Saturday, San Diego State walked into Bronco Stadium and showed just how awed they are by the place. On the first play of the game, the Aztecs returned a kick 100 yards to quiet the home crowd. The Broncos' normally stout kickoff coverage unit left a seam and the Aztecs pounced.
Whatever BCS dreams the Bronco faithful entered the stadium with were quickly replaced with a sense of concern, of worry, of dread. Of another season being sunk by one loss.
San Diego State wasn't going away. The Aztecs, winners of four straight and soon-to-be rivals in the Big East, just kept coming and coming.
Boise State's 78-3 record at home — the best in the nation — didn't mean much.
The Broncos kept sputtering. An interception on the first play of the second half by quarterback Joe Southwick flipped the field and, outside of one late charge in the fourth quarter, the Broncos had no answers.
And then it was over. No last hurrah. No missed field goal at the end. No BCS. Maybe no conference title. Just a stadium emptying out, quietly. San Diego State chewed up the clock, then sung the fight song with their fans.
Beaten. Simply beaten. Beaten at home. A place where the Broncos never used to lose. Where they always found a way.
The aura is gone — and it's not coming back.
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