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November 19, 2006
Broncos move one step
closer to BCS berth
BOISE- By the end of Saturday night, the Boise State football team would be one of just two undefeated teams left in Division I-A football. (Top-ranked Ohio State outlasted #2 Michigan to remain the other unbeaten and #6 Rutgers lost to Cincinnati 30-11).
But the Broncos didn't know that.
What they did know was their game with Utah State was the last regular season game the current senior class would ever play on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium. And they wanted to make it count.
The Broncos jumped out to a 21-3 lead over the Aggies and didn't look back, rolling to a 49-10 win for their 11th of the season and 51st out of their last 53 at home. BSU (ranked 12th in the latest BCS Standings) won a share of the WAC title with Saturday's win, but can win the conference outright with a win over Nevada next Saturday.
"Now can we talk about the BCS?" asked one reporter in the post-game press conference to Bronco coach Chris Petersen.
"You can talk about it all you want," replied the coach with a smile.
Somehow, the first-year head coach has managed to avoid all the "BCS talk" this season, but the task of just focusing on the next game will get much harder this week.
For most of the season, Boise State (11-0, 7-0 WAC) has been in a position to become just the second team from a non-BCS conference (Utah in 2004) to qualify for one of the "big money" bowl games. The Broncos are one of the winningest programs in all of college football since the year 2000, but the rules of qualifying for a BCS game are different now.
Though the Broncos say they approach every game the same, no one expected the Aggies of Utah State to be the team that shattered their BCS dream.
"We didn't really give ourselves a chance. Offensively we couldn't get anything going," said Utah State coach Brent Guy.
Or maybe there never was any chance. How else can you explain the performance of Boise State's offense with its star runningback, Ian Johnson, sidelined after recovering from a partially collapsed left lung during the San Jose State game last weekend? Johnson led the nation with 21 touchdowns coming into Saturday's game, but the Broncos simply inserted Brett Denton into the backfield and he ran for 126 yards and two scores.
Boise State racked up 493 yards of total offense to just 188 for Utah State. The Broncos' defense limited the Aggies' to a dismal 2-of-13 on third down conversions. And that's with most of the starters out by the end of the third quarter.
Next week, the Broncos get Johnson back. Next week, the game is on national television (ESPN2). Next week, a win means the Broncos will be packing their bags for New Year's.