Noisy In Boise! Broncos Top Nevada 44-33

With an injury to a standout teammate, running back Doug Martin emerged midway through the third quarter and helped Boise State turn back Nevada 44-33 last night in Bronco Stadium. Boise State set two modern NCAA records with the win and advanced their season mark to 12-0. (Photo courtesy of Foto208.com--all rights reserved.)

A loud and boisterous Boise State crowd pumped up their Broncos all night long and helped Coach Chris Petersen's team beat back a talented Nevada team last night 44-33 in Bronco Stadium.

Boise State broke two modern college football records with the victory.  Nebraska 's modern record for wins in an eight-year period has been broken.  The famed Cornhusker teams of 1993-2000 won 91.  The Broncos have now won 92 since 2002.  Boise State also broke Florida State 's mark of 109 wins during the 1990's for most wins in a decade with their 110th win since 2000.

Boise State now has the fourth best 75-game home record of the modern era (72-3), dating from the Weber State game of 1998 (their third year in Division I football) to the present.  Alabama was 74-1 from 1957-1982, Nebraska was 73-2 from 1991-2002 and Florida State was 72-2-1 from 1987 to 1999.  With three consecutive home wins, the Broncos will tie Nebraska at 73-2.

Despite a poorly-chosen kickoff time of 8:08 p.m. in late November by ESPN (Read:  rain and freezing cold winds), the sellout crowd of Bronco faithful showed up and let their team know they were solidly behind them.  The crowd would not even let a devastating game-ending injury to standout receiver Austin Pettis deter their enthusiasm.  In fact, they sensed that with the dependable Pettis on the sideline, they would need to be more of a factor.

They were.  Nevada quarterback Collin Kaepernick had tremendous difficulty getting his play calls to his teammates, and the noise was directly responsible for delay of game penalties, time outs and numerous plays getting started with no time on the play clock. 

"I would just really like to thank all of the people, the fans and Bronco nation for coming out and supporting us," Bronco head coach Chris Petersen said following the game.  "They brought a great energy and we needed that. We knew we would and it was a hard fought game."

Although the poor weather hampered both quarterbacks, it was Boise State QB Kellen Moore who tied a career high with five touchdown passes.  Moore, who now has 38 TD passes this season, broke the school mark set by Bart Hendricks, who had 35 in 2001.  Three of Moore 's aerial scoring strikes went to reserve fullback Dan Paul, who was a lineman in high school.  Paul was filling in for senior Richie Brockel, who himself is out for the season with an injury.

In fact, Boise State has lost two star halfbacks (D.J. Harper and Matt Kaiserman), team captain Brockel, and receivers Tyler Shoemaker and now Pettis to injury.  And yet they still put away one of the hottest teams in college football over the last eight weeks.  Can we now put to rest the notion that Boise State isn't one of the deepest teams in the country?

With executives from three of the four major bowls watching, Boise State took Nevada 's best shot and was still standing at the end with their 12th win over the season against zero defeats.  ``In South Florida , there's a lot of buzz over TCU and Boise ,'' Orange Bowl executive director Eric Poms said at halftime during his first-ever trip to Boise .  "I'm very impressed,'' Poms said of the enthusiasm for the Broncos in Boise. .  Poms added ``we're wide open'' on which team to select to play in the Orange Bowl opposite the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game next weekend between Clemson and Georgia Tech.

Boise State has made its best case for a berth in the national championship game with 24 consecutive regular season victories over the past two seasons, the most in the country.  They can make that a perfect 25 with a win over New Mexico State next weekend in Boise .

"They're an outstanding football team," said longtime Nevada Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault.  "They're outstanding on both sides of the ball."

‘We've taken care of what we can control - and we're excited for whatever happens,'' Moore said.  `At the same time, we can't control (the BCS).''

"Let's hope the system should work like it should,'' Petersen said on the field following the game.  ``We've got one more game and if we win, we've done everything we can possibly do. And we've done it for two years in a row,'' Petersen said. ``We have confidence in the system and faith in the system that it should take care of the teams that should be in there.''

With Pettis hobbling on the sidelines with crutches and Nevada rallying within eight points at 27-19, Doug Martin took over the game.  The multi-talented Martin ran for over 50 yards on the ensuing drive, setting up a play-action fake that resulted in a 21-yard TD strike from Moore to tight end Tommy Gallarda. 

Vai Taua, one of an NCAA record three 1,000-yard rushers for Nevada , exploded for Nevada 's one big play of the night, a 71-yard burst through the middle as the Wolf Pack answered to make it 34-26. 

The defenses held on the next three possessions, but after linebacker Aaron Tevis forced a Taua fumble on the Nevada 33 that was recovered by Winston Venable, Martin stepped up again.  The hard-charging Martin was bottled up on the left side of the field but made a spectacular move up the sideline for an 18-yard gain.  Three plays later, Kyle Brotzman was good on a 27-yard field goal with 10:55 remaining and Nevada would get no closer the rest of the game.

The Bronco defense, paced by a 16-yard sack of Kaepernick by Tevis, held Nevada to a three-and-out on their next possession to force a punt.  Martin led another drive with 31 more rushing yards that got Boise State to the Nevada six-yard line.  Kirby Moore, who stepped in for the injured Pettis, made a great catch in the end zone from brother Kellen for the clinching score.

Defensive end Ryan Winterswyk recorded a sack of his own of Kaepernick and now has eight on the season.  If he can get two more, he would be the first Bronco in 13 years to get 10 sacks in a season.  "Swyk" now has 15 for his career.  Winterswyk also was credited with half a tackle for loss (along with fellow defensive lineman Billy Winn), and moved into ninth place for career tackles for loss with 35.5.  He passes standout Greg Sabala (1990-1993), who had 35 in his great career.

Nevada was on pace to break a 64-year-old record for the highest yards per carry in a season, averaging 7.8 coming into the WAC showdown.  That record is held by the 1945 Army team (7.64) that featured "Mr. Inside" Glenn Davis and "Mr. Outside" Doc Blanchard, one of the best backfield tandems in college football history.  Blanchard and Davis led Army to its second consecutive national championship that year.  Blanchard became the first junior to win the Heisman Trophy that season after running for 718 yards and 19 touchdowns.  Teammate Davis (who would win the Heisman the following year) ran for 994 yards and 18 touchdowns.   

Nevada 's per-carry average really suffered following the game with Boise State :  they dropped to 7.58 following the game, meaning they will need a great bowl game performance to eclipse the Army record.  The Wolf Pack finished with 242 yards on 44 carries.

Aside from the one run by Taua, the Bronco defense made it very tough for the Wolf Pack offense that had grown accustomed to running over opposing defenses.  Nevada had averaged 479 yards per game over their eight consecutive wins, including 559 against UNLV of the Mountain West Conference, 492 vs. Hawai'i and 461 against Fresno State .

Kaepernick, who came into the game with 1,129 yards and 16 TD's, was held to 31 yards on 16 carries and kept out of the end zone by the Boise State defense.  The Broncos harassed Kaepernick all night, getting two sacks, four tackles for loss and numerous quarterback hurries.  "You do your job on playing the quarterback and not get caught up in playing the dive," said Venable.  "It's assignment football where everybody does their job. I think we did a good job doing that tonight."

Nevada 's Luke Lippincott, who had 1,028 yards coming into the game, was held to one carry for six yards.  "It definitely feels great to be able to stop one of the best rushing teams in the country," Tevis added.  "I think we did a good job. They hit us on a couple plays, but we changed the game plan and came out and stopped them."

Coach (Justin) Wilcox does a great job, that's a hard tough offense," Petersen said.  "We had a guy fit a gap wrong and they creased us, so that just shows you what that was all about and how hard those guys played all game long. They are great players with a great scheme. We executed our side of the ball pretty well for the most part."

Hunter White was sensational not only in plugging gaps from his linebacker spot but on special teams.  White finished with eight tackles while J.C. Percy had seven, both career highs.  White had two tackles of Kaepernick for loss while Percy had a tackle of Taua behind the line.

Martin finished with a career-high 128 yards on 16 carries for Boise State , which clinched at least a tie with Nevada for their seventh Western Athletic Conference title since 2002.   "He's a warrior," Coach Petersen said of Martin.  "He is such a good player. We wouldn't be where we are today without him.  He's played defense, he's had two blocks on the kickoff team, he's on the punt team, and he's on the punt return team."

Speedster Titus Young got the Broncos rolling early with a 95-yard kickoff return to open the game.  Young, who also scored on a record 108-yard return against Idaho two weeks ago, is the only player in school history to go the distance on two kickoff returns in a season.

  Boise State extended their lead to 27-3 on three straight scoring connections from Moore to Paul.

Although Boise State is loaded with talented newcomers at receiver, they clearly missed Pettis.  Nevada was able to rally before the half with two drives capped off by Kaepernick TD strikes to Virgil Green and Brandon Wimberly to make it 27-16.    "We realize Boise is just an outstanding football team," said Ault.  "I was proud in the second half that we played hard. We didn't back off and kept on going."

Nevada was able to close to 27-19 with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter following Richard Drake's 37-yard field goal.  The Bronco defense was able to hold the Pack to three points thanks to consecutive tackles for loss of Kaepernick by Derrell Acrey and Kyle Wilson and a Kaepernick incompletion after Nevada had driven to the Boise State 12. 

Moore, one of those young Bronco wideouts that had to step up last night, finished with three catches for 69 yards and the touchdown.  Young led Boise State with four receptions for 69 yards.  He vaulted all the way up to sixth all-time for a single season with 64 catches this year.  Young ties Rodney Smith (1997) and Mike Holton (1974) and moved ahead of Pettis (who has 62) as Boise State 's leading receiver.  Young is also now Boise State 's #14 all-time receiver with 118 catches.

Kellen Moore finished 17 of 33 for 262 yards for Boise State although it clearly wasn't one of his better nights.  Still, Moore has fired a touchdown pass in 13 straight games.  And, he led the Broncos to its sixth straight game scoring 40 or more points.  Boise State has scored double-digits in 54 straight games.

Moore passed three more players in moving into fifth all-time for passing yards in a season.  Moore went over 3,000 yards last night (3,053), passing Ryan Dinwiddie's 3,043 in 2001, Jared Zabransky's 2,927 in 2004 and Jim McMillan's 2,900 yards in 1974.  Moore also moved into eighth as he now has totaled 3,049 yards of total offense this season.  He passes two seasons by Tony Hilde (3,031 in 1994 and 2,854 in 1996) and Zabransky's 2005 total of 2,854. 

Taua gained 160 yards rushing on 24 carries for Nevada (8-4, 7-1), which had averaged 52 points per game while winning eight straight.

Jeremy Avery was held to 37 yards by the Pack defense but still moved to 12th place on the school single-season rushing list with 1,045 yards this season.  Avery passed Ian Johnson (1,041 yards in 2007), Rodney Webster (1,037 yards in 1983), Jon Francis' total of 1,025 yards in 1984 and Cedric Minter's 1,012 yards in 1979. 

Young is also 15th with 877 receiving yards this season.  He passes running back John Smith, who had 854 in 1975.  Young's 225 yards of all-purpose running last night gave him 1,763 on the season, which is sixth all-time at Boise State .  He passed Chris Jackson (1,761 in 1987), Tim Gilligan (1,679 in 2003), Ryan Ikebe (1,647 yards in 1996) and Minter's 1,637 in 1978.  Young is also now sixth in career all-purpose yards with 3,749.  He passed Ikebe (3,700 yards), Webster (3,665) and Smith (3,549).

With his field goal and five PAT's, Brotzman now has 106 points this season, good for sixth all-time, and just eight shy of his 114 last year.  Brotzman also matched his field goal total of 17 last season, fifth all-time and tied with Mark Jensen's 1982 total.  Brotzman is now just one behind career record-holder Mike Black (1988-1991).

Boise State is 70-2 at home dating back to the start of the 1999 season.  The Broncos have won 25 consecutive home games since the 2005 MPC Computer Bowl against Boston College , 43 straight home conference games since 1998 and 55 consecutive regular season games on The Blue. 

Boise State goes for their fourth unbeaten season in six years next Saturday against New Mexico State in Bronco Stadium.

 



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