Broncos, Bulldogs Provide A Thrill A Minute

Boise State pulled away from Fresno State for a 51-34 road win tonight in Fresno. There were fireworks galore for both teams as there were eight plays over 60 yards.

Boise State and Fresno State provided thrills aplenty tonight before a nationwide television audience but it was the Broncos who emerged with a 51-34 win in the 100-degree heat of Fresno .

The two Western Athletic teams combined for 983 yards from scrimmage and another 509 of returns in the early showdown for the top spot in the league.  Jeremy Avery ran wild for 186 yards on 11 carries (16.9 average) and hauled in five catches for another 83 to total 269 yards of all-purpose running.   Avery's 67-yard touchdown off a screen pass from quarterback Kellen Moore salted the game away for the Broncos. Avery finished with the school record for yards per carry in a single game, tied Brock Forsey for fifth in all-purpose yardage for a game and had the 14th best rushing performance in school history.

Boise State's game rushing average of 10.3 yards per carry also broke a 30-year old school record of 9.4 set against Idaho State in 1979.

The Texas Tornado (D.J. Harper) blew through the Bulldog defense as well, enjoying a 107-yard game on 12 carries (8.9 avg.) and a spectacular 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.  The 60-yard run to paydirt was the longest of Harper's career.  Boise State gained 299 yards on the ground, easily their best effort of the young season.

The Boise State defense, however, had by far their worst effort of the year, allowing 504 yards to the homestanding Bulldogs.  Ryan Matthews was incredible, bursting through the usually tough Bronco line for three long touchdown runs and a 234-yard outburst.

In the beginning, it looked like it could be a Boise State rout.  Winston Venable picked off Ryan Colburn's pass at the Fresno State 30 and took it in for an early 7-0 Bronco lead.  After a Kyle Brotzman 32-yard field goal, Harper cut to the outside on his 60-yard burst to make it 17-0.  Fresno State responded with a drive ending in a 37-yard Kevin Goessling field goal, but Boise State came right back as Titus Young returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards.  Young capped off the threat by grabbing a seven yard pass from Moore to make it 24-3. 

But a Pat Hill-coached team does not give up, and Matthews launched the Bulldog comeback with a 69-yard run up the middle and followed that up on the next series with another 60-yard scamper to the end zone and Fresno State was within seven at the half, 24-17.

Boise State came out of the locker room and was in business immediately.  Doug Martin's 77-yard kickoff return culminated in a 30-yard Brotzman field goal to make it 27-17.  But Fresno State came right back with Colburn hitting Devon Wylie in the end zone for a 21-yard pass play and the Bulldogs were within three, 27-24.  But the Broncos would have an answer for every Fresno score from here on out and then some.  Avery exploded for a 74-yard run, and, as he was caught from behind, his fumble into the end zone was recovered by Young right before it went out for a touchdown. 

After another Goessling field goal closed the margin to seven again, Boise State came back with a drive as Austin Pettis caught a fade in the right corner of the end zone to make it 41-27.  Matthews ripped up the middle once again from 68 yards to close it to 41-34, but Avery's great run off the screen pass settled things.  Avery's 69-yard run on the Broncos' next possession set up freshman Jimmy Pavel's first career field goal with four minutes remaining to close out the scoring.

Many of the Bronco drives were set up by amazing production from the Boise State kickoff returners, Young and Martin.  Young had five returns for 154 yards (30.8 avg.) while Martin burst through the Bulldog special teams for two returns for 103 yards. 

Moore finished 18-26 for 181 yards and three scores.  Pettis grabbed five passes for 34 yards and the touchdown.

Freshman Robbie Rouse also was a star for Fresno State , picking up 53 yards on seven carries.  Chastin West had two catches for 71 yards and Wylie finished with four receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown. 

Boise State advanced to 3-0 on the season while Fresno State is 1-2.  Boise State continues its road trip against Bowling Green next Saturday in a key non-conference tilt.

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