Quarterback Jared Zabransky led an all-around solid Boise State performance on the road as the Broncos destroyed Utah State 45-21. The win was the 500th school win for Boise State, and its 100th win on the road since becoming a four-year school in 1968.
Boise State's rushing attack, which at 220 yards was one of the best in the nation coming into the game, managed just 84 yards against the stacked Aggie defense. That meant that Zabransky would have to win the game with his arm, and the junior from Hermiston responded with his best performance of the season, hitting 26 of 39 passes for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was Zabransky's first four-touchdown performance of his career. Eight different Broncos caught passes yesterday.
Leading that group was Jeff Carpenter, who hauled in 7 passes for 99 yards, many of which were key receptions. Drisan James chalked up big yardage also with 5 catches for 91 and Cole Clasen had 4 grabs for 60 yards and his first Bronco touchdown, a 24-yard diving catch in the end zone with 13 seconds remaining in the first half. As Zabransky scrambled, Clasen broke off his route and headed for the end zone. Zabransky spotted him and the Broncos got the key touchdown before halftime. Legedu Naanee (4-52), Derek Schouman (3-18), Jerard Rabb (2-16), Ryan Putnam (1-16) and Lee Marks (1 for a -1) also snared Zabransky passes.
Utah State consistently played 7-8 guys in the box against the Bronco offense. Despite that, Antwaun Carter still gained 53 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Boise State's ever-improving defense continued its solid play, credited with 5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, constant pressure in the Aggie backfield and numerous bone-jarring hits from Korey Hall, Chris Barrios, Colt Brooks and Marty Tadman. Brooks once again led the Bronco "D" with 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks, while Barrios matched Hall's tackle performance to go along with a sack and Brooks and Tadman totaled 9 tackles each. Mike Dominguez played well also in limited duty. Boise State held Utah State to 295 yards, its 3rd straight game in holding an opponent to under 300 yards of offense.
Boise State improved to 5-2 with the win and moved alongside Nevada and Fresno State atop the WAC standings with a perfect 3-0 record. Two of those league leaders (Boise State and Nevada) will collide in Bronco Stadium next Saturday afternoon. Utah State falls to 2-4 and 1-3 with the loss.