Moore Of That!

Boise State struggled at times but found their rhythm by the end of the first quarter en route to a 49-7 victory over Idaho State last night in the 2008 season opener. Freshman quarterback Kellen Moore was very impressive in his Bronco debut in leading the team to the win.

Kellen Moore sizzled in his Boise State debut, throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns as the Broncos put away Idaho State 49-7 last night in Bronco Stadium.  Moore made history as he was the first freshman to ever start the season opener at quarterback, finishing the game 14-19.  Moore's 73.7% passing set a record for the best first game performance by a freshman.  His 274 yards is the second highest ever by a freshman in their first game, topped only by Tony Hilde's 388 yards in 1993. 

"Kellen just isn't going to get too rattled," head coach Chris Petersen said.  "He's a cool customer.  When you know what to do out there, it makes it a lot easier.  He knows what to do."

Titus Young was both hot and cold for Boise State.  On the positive side, Young raced behind the Bengal defense to haul in an 80-yard touchdown in the second quarter and scored on a 24-yard reverse in the third.  He finished with seven receptions for 142 yards and a career-high 203 all-purpose yards.  Conversely, Young fumbled on the Broncos' opening drive following a short pass and again on a punt return deep in Boise State territory. 

Tyler Shoemaker had a coming out party as well.  Shoemaker caught two passes for touchdowns covering 56 and 17 yards, the former capping a drive that officially was recorded as 99 yards but actually was 99 yards, two feet and 11 inches.  That was because the defense had just stopped Idaho State cold on the one-inch line following Young's second fumble.  "Anytime you make a stop on fourth and inches it's going to be big in any king of game," safety Jeron Johnson said.  "It's just momentum.  Coach Pete preached all week to never quit.  That's the mentality I think the defense took in that situation." 

Fullback Richie Brockel also scored a career-high two touchdowns for Boise State, marking what is believed to be the first time in school history that three Broncos scored two touchdowns in the same game.

Although you wouldn't recognize it from the scoreboard, the Broncos sputtered early, not scoring until a little more than a minute remaining in the first quarter.  Moore led the offense on an 11-play, 76-yard drive with four straight passes for 49 yards, capped by Brockel's two-yard run.

Boise State's juggernaut began to roll with four touchdowns in eight minutes.  Following a Bengal punt, Moore hit tight end Chris O'Neill for 22 yards and Julian Hawkins for nine to set up a first-and-goal at the Idaho State three-yard line.  It took Ian Johnson three tries, but he finally punched it in to make it 14-0 with 12:11 in the half. 

Idaho State was stopped cold once again and on the first play from his own 20, Moore unleashed a 50-yard bomb.  Young ran under it and easily raced to the end zone.  "It was just sort of a potential launcher there," Moore said.  "The way the defense played, they gave it to us.  I just laid it out for Titus and let him go get it." 

Three plays later, Idaho State had to punt again but Johnson blocked it at the Bengal 12.  Brockel bulled over from the three to make it 28-0.

Idaho State put together an impressive 80-yard drive featuring an 18-yard halfback pass from Ken Cornist to Isaiah Burl that set up a two-yard score by Clint Knickrehm to cut the lead to 28-7.  But that would be Idaho State's last offensive highlight of the night.

Heisman and Doak Walker candidate Ian Johnson gained 87 yards on 14 carries with the one TD.  Johnson also blocked a punt on special teams to match last year's block against Utah State.  Tanyon Bissell carried the ball twice for 46 yards while Jeremy Avery gained 40 yards on eight carries.

Placekicker Kyle Brotzman hit all seven extra points to tie Tyler Jones for the longest streak in school history with 74. 

True freshman Aaron Tevis had a great game defensively with eight tackles, two sacks for 24 yards, a fumble recovery and a pass deflection.  "It is just definitely good to get that first game out of the way," he said.  "I'm just ready to roll."

Linebacker Derrell Acrey, who was benched in favor of Tevis, nevertheless played most of the game due to an injury to Kyle Gingg and led the Broncos with 14 tackles.  Safety Jeron Johnson's hard-hitting disrupted Idaho State throughout the game, but never more so than a highlight-reel hit on Bengal quarterback Russell Hill following a scramble.

During the last defensive stop by the Broncos, all 11 positions were filled by freshmen. 

Hill completed 15 of 22 passes for 74 yards for the Bengals, while Cornist was the game's top rusher with 98 yards on 19 carries.  Eddie Thompson led Idaho State with 10 receptions for 56 yards. 

Boise State rang up 582 yards of total offense with contributions from throughout their lineup.

With the win, Boise State put a stop to the two-game losing streak of last year, the longest since the beginning of the 2005 season.  The Broncos also won their sixth season opener in the last seven years and their seventh consecutive home opener.  Saturday's win marked the sixth straight year that Boise State scored 40 or more points in the home opener.

The game marked the debut of the new Stueckle Sky Box, leading to a Bronco Stadium, state of Idaho football game and state of Idaho sporting event record crowd of 32,318.

Boise State has a week off before hosting Bowling Green.  They'll need it.  The Falcons shocked #25 Pittsburgh on their home turf Saturday to set up an early showdown with the Broncos September 13th in Bronco Stadium.


Broncos Report Card


Moore's quick release and cannon of an arm was on full display Saturday.  He showed good poise and an uncanny ability to find the open man.  However, on Idaho State's only serious pressure, he was unable to get outside to throw the ball away and was forced to take a sack.  Senior Bush Hamdan saw good action but seemed rushed as many of his throws were high.  Michael Coughlin came in on Boise State's final drive and led the team inside the Idaho State five when the Broncos let the clock run out.


  Running Back:

Johnson struggled at times against a Big Sky Conference team that was 3-8 last season.  On similar plays where he had run over an Oregon State defender from the Pac-10 two years ago, he was tackled by a Bengal.  Avery had some nice runs late in the game running behind the second team offensive line.  Harper played sparingly.



Young had a spectacular game at receiver with the unfortunate early-game fumble.  His speed caused considerable problems for the overmatched Bengals, and the reverses utilized that speed.  Shoemaker showed he is going to be a force this year with his heroics.  Austin Pettis and Vinny Perretta weren't a big part of the game plan tonight.  O'Neill gives the Broncos a great option at tight end.  There were few if any dropped passes.



Offensive Line:

Pass blocking was next to perfect; run blocking not so.  As mentioned above, Boise State's Heisman Trophy candidate had trouble on several runs because holes were not there.  As the game progressed, the line began to wear their opponents down and the yards came a little easier.  The conditioning difference will not be there against a big-time opponent and the Broncos will have to improve their technique.



Defensive Line:

Basically, the defense shut down Idaho State with the exception of their 80-yard drive.  However, they did allow 98 yards by Cornist who is far from the best running back the Broncos will face this year, and missed several tackles at the line of scrimmage that led to big gains.  They were able to put good pressure on Hill at times and scored a few sacks.




At times this unit's performance reminded fans of the Nevada game.  Many of the big Bengal runs occurred because the linebackers were out of position.  As Acrey began to take charge, this seemed to cure the problem.  When the unit stayed at home, they played well and Brady, Acrey and Tevis excelled.




Overall, the unit had an excellent game.  They didn't allow any long passes and helped out in the run defense with bone-jarring tackles.  On one halfback option pass, true freshman Jamar Taylor bit on the run initially, but good pressure in the Bengal backfield allowed him to recover.  On the second halfback option that led to Idaho State's only score, Boise State seemed to recognize it but still allowed it to be completed.  The Broncos' lone interception of the game was called back, meaning they were shut out in that department.  Once again, the Bronco corners played far off the line of scrimmage.  A good quarterback can exploit that all the way to the end zone as Colt Brennan proved last year.  As Georgia proved last year in the Sugar Bowl, the way to stop that is to play the receivers tight—Boise State didn't.



Special Teams:

Brotzman was perfect on PAT's but did not get a chance to attempt a field goal.  His kickoffs were high and deep allowing minimal returns.  Punter Brad Elkin had good distance and also allowed short returns but needs to work harder on obtaining good height.  Young had the fumble on one punt return and did not dart through holes quick enough to get the yardage he could have.  Johnson shot through and blocked a punt for the Bronco special teams.





From the one-minute mark of the first quarter through the third quarter, Boise State played well.  They sputtered at the beginning and at the end with the exception of the game's final drive.  The defense held Idaho State pretty much in check except for the one long drive.  Cornist's 98 yards rushing represents about 200 yards by Lippincott of Nevada or someone similar.  Granted this was Idaho State, but there was little emotion displayed by the team.  Had this been there for the defense, they no doubt would have performed a little better.  Young's two fumbles would have been costly against a Bowling Green, Oregon, Louisiana Tech or Fresno State.  The defense was not credited with an interception, but when you play ten yards off the line of scrimmage, you're not going to get a lot.  This was a good but not great team performance.




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