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Remembering Boise State’s “Canadian Bacon”

Who Was “Candian Bacon”

This is a time of solemn reflection. It is a time when all Bronco fans everywhere should doff their hats, bow their head, and humble their hearts in reverential recognition of one of the great Boise State Broncos, Michael Atkinson, otherwise known to Bronco fans as “Canadian Bacon.”

Michael came to Boise from the land up north (Canada) to stake a claim in Boise State lore. He stood six foot and slab of bacon over 300.

It was his exploits on the blue that endeared him the Bronco fans forever. He was a nose tackle with a nose for the football.

The Game

It was September 20, 2012, one year after the departure of Kellen Moore. It was near the end of the Chris Petersen era. The offensive explosiveness and punch seen by Bronco fans for at least a decade had all but vanished and began to take hold only as a memory.

The Broncos were hosting BYU on that date. At halftime, the score stood 0-0. Boise kicked off to the Cougars to open the second half.

On the first series of the half, BYU faced a third and six on their 38-yard line. Cougar quarterback, Riley Nelson, dropped back to pass.

Unexpectedly, the Bronco nose tackle, Atkinson, dropped into short coverage. Nelson looked for his short receiver not expecting Atkinson to be in coverage. Atkinson intercepted a pass a rumbled 36 yards for a pick-six. That proved to be Boise’s only score.

The Broncos hung on to a seven-point lead into the closing minutes of the game.

A gimpy Taysom Hill had replaced Nelson at quarterback for BYU. Hill scored from four yards with a little more than 3 minutes remaining to bring the game to within one—7-6.

BYU decided a roll of the dice on the extra point and go for two. A pass attempt was batted down in the end zone.

Michael Atkinson’s heads-up play saved the Bronco’s bacon.


About Kenton Lewis

Kenton Lewis
Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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