Boise State sophomore safety Marty Tadman led a surging Bronco defense with two interceptions and a clutch fourth-down stop to lead Boise State to a 49-14 win yesterday afternoon in Bronco Stadium. The opportunistic Boise State defense picked off a total of five passes, 3 more than they've totaled all season.
Tadman made the first of four Bronco fourth-down stops at a pivotal point in the game when he tackled Nevada running back B.J. Mitchell for no gain at the Boise State 5 with 3:44 left in the first quarter. On the next possession, Tadman intercepted a Jeff Rowe pass to thwart another Wolf Pack drive. When Nevada drove 52 yards on its next series to the Bronco 8, the Pack was faced with a fourth and three but Rowe was sacked by Chris Barrios and Mike Dominguez to end that threat.
Boise State notched its 29th straight home win, now the 16th highest Division I home winning streak in college football history. With the win over Nevada, Coach Dan Hawkins' team passed both Notre Dame (1942-1950) and Michigan (1969-73) into sole possession of 16th place. The streak of 29 straight home wins is now good for 10th place in the modern era (since 1937).
"We've been very good on third-and-one and fourth-and-one plays, but it's a tribute to Boise that they did such a good job" said Nevada coach Chris Ault. "If we had it to do again we'd still do it because we felt we had to score touchdowns."
In addition to Tadman's 2 interceptions, Rashaad Richards intercepted a Nevada pass in the end zone, zigzagged his way through the stunned Wolf Pack offensive players near the goal line, and returned it 76 yards to Nevada's 24-yard-line. Korey Hall picked off a pass and broke to the sideline, lowering his shoulder to bounce off the tackle of Rowe for more yardage. Linebacker Ben Chuckovich made the 5th interception with a leaping pick in the 4th quarter. The Bronco defense also added a fumble for 6 turnovers when Colt Brooks forced a Rowe fumble that Chris Barrios recovered.
Bronco junior quarterback Jared Zabransky ran for one touchdown and threw for three scores while senior Antwaun Carter rushed for two more TD's as the Broncos got a complete effort from their entire roster. Boise State nearly had 4 50-yard rushers in the game and eight different players caught passes. Freshman Ian Johnson once again led the Bronco running attack with 12 carries for 84 yards while seniors Jeff Carpenter (5-64) and Lee Marks (7-56) were explosive as well and Carter (9-49) gained good tough yards in short-yardage situations. Zabransky finished the game 12-16 for 180 yards. Legedu Naanee hauled in 4 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns and Derek Schouman made 3 receptions for 63 yards.
Nichiren Flowers, Nevada's fine senior receiver, had 9 catches for 136 yards to lead the Pack receiving corps.
After Boise State went up 21-0, Nevada got on the scoreboard with 2:10 left in the first half when Rowe found junior receiver Caleb Spencer for a 43-yard touchdown pass. The Wolf Pack didn't score again until junior Robert Hubbard ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the game.
Boise State moves to 6-2 with its 6th straight win while Nevada drops to 4-3.