Boise State at Louisiana Tech 11-6-09

November 6, 2009

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(5) Boise State (8-0) at Louisiana Tech (3-5)

Friday, November 6th, 8:00 p.m. (et)

GAME NOTES: Tied for the fifth-longest win streak in the nation this week, the fifth-ranked Boise State Broncos take their act on the road to challenge the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in a special Friday night edition of Western Athletic Conference play in Ruston.

Since losing in the postseason last year to TCU, the only other non-BCS program that the Broncos are again fighting with this season in order to secure a rare and coveted spot among the nation’s elite programs come bowl time, Boise State has ripped off eight straight victories and has won the last two by a combined 99-16 score.

Last week the latest victim for the Broncos was San Jose State, a 45-7 loser on the blue turf of Boise where the Broncos have now won 23 consecutive regular-season outings. BSU has taken 11 straight conference decisions and has won 10 consecutive road games as well.

As for the Bulldogs, they’ve hit a rough patch in the schedule of late, losing two in a row and three of the last four outings. On Halloween, LaTech certainly had a chance to come up with another victory, but the defense fell apart and permitted a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 35-34 setback to the Idaho Vandals.

BSU has taken seven straight meetings from the Bulldogs, including a 38-3 rout at home last season to kick off its conference slate at the start of October.

Against the Spartans, Boise State was slow to get out of the blocks, at least by its standards, scoring just a single touchdown through the first 23 minutes of action before pouring it on and capturing its third league win of the season. Kellen Moore converted 21-of-33 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns and also scored once on the ground for the squad.

Defensively, it was finally time for all-conference candidate Kyle Wilson to live up to billing as he logged five tackles, one behind the line of scrimmage, and came up with his first interception of the season which he promptly returned 27 yards for a touchdown, on his way to being named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week.

“It was an unreal feeling,” Wilson said of his return for a score. “It was my first interception for a touchdown. I was just thinking a few days ago that someone was going to test me and I was going to be ready. I got a lot more action than I usually do and I was just ready.”

“I think our defense played really well again,” head coach Chris Petersen commented of his Broncos after the game. “If you give up seven points a game and they get turnovers and just really harassed those guys all night long. I mean, those guys are heroes around here.”

Boise State, which is again seventh in the latest BCS Rankings, the lowest seeded of the seven undefeated programs still left in the Football Bowl Subdivision, is again getting the job done with a decent offense and an outstanding defense in 2009. At the moment the unit is ranked 10th in the nation with just 274.3 ypg allowed and that translates to a mere 13.6 ppg permitted, tops in the WAC and 11th in the country heading into action this week.

In terms of the offense, what else can be said about Moore, the reigning WAC Freshman of the Year. The signal-caller has the top pass efficiency rating in the entire nation at 171.02, but gets little national attention. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that he has completed better than two-thirds of his pass attempts and has been picked off just two times on 227 attempts. He also has 24 TD passes at the moment. Moore and the Broncos trail only Houston and Texas Tech in passing scores so far this season.

“I’ve never been as proud as I am of this team,” remarked Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley after his team’s narrow defeat at Idaho. “We played with so many guys out and lost (Phillip) Livas and (Daniel) Porter during the game. You lose your top two playmakers on offense and all of a sudden you’re searching.”

Even with those two critical performers out of action, the Bulldogs still had a chance to put one in the win column, but true freshman Matt Nelson missed on a 56-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

“We made a quarterback change looking for a spark, and it worked,” said coach Dooley who opted to give red-shirt freshman quarterback Colby Cameron a chance to shine in the contest. “We made a nice drive for a touchdown. We did struggle a couple of times when we got the ball midway through the fourth quarter and that’s where the inexperience hurt us. Those are called growing pains.”

Colby finished the outing 10-of-16 for 105 yards, while starter Ross Jenkins actually had a very strong effort with his 17-of-30 for 220 yards and three touchdowns.

While the defense for the Bulldogs did manage to pick off Idaho quarterback twice and sack him three times, the visitors to the Kibbie Dome still allowed 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air and another 134 yards and two scores on the ground.

So far this season LaTech has been touched for 182.3 ypg on the ground, ranking the team fifth in the conference and 99th in the country this week, so it is clear that the Bulldogs know where their deficiencies lie. The pass defense has been much stronger, in spite of what the Vandals accomplished last weekend, limiting opponents to only 190.6 ypg to rank third in the WAC and 31st nationally.

Second on the team in tackles thus far is Antonio Baker with his 51 stops, but just as important, he also leads the squad with three forced fumbles and has a pair of interceptions to his credit.

Getting Porter onto the field for this game is critical for the Bulldogs because he leads the team with his 640 yards rushing and has half of their 14 rushing scores, the sort of numbers that cannot be missed if this team is going to give Boise State any real fight on the field.

Unfortunately, with the Broncos putting it altogether with a strong defense and a potent offense, Louisiana Tech could be in for a world of trouble if the Bulldogs get behind and are forced to scramble but we love the points.

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