This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Utah Utes taking on Boise State University Broncos in the 19th annual Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Boise State, 11-1, 7-1 WAC, ran through the regular season with 11 consecutive wins and was among the top five in both the AP poll and the BCS rankings as it possessed both one of the most aggressive offenses in the country, and a defense that few opponents could penetrate. But it all came crashing down for the Broncos on November 26th in Reno when missed field goals near the end of regulation and in overtime left the team with a 34-31 loss to nationally-ranked Nevada. The most anticipated game on the Western Athletic Conference schedule and it came down to kicker Kyle Brotzman and two make-able field goals that went astray. Not only did the miscues bring threats of harm and far-reaching resentment for Brotzman, it also gave the BCS the out they were looking for as BSU head coach Chris Petersen made it clear that there were a number of plays that could have decided the outcome in favor of his squad.
Boise State’s offense might not run exclusively, but being ranked 24th in the nation and second in the WAC with 200.1 ypg means that the Broncos can certainly do damage in that mode and the Utes will have to prepare for such an attack. The newest in a line of tough-nosed running backs for BSU, Doug Martin ran for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging six yards per attempt. In Addition, Jeremy Avery also reprised his role as one of the most elusive runners around as he turned in 440 yards and added 11 touchdowns runs as well.
But make no mistake, this Boise State offense rests in the capable hands of junior signal-caller Kellen Moore who was not only named the WAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, he was also invited to New York to take part in the Heisman Trophy festivities (he finished fourth in the voting). Moore was second in the nation in passing efficiency with a 185.04 rating as he threw for 3,506 yards and 33 touchdowns with just five interceptions. As a starter, Moore is now 37-2 in three seasons and for his efforts he’s been named the WAC’s Freshman of the Year in 2008, and was the WAC Offensive Player of the Year last season.
But with so much attention being given to Moore and an offense that ranks second in the nation in scoring with 46 ppg, it is easy to forget that Boise State also has one of the stingiest defenses in all of college football, limiting foes to just 13 points and 259.3 total yards per game, both of which rank the team fourth in the nation. Ryan Winterswyk earned most of the attention heading into and during the season as he logged seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, but because he was on the scouting report for every opponent, that opened the door for teammates like Tyrone Crawford who tallied a team-high 13 TFLs and accounted for 6.5 sacks, and Shea McClellin who made the most of his 26 overall stops by recording a team-best 8.5 sacks. Wrap it all up and Boise State was first in the nation with 3.75 sacks per game and second in TFLs with 8.3 per outing.
As for the Utes, 10-2, 7-1 MWC, they too were one of the hottest teams in the nation early on in the campaign with eight straight wins out of the box however, showed more than just a few cracks in the armor on November 6th when the team hosted TCU and was run out of the building in a 47-7 final. The devastating setback certainly raised more than a few eyebrows as people began to wonder what the true identity of this top-10 team really was.
A week later a trip to South Bend made it even more clear that Utah had been the beneficiary of some weak competition on the early part of the schedule as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the Utes soundly in a 28-3 final. Seven days later the Utes were again on trial, this time at San Diego State, and again the program nearly rolled over and died before slipping by with a 38-34 victory. Add a narrow 17-16 win over a resurgent BYU group and Utah is making its eighth straight bowl appearance.
During much of the 2010 season the Utah offense was unrivaled, scoring at will against defenseless opponents who couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. However, in crunch time the Utes experienced a power outage as they scored a combined 27 points in three games against TCU, Notre Dame and BYU during the final month of the regular season. Quarterback Jordan Wynn had some rough outings for the group, yet he still finished the campaign by completing better than 62 percent of his pass attempts for 233.4 ypg and 17 touchdowns, against 10 interceptions on 299 attempts.
Jereme Brooks and DeVonte Christopher were the big outlets for Wynn as they combined to make 89 catches for 1,288 yards and 10 touchdowns, but it was really the efforts of Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata coming out of the backfield that dictated what the passing attack was able to accomplish. Wide finished with 11 touchdowns and close to five yards per carry as he split time with Asiata who returned with 673 yards and 8 touchdowns of his own.
At 6-4 the Broncos don’t have that much of a bowl pedigree, but when you consider that record dates back to just 1999 one has to be impressed with the program’s consistency in making it to the postseason in the first place. Last season the team was pitted against another non-BCS squad in TCU and captured a hard-fought 17-10 battle in the Fiesta Bowl. The Utes, have a record of 12-4 in bowl games dating back to a 26-0 beating of New Mexico in the 1939 Sun Bowl, have won nine consecutive postseason dates and that’s the longest active streak in the nation and tied for the second-longest of all-time. Last year, the team defeated California in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego by a score of 37-27 under head coach Kyle Whittingham. Boise State has won four of the previous six encounters.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the ESPN2 network and it features Boise State University Broncos taking on the University of Idaho Vandals at Kibbie Dome.
Winners of 22 consecutive games, the nation’s longest streak right now, head coach Chris Petersen has his Broncos battling opponents on the gridiron on a weekly basis, but also they’ve been fighting the misconception that being from the WAC means that they can’t compete against teams from the power conferences. As hard as they try, the Broncos can’t break free of the stigma of being from a non-BCS conference and it continues to hurt their chances of challenging for the national title.
The Boise State offense, as powerful as ever, added a new wrinkle to its attack last week when it went almost exclusively with a no-huddle format in the first half against the Hawaii. The approach went over very well as the team produced a 21-0 lead at the break and went on to win by five touchdowns, 42-7 loss. Kellen Moore, who is now the school’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns, converted 30-of-37 passes for a career-high 507 yards and three TDs. On the ground, it was Jeremy Avery with 92 yards and three TDs on 10 carries as the offense set a new school record with 737 yards in a single game.
Moore has thrown for multiple TDs in every game this season and has an efficiency rating off the charts at 192.38. He ranks third in the conference and 17th in the nation in total offense with just 293.5 ypg, but that’s because he rarely plays a full 60 minutes.
Defensively the Broncos stomped all over Hawaii, taking down the nation’s leading passer Bryant Moniz seven times behind the line of scrimmage. Boise State is the only team in the country that ranks in the top-five in both total offense and total defense.
As for the Vandals, a team that made it to a bowl game and won last year, the window for head coach Robb Akey squad making it to the postseason again is beginning to close rather quickly. With four games remaining on a 13-game schedule, Idaho has just four wins to show for its efforts and is trying to shake off a two-game slide entering this week. Last Saturday the team hosted nationally-ranked Nevada and was taken apart by the Wolf Pack in a 63-17 final. The 63 points allowed were the most since the Broncos put up the same number last year, just weeks after Nevada delivered a crushing 70-45 decision in Reno in 2009.
Idaho’s quarterback Nathan Enderle converted 15-of-34 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown, adding a rushing score as well, but all alone he was no match for the fury of the Nevada offense. Under the gun the entire game, the Vandals never really had a chance to get their rushing attack in gear and it finished with a mere 68 yards.
Enderle has tried to give his team a fighting chance, helping the passing attack to generate 330.8 ypg to rank second in the conference and fourth in the nation at the moment, but without a reliable running back or two to do some additional damage opponents know just how to hit the Vandals. Idaho’s offensive line has put Enderle and his backup in quite a number of awkward positions as the squad gives up 3.5 sacks per game to rank 117th in the country.
In addition to permitting a whopping 453 yards rushing, the Idaho defense was taken apart by an aerial attack that added another 391 yards and six TDs. The Vandals failed to log a single sack and came up with just five tackles for loss, one of those tallied by Tre’Shawn Robinson who posted a game-high 16 stops.
The squad is giving up a hefty 197.8 ypg on the ground and another 239.0 ypg through the air.
BSU has won every meeting since 1999 and is now ahead of the Vandals by a count of 21-17.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the ESPN2 network and it features Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs taking on Boise State University Broncos at Bronco Stadium.
Head coach Sonny Dykes is in his first year of head coaching and enters tonight’s matchup with a 3-4 overall record and 2-1 in Western Athletic Conference after spending two years as offensive coordinator under Mike Stoops. The Bulldogs last weekend beat Idaho 48-35 at home to build a two game winning streak and look to take that momentum on the road.
The Bulldogs are lead by senior quarterback Ross Jenkins, 885 yards 6 touchdowns 2 INTs, who missed three of the teams four losses due to an injury. The Bulldogs though are glad to have Jenkins back at full strength since he is completing 70.5 percent of his throws.
Coach Dykes likes to put the ball in the air and that rings benefits for junior wide receiver Taulib Ikharo, 309 yards 1 touchdown, and sophomore Richie Casey, 308 yards 2 touchdowns, as they both have over 25 receptions. The rushing attack is handled by Tennessee transfer junior Lennon Creer, 568 yards 4 touchdowns, who is averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
Head coach Chris Petersen has his Broncos once again perfect on the season and trying to get voters to give them a shot at the BCS National Championship game. The Broncos are 6-0 overall with a 2-0 record in the WAC and are playing in the schools first ever Tuesday night game. The offensive duties are handled by junior quarterback Kellen Moore, 1567 yards 16 touchdowns 1 INT, who has been only sack twice on the year allowing him to stay upright and complete 69.5 percent of his throws. He leads team that is 4th in nation in scoring and 13th in passing yards per game.
When Moore looks down field he often looks in the direction of senior wide receiver Titus Young, 581 yards 4 touchdowns, and senior Austin Pettis, 387 yards 4 touchdowns, to move the chains. The rushing attack turned into a two running back system ever since D.J. Harper was lost for the season. The majority of the rushing carries are given to junior Doug Martin, 544 yards 4 touchdowns, who is averaging 7.4 yards per carry but the short yardage situations are handled by senior Jeremy Avery, 192 yards 5 touchdowns.
Defensively the Broncos are only allowing 12 points per game which is good for 2nd best in the nation.
Louisiana Tech has dropped eight in a row to the Broncos, including a 45-35 defeat last season.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the ABC network and it features the Oregon State University Beavers taking on Boise State University Broncos in Idaho.
Boise State hasn’t lost a regular-season game at home in more than nine years and have the second longest winning streak at 16, only Alabama. The Broncos have won 56 consecutive home games in the regular season since a 41-20 loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001. Head coach Chris Petersen brings his Broncos back home 2-0 after thrashing Wyoming 51-6. The Broncos are lead by the junior left-handed quarterback Kellen Moore who is 28-1 with 69 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in his collegiate career.
The Broncos are more than just Moore though as they have talented wide receivers junior Titus Young, 174 yards one touchdown, and junior Austin Pettis, 161 yards 3 touchdowns, which have led to the success of the Broncos over the years.
Boise State now possesses the second-best run defense in the country behind only Texas giving up only 53.5 ypg.
Oregon State head coach Mike Riley brings his team to the blue field in Idaho 1-1 but has watched sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, 301 yards 4 touchdowns, become comfortable as the Beavers starting quarterback. Luckily for the Beavers it’s not all up to Katz as he has the luxury of having the truth in junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers, 207 yards 3 touchdowns, and his brother senior James Rodgers, 102 yards one touchdown, at wide receiver.
As much attention should be devoted to Jacquizz Rodgers it still brings up the question as to why the Beavers rank 90th in the nation with an average of only 125 ypg.
The run defense for the Beavers has been beaten up in just two games, allowing 221.5 ypg and the pass defense is giving up 231.5 ypg while only recording two sacks.
The Beavers hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series with Boise State but it was the Broncos who recorded the last win 42-14 in 2006.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the CBS Sports Channel network and it features the Boise State University Broncos take on the University of Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
Boise State get back to action on the field since having an open week after coming off their huge 33-30 road win in Washington DC over Virgina Tech. The Broncos will put their 15 game winning streak on the line and it’s lead by junior quarterback Kellen Moore, 23-38 for 215 yards 3 touchdowns.
Moore has a talented team surrounding him with standout senior wide receivers Titus Young, 80 yards, and Austin Pettis, 73 yards 2 touchdowns, as well as productive backfield of junior Doug Martin, 83 yards, junior D.J. Harper, 80 yards one touchdown, and senior Jeremy Avery, 26 yards in part of one of the nations top scoring offenses.
Head coach Chris Petersen has an aggressive and smart defense that gets often overlooked but still ranked 14th in 300.2 ypg allowed and 17 ppg.
Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen rallied his team in the wake of freshman linebacker Ruben Narcisse death, who died in a car accident, to play Texas before losing 34-7 in Austin just days after.
The Cowboys sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels,16-24 for 160 yards and 12 rushes for 25 one touchdown, showed pose on a big stage out on the road as he provided the teams only score. Senior wide receiver Zach Bolger,39 yards, was the top man in that department.
The Cowboys defense did hold the Longhorns to just 389 yards of total offense.
The Broncos are a perfect 4-0 over the years against Wyoming with the Broncos most recent win coming in 2007 and a score of 24-14.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features Boise State University Broncos taking on the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedEx Field for the first-ever meeting between these two schools.
Broncos head coach Chris Petersen has built a winning program at Boise State amassing a 49-4 record in his four seasons, including leading the Broncos to 26 wins in their last 27 games. Last year Boise State finished first in the WAC and 14-0 overall to become just the second team in NCAA history to record a 14-0 season. They capped off last season with 17-10 win over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Boise State returns all but one starter but the prize of the Broncos is star junior quarterback Kellen Moore, 3,536 yards 39 touchdowns 3 INTS, who ranked second in the nation last year in pass efficiency at 161.65 percent. Even more impressive is the fact that Moore attempted 431 passes a year ago and had just three interceptions, setting a new NCAA record for the lowest percentage of passes (0.69) picked off.
Moore will once again be connecting with wide receives Austin Pettis, 63 receptions 855 yards and 14 touchdowns, Titus Young, 79 receptions 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior Jeremy Avery, 1,151 yards 6 touchdowns, will again be the primary ball carrier, but a healthy D.J. Harper will only further enhance a strong ground game that netted 186.1 yards per game in 2009.
Boise State is not just an offensive team but are sound defensively too when they lead the WAC and 14th in the nation in holding opponents to an average of 17 points. Leading the way on the defensive line is defensive end Ryan Winterswyk, 17 tackles for loss, 9 sacks. Winterswyk is joined on the line by Billy Winn, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
Virginia Tech finished last season 10-3 and 6-2 in the ACC. It was capped of by a 37-14 win over Tennessee in the Chik-fil-A Bowl. Frank Beamer’s Hokies though have lost seven starters from that squad that finished second in the ACC. The Hokies have a dynamic offense centered around senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor, 2,311 yards 13 touchdowns 5 INTS and rushed for 370 yards 5 touchdowns in his first full season as starter.
Virginia Tech’s offensive will also bring back running backs Ryan Williams, 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns, Darren Evans the 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year is ready to return after being lost to a knee injury last year before the season even started. Williams captalized on his opportunity and brok the ACC freshman yardage record Evans set in 2008.
The Hokies don’t throw the ball much and barely nothing compared to Boise State. However Taylor has his top three targets back in Jarrett Boykin, 835 yards 5 touchdowns, Danny Coale, 614 yards 2 touchdowns, and Dyrell Roberts, 390 yards.
Bud Fosters defense limited opponents to 15 ppg, on just 295.5 yards of total offense but returns only five starters from that unit this season. The defense is lead by junior linebacker Barquell Rivers, 96 tackles 6.5 tackles for loss and defensive back Rashad Carmichael, 6 INTS, who is one of the best cover corners in all of the nation.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
The 40th annual Fiesta Bowl with see two undefeated teams face off as the Mountain West Conference will be represented by the 12-0 TCU Horned Frogs and representing the Western Athletic Conference is the 13-0 Boise State Broncos in Glendale, Arizona. The two teams faced each other in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, with TCU prevailing in a 17-16 final.
The Broncos are making their second appearance in a BCS game, the first considered one of the greatest college football games ever played when they outlasted Oklahoma in a triple-overtime thriller in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, 43-42. Boise State, which is 5-4 all-time in bowl games, is coached by Chris Petersen, and he owns an incredible 48-4 record in four years at the helm.
Led by star quarterback Kellen Moore, Boise State has one of the most potent offenses in all of college football, averaging a national-best 44 ppg behind 460.5 total ypg. Moore is just a sophomore has thrown for 3,325 yards with 39 touchdowns against only 3 interceptions. His 39 scoring strikes are a school record, and his 167.35 passer rating had him ranked No. 1 in the nation at the end of the regular season. Receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis have been the primary targets hauling in 71 and 62 passes and combining for 1,819 yards and 24 TDs. The BSU run game has done a nice job in keeping opposing defenses honest as Jeremy Avery finished the regular season with 1,131 yards and 6 scores and Doug Martin had 723 yards with 14 scores. The Broncos have outscored the opposition by a whopping 334-92 margin in the first half.
Defensively, Boise State has gotten it done yielding 17 ppg and only 299.6 total ypg. The effort against the pass has been particularly impressive with opponents coming up with just 172.8 ypg. Jeron Johnson has four picks to match Brandon Thompson and he leads the team in tackles with 88. Ryan Winterswyk is the club’s top sack man with 8.5, coming in just ahead of Billy Winn who has 6.
TCU is 12-0 for the first time in school history, and own a 11-13-1 record in 25 previous bowl games. Gary Patterson is 85-27 in charge of the TCU football program and TCU owns the nation’s second-longest winning streak 14 games behind only Texas 17 games, is fourth in the country in scoring 40 ppg.
The Horned Frogs utilize a formidable rushing attack that generates 256.5 ypg which is fifth nationally and has accounted for 35 touchdowns. The aerial assault generates 212.6 ypg and has resulted in 23 scores. The Frogs had four guys rush for more than 500 yards this season, with Joseph Turner heading the group with 732 yards and 11 touchdowns. Andy Dalton is TCU’s quarterback and has thrown for 2,484 yards with 22 touchdowns against only 5 interceptions and rushing for 522 yards and 3 scores. Jeremy Kerley led the team with 38 grabs for 467 yards and 2 scores and Antoine Hicks had only had 19 catches but 6 touchdowns.
From a defensive standpoint, few teams in the nation can match the Horned Frogs intensity or ability to shut down the opposition. TCU is giving up just 12 ppg, and foes have found it nearly impossible to run the football, averaging a mere 80.5 ppg, and the Frogs have permitted just 7 rushing scores all year. TCU has also done a tremendous job defending the pass, permitting a mere 152.8 ypg through the air with only 10 touchdowns. The opposition is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry and only 5.1 yards per pass attempt. Linebacker Daryl Washington is the team’s leading tackler with 99 stops, and he is tied for the club lead in interceptions with Tejay Johnson at three apiece. Jerry Hughes is a force along the TCU defensive line, logging 11.5 sacks.
The all-time series between these two teams in knotted at 1-1, with both meetings taking place in bowl games. In addition to last year’s Poinsettia Bowl, the first encounter took place in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl, TCU’s home turf. Despite playing in enemy territory, the Broncos rode off with a 34-31 win. Again these two teams faced each other in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, with TCU prevailing in a 17-16 final.
The Boise State Broncos go for their 12th straight victory when they host the surging Nevada Wolf Pack with the Western Athletic Conference title on the line.
Boise State (11-0, 6-0) faces a Nevada team that has won eight straight and has averaged 55.6 points over the last five games, in large part due to a prolific running game that is the best in the country. The Broncos and Wolf Pack are the only undefeated teams in the WAC and Friday’s winner would earn at least a share of the conference title.
Boise State is looking to secure a share of its sixth WAC title in eight years. Further helping the Broncos’ chances is having their final two games at home, where they’ve won 56 straight since a season-opening loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001. A potent offense is the biggest reason for Boise State’s success this season. The Broncos lead the nation with 44.4 points per game and also rank among the top 10 in the country in yards per contest with 456.0.
For much of the season, Boise State has relied on Kellen Moore, who is second in the nation with 33 passing touchdowns. The Broncos showed they had other offensive weapons in their latest victory, though, as they rushed for a season-high 323 yards in a 52-21 win over Utah State last Friday. Moore threw for 233 yards and one touchdown, but had one of his more ineffective games of the year, completing a season-low 15 passes. His quarterback rating was a season-worst 130.6 after failing to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the first time this year.
It didn’t matter, however, as the running game more than compensated with its best showing of the season. Doug Martin ran for a team-high 121 yards and four TDs on 13 carries while Jeremy Avery rushed for two more touchdowns.
The Broncos finished with a season-high 572 yards of offense. They’ve averaged 51.8 points and 487.8 yards of offense over the last five games while their defense has been just as good, giving up 97 total points in the last five games.
The defense, though, could receive its biggest test of the season Friday. Nevada (8-3, 7-0) is averaging 445.6 yards rushing it its last eight games and has three players that have ran for more than 1,000 yards this season, Colin Kaepernick, Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott, the first team in NCAA history to accomplish that. Vai Taua leads the team with 118.5 yards per game.
The Wolf Pack are coming off a 63-20 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday during which they racked up 670 yards of offense, including a season-high 574 on the ground. Luke Lippincott and quarterback Colin Kaepernick each ran for two touchdowns while Kaepernick also passed for two scores.
Nevada has lost nine straight to Boise State, including a 69-67 four-overtime victory in 2007 at Bronco Stadium in one of the highest-scoring games ever in college football history.
Friday is the final regular-season game for the Wolf Pack. Boise State’s final game is Dec. 5 at home against New Mexico State.
PICK: University of Nevada Wolf Pack
Kellen Moore will try to lead Boise State to an 11th straight victory when they play their final road game of 2009 against Utah State. Moore’s prolific year continued as he led Boise State to a 63-25 drubbing of Idaho. The sophomore threw for 299 yards and five touchdowns, four to wide receiver Austin Pettis.
Moore leads the nation with 32 touchdown passes while throwing just three interceptions and completing 67.7 percent of his passes. In the last five games, he has racked up 19 touchdowns and been picked off once.
That’s because his prolific play and the nation’s highest-scoring offense has Boise State (10-0, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference) on the verge of its fourth undefeated regular season in six years. The Broncos also entered their bowl game without a loss in 2004, 2006 and last year.
Head coach Chris Petersen Broncos were left out of the Bowl Championship Series last season because Utah was unbeaten and ranked higher — and typically, only one team from a non-BCS conference can reach one of the top bowls. This season, that bid seems likely to go to TCU, which beat Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl last year.
Pettis has a school-record 14 touchdown receptions this season, with Titus Young 13 total TDs also among the offensive weapons that have helped Moore.
Utah State (3-7, 2-4) doesn’t figure to present a major challenge, having lost eight in a row to Boise State. In the teams’ four meetings as WAC rivals since the start of 2005, the Broncos averaged 48.8 points, and Moore was 27 of 36 for 362 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-14 home victory last Nov. 8.
The Aggies are coming off a 24-9 win over San Jose State, the last-place team in the WAC. Utah State rolled up 381 rushing yards, led by sophomore Robert Turbin with a career-high 190 and two touchdowns.
Turbin is 15th in the country with 1,122 yards, but Utah State has had major problems on defense, ranking 106th nationally. Even after shutting down San Jose State, coach Gary Andersen’s Aggies are allowing more than 30 points per game.
Boise State will have to play without a pair of minor offensive contributors who are expected to miss the rest of the season. Tight end Richie Brockel injured his left foot against Idaho, while running back Matt Kaiserman broke his right leg after throwing for a touchdown.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
The Broncos need to avoid an ill-timed upset over the season’s final five games starting at Louisiana Tech, where wins haven’t come easily. That means if Boise State finishes unbeaten, it should reach its first BCS bowl game since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. But it will need help for an unprecedented run to the title game.
After failing to force a turnover in consecutive games, Boise State (8-0, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) has intercepted four passes and recovered four fumbles over the past two games. Those takeaways have helped the Broncos produce a pair of blowouts, 54-9 at Hawaii and 45-7 last week against San Jose State.
Kellen Moore passed for 278 yards and three touchdowns while remaining first in the nation with a quarterback rating of 171.0. Moore has thrown 24 TDs – second most in the country and just two interceptions. He’s helped the Broncos score 41.0 points per game, the nation’s third-best average. Moore threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns to lead Boise State to a 38-3 home win over Louisiana Tech last season.
Boise State also has the nation’s 10th-ranked defense and is 11th in allowing an average of 13.6 points. It has forced six fumbles and 13 interceptions for the nation’s fifth-best turnover ratio.
That all would evaporate with a loss to the WAC rival Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3), who have suffered close defeats in each of the past two weeks. Their rally fell short in a 23-21 loss at Utah State on Oct. 24 as they couldn’t complete a tying 2-point conversion. In last week’s 35-34 loss at Idaho, Louisiana Tech allowed the winning touchdown with 52 seconds left and couldn’t convert a 56-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Running back and receiver Phillip Livas left last week’s defeat because of injuries. Both players are questionable as the Bulldogs try to avoid a season-high third straight loss. Porter has rushed for a team-best 640 yards and seven touchdowns, and needs 24 to move into fourth on the school’s all-time list. Livas is the team’s third-leading receiver with 205 yards on 19 catches.
Bulldogs coach Derek Dooley team dropped to 0-5 on the road but will try to earn their 11th win in 12 home games since a 45-31 loss to the Broncos on Oct. 20, 2007.
Boise State is searching for its eighth consecutive win over Louisiana Tech since dropping the inaugural meeting as WAC schools in 2001 in Ruston.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
Boise State University has hired public relations firm Scott Peyron & Associates to help increase their chances at a BCS bid, a far more common place than imagined, however Boise State is the first school to due so this year. The winner of the 2008 BCS Championship earned $17 million, so Boise State’s decision to hire a PR firm is long-term sensible one.
The athletic department projected almost $30 million profit in the college’s budget plan. A great deal of pressure is put on their most nationally known program, football, to be a breadwinner. And, while the college earns over $11 million gross profit for its home games, it also must cover transportation, meals, lodging and salary costs of the program.
Those costs also include coach Chris Peterson’s five-year, $4.25 million contract signed before the 2008 season. Coach Peterson could earn an additional $100,000 if the team reaches a BCS Bowl. Paying out to increase exposure, the Broncos hope, will do more than just earn the college a BCS bid, it will also boost merchandise sales.
Florida’s program for an example makes over $4 million in merchandise sales. They earned near $6 million in royalties in 2006-07. The school also took in 12 percent of national championship merchandise dollars. Boise State won’t match the merchandise sales of Florida, but a BCS bowl bid would likely bring in far more in sales than budget expectations.
Boise State wants to avoid being left in the dust as they were in 2008. The Broncos were passed over by BCS despite going undefeated and ranking ninth in BCS standings.
Boise State (6-0, 1-0) coach Chris Petersen Broncos can’t have another mediocre effort against a team such as Hawaii (2-4, 0-3) in order to make their second BCS appearance in four seasons.
Boise State’s running game was a bright spot, finishing with 193 yards after being held to 101 against UC-Davis. Doug Martin had 112 yards, his second 100-yard effort in three games. Martin is once again an essential part of the Broncos’ offense, filling in with D.J. Harper out due to a left knee injury suffered in a 51-34 win over Fresno State on Sept. 18. Petersen returned Martin, a former defensive back, to the offense.
With quarterback Kellen Moore playing so well, the Broncos need to a strong running attack to keep defenses honest. The sophomore threw three TD passes and has 16 on the season while throwing two picks. Austin Pettis is Moore’s favorite target, catching 32 passes for 441 yards and seven TDs. Pettis has scored in every game this season.
The Warriors rely heavily on their passing game, throwing for at least 300 yards in five of six games. Hawaii, though, is in danger of losing five straight in a single season for the first time since going 0-12 in 1998.
Hawaii couldn’t run the ball or stop Idaho’s ground game in a 35-23 loss last Saturday. The Warriors were held to 77 yards rushing while allowing 194 and four TDs.
Hawaii coach Greg McMackin lost his quarterback Greg Alexander to a season-ending injury knee injury in a 27-6 loss to Louisiana Tech on Sept. 30, Bryant Moniz is coming off his most successful game since taking over as starter. Moniz, a 5-foot-10 senior who hadn’t played before this season, passed for 360 yards and a TD versus the Vandals.
He found some chemistry with Greg Salas, who had a career-high 10 catches for 123 yards and a score.Salas is second in the nation with 791 yards receiving, averaging 18.8 per catch. He had five receptions for 75 yards in Hawaii’s 27-7 loss to Boise State on Oct. 17, 2008.
The Broncos have won seven of the last eight meetings against the Warriors after losing the first two.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
Boise State is hoping to once again seize a BCS berth from one of the power conferences. With impressive victories through its first four games, Boise State (5-0) but hardly looked like a team with BCS bowl aspirations in a lackluster 34-16 victory over UC Davis before their bye week.
The Broncos, who haven’t earned a BCS berth since defeating Oklahoma 43-42 in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 season but their high-powered offense never got in gear.
Boise State came into the contest averaging 214.3 rushing yards per game behind running backs Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin, but the team was limited to a season-low 101 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Kellen Moore did his best to make up for the sluggish running game by throwing for 285 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to receiver Austin Pettis, but the offense still had trouble sustaining drives. The Broncos had nine penalties, were stopped on six of 10 third-down attempts and produced 13 points on four first-half trips in the red zone.
Head coach Chris Petersen’s defense wasn’t much better for Boise State holding the Aggies to just 28 yards rushing, but recorded just one sack and didn’t force a turnover for the first time this season.
Boise State hopes the expected return of cornerback Kyle Wilson, the team’s defensive leader and top punt returner, can give the Broncos a boost. Wilson, a senior and starter the last 3 1/2 years, was out against UC Davis because of a strained shoulder and his presence was missed as the defense allowed season highs of 206 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns. With Wilson in the lineup the first four games, the Broncos yielded an average of 163.3 passing yards with two touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Wilson and the Broncos secondary will have to step up against coach Todd Graham Tulsa team led by quarterback G.J. Kinne, who ranks seventh in the country with a 161.7 passer rating and has thrown for 1,142 yards with 10 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Kinne wasn’t fazed much by a constant rain in the Golden Hurricane’s 27-10 victory at Rice, completing 21 of 32 passes for 251 yards and throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Whitmore in the fourth quarter.
Tulsa (4-1), which played with Boise State in the Western Athletic Conference before moving to Conference USA in 2005, is 0-4 all-time against the Broncos. The teams haven’t met since 2004.
The Golden Hurricane, winners of 13 of 14 at home, are hoping to deliver a strong performance against a highly touted opponent to gain respect, something they failed to do in a 45-0 loss at Oklahoma.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
A berth in a BCS bowl game seems possible for Boise State if it can make it through its conference schedule unscathed.
The Broncos begin pursuit of their seventh Western Athletic Conference title in eight years at Fresno State, which is coming off a heartbreaking loss. Boise State (2-0) is heavily favored to take the WAC again after outscoring opponents by an average of 31.1 points in winning all eight league games last year. With a conference championship and an undefeated season in 2008, the Broncos were hoping to land in a BCS bowl for the second time in three years, but instead went to the Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos have been close to perfect every season in conference play since their title run began in 2002, going 54-2.
One of those defeats came at Fresno State by head coach Pat hill in 2005.The Broncos have won three straight over the Bulldogs since then, beating them 61-10 last season. Boise State out gained Fresno State 494-294 in that game, and the Broncos’ offense and defense are looking similarly dominant this season after setting the tone for 2009 with a 19-8 victory over Oregon in its opener.
Boise State defeated Miami of Ohio 48-0 on Saturday, getting 307 passing yards and career-high four touchdowns from Kellen Moore even though he played less than three quarters. Titus Young finished with six catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and he has emerged as one of Moore’s favorite targets. Young’s speed and deep-threat potential give the Broncos a dimension they lacked last year.
With Moore throwing for 211 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs last season and Young stepping up the receiving,head coach Chris Petersen has to be looking for improvement from the ground game. The backfield tandem of D.J. Harper and Jeremy Avery looked flat and only tallied 127 yards against the RedHawks.
While Boise State’s offense is rounding into form, the defense already looks like one of the best in the country, having only yielding eight points and 346 yards through the first two games. They have given up 69 rushing yards on 43 attempts but will be tested against a powerful running game lead by running back Ryan Mathews, who has rushed for 213 yards on 30 attempts, the Bulldogs have amassed 489 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs had no trouble moving the ball against Wisconsin, costly turnovers down the stretch kept them from leaving Camp Randall Stadium with a win.
Fresno State (1-1) opened up a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter on three touchdown passes by Ryan Colburn, but the junior threw three second-half interceptions and the Bulldogs lost 34-31 in double overtime.
Fresno State has lost nine straight against ranked opponents since defeating Virginia 37-34 in overtime in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
Gimme my damn money…Payback’s a mother******, ain’t it?
The University of Oregon Ducks fast-paced offense over the past two seasons, there’s little reason to believe the Ducks will have a drop-off as Chip Kelly makes the transition from coordinator to head coach. Sixteenth-ranked Oregon begins the Kelly era on the imposing blue turf of Bronco Stadium, where No. 14 Boise State University Broncos will look to win its 50th regular-season game in a row. The Broncos stunned the Ducks in Eugene, Oregon a year ago.
The Ducks were expected to rebuild in the last season of Mike Bellotti’s but instead were one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses in Kelly’s second year as offensive coordinator. Oregon finished seventh in the country in scoring offense (41.9 points per game) behind the running tandem of LeGarrette Blount, which led the nation’s second-ranked rushing offense (280.1 yards per game). The Ducks found out late last season that they have a reliable quarterback in. Junior Jeremiah Masoli who threw for 830 yards and six touchdowns and ran for seven more. Oregon averaged 54.0 points in winning its final three games, including a 42-31 victory over No. 13 Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl to secure a No. 10 finish.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, meanwhile went on to throw for 3,486 yards and 25 touchdowns in leading the Broncos to a 12-0 regular season in 2008 and a No. 9 ranking heading into a Poinsettia Bowl meeting with 11th-ranked TCU. He failed to throw for a touchdown in that game, and TCU ran for 275 yards and limiting Boise State to 28, in a 17-16 win. The Broncos return 12 starters, six on each side of the ball and that’s enough for them to win their seventh WAC title in eight years.
Boise State was third in the nation in scoring defense (12.6 points per game) last season, and corner-back Kyle Wilson was the WAC’s defensive player of the year after leading the team with five interceptions last year. He also returned three punts for touchdowns. The Broncos hasn’t lost a regular-season game in Bronco Stadium since a 41-20 loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos