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October 13, 2009
Boise St.-Tulsa Preview
(AP) -- Boise State is hoping to once again seize a BCS berth from one of the power conferences, but performances like it had last time out won't help its case.
Following a bye week spent cleaning up mistakes, the fifth-ranked Broncos look for a more polished effort Wednesday night when they visit Tulsa.
With impressive victories through its first four games, Boise State (5-0) was rewarded with a No. 5 ranking in the Sept. 27 poll, its highest in school history. But it hardly looked like a team with BCS bowl aspirations in a lackluster 34-16 victory over UC Davis on Oct. 3.
The Broncos, who haven't earned a BCS berth since defeating Oklahoma 43-42 in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 season, were expected to dominate the Football Championship Subdivision opponent, but their high-powered offense never got in gear.
Boise State came into the contest averaging 214.3 rushing yards per game behind running backs Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin, but the team was limited to a season-low 101 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Kellen Moore did his best to make up for the sluggish running game by throwing for 285 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to receiver Austin Pettis, but the offense still had trouble sustaining drives. The Broncos had nine penalties, were stopped on six of 10 third-down attempts and produced 13 points on four first-half trips in the red zone.
The defense wasn't much better.
Boise State held the Aggies to just 28 yards rushing, but recorded just one sack and didn't force a turnover for the first time this season.
"I'm frustrated with a couple different phases," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "Too many penalties, when you can't score inside the 4 and 5 yard line when you have multiple tries, that's frustrating.
"We'll have their attention without question here and get a few things corrected."
The flat performance dropped the Broncos one spot in the poll, a spot they managed to reclaim after LSU's loss to Florida this past week.
Still, an uninspiring effort against a lesser opponent doesn't help win style points that might benefit them in the polls and BCS standings.
"We just need to get better and we can't control any of that type of stuff," Petersen said. "Even when you play good or sometimes you don't put your best foot forward. I just hope this game just really refocuses everybody around here about not paying attention to things like that."
Boise State hopes the expected return of cornerback Kyle Wilson, the team's defensive leader and top punt returner, can give the Broncos a boost.
Wilson, a senior and starter the last 3 1/2 years, was out against UC Davis because of a strained shoulder and his presence was missed as the defense allowed season highs of 206 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns. With Wilson in the lineup the first four games, the Broncos yielded an average of 163.3 passing yards with two touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Wilson and the Broncos secondary will have to step up against a Tulsa team led by quarterback G.J. Kinne, who ranks seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 161.7 passer rating and has thrown for 1,142 yards with 10 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Kinne wasn't fazed much by a constant rain in the Golden Hurricane's 27-10 victory at Rice on Oct. 3, completing 21 of 32 passes for 251 yards and throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Whitmore in the fourth quarter.
Tulsa (4-1), which played with Boise State in the Western Athletic Conference before moving to Conference USA in 2005, is 0-4 all-time against the Broncos. The teams haven't met since 2004.
The Golden Hurricane, winners of 13 of 14 at home, are hoping to deliver a strong performance against a highly touted opponent to gain respect, something they failed to do in a 45-0 loss at then-No. 12 Oklahoma on Sept. 19.
"The Oklahoma game was a big game and we didn't play very well," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "We just have to continue to get guys healthy and keep playing. This game is definitely a huge game and an opportunity for us to go out and gain some credibility."