rhodes to get a career-best 47-yard return to the UW 42 with less than four minutes to play.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen figured he’d found Frisina’s sweet spot when the time came to call on the kicker, who was accurate on all 13 of field goal tries from 30 yards or less. This would be a 27-yarder.
“He’s been like clockwork,” Petersen said.
Frisina made a solid strike — “I knew I made it right when I hit it,” he said — and the ball sailed about a yard inside the right upright.
On the sideline, many Broncos watched from one knee.
“I thought, ‘Third time’s a charm,’ ” linebacker J.C. Percy said. “I knew Friz was going to make it.”