Broncos Shine In National Spotlight

When Boise State and Fresno State get together on the football field, there's an awful lot of talent on display for the nation. In the latest edition of the great rivalry, Boise State utilized two freshmen running backs and a stiffening defense to prevail in Fresno.

Boise State's much-maligned defense played one of its best games of the season, holding the potent Fresno State running game in check to post a hard-fought 34-21 victory tonight in Fresno.

The Bulldogs came into the nationally-televised game on ESPN2 with a rushing attack that mirrored Boise State's at over 204 yards a game. Ryan Matthews was the #1 runner in the nation last year in high school scoring 44 touchdowns. Matthews was held to 49 yards, 47 of it on a first-quarter run.

Meanwhile, Boise State's freshmen tandem of D.J. Harper and Jeremy Avery racked up over 200 yards between them in the first half in leading the Broncos to a 17-14 lead. Harper finished with 153 yards and a touchdown while Avery also topped his career high with 124 yards and found the end zone three times. Playing without Heisman Trophy candidate Ian Johnson, the veteran Bronco line was stellar in opening holes for the two freshmen.

Coach Chris Petersen's team grabbed the momentum in the second quarter when Fresno State answered a game-tying Bronco score with a great drive of its own. When the Boise State "D" stiffened, Fresno's Clint Stitster lined up for a 42-yard field goal that would give the Bulldogs the lead. Orlando Scandrick raced in from the corner and blocked it instead, and the alert Marty Tadman picked it up and took it into Bulldog territory. Instead of the 17-14 lead belonging to the team in red, it was the Broncos that made the field goal on the other end and Boise State never looked back.

Jeremy Childs made nine catches to give him 56 on the season, tying him with Terry Hutt for 12th on the all-time list. To give you an idea on how bunched up the receiving record book is, nine more catches would put Childs in fourth. Mike Wilson holds the Bronco single-season record with 76.

Boise State advanced to 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference and 7-1 overall with the win, while the Bulldogs are 4-1 and 5-3. The Broncos return home to host San Jose State next Saturday.

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