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November 1, 2006

Boise State keeps BCS hopes alive

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BOISE, Idaho -Jared Zabransky threw with efficiency, Ian Johnson found the end zone twice and No. 14 Boise State dominated Fresno State on a national stage Wednesday night.

Zabransky passed for 180 yards and three touchdowns, Johnson rushed for 136 yards and the Broncos routed the Bulldogs 45-21.

Overshadowed much of the season by Johnson - the national leader in touchdowns - Zabransky directed the Broncos (9-0, 5-0 WAC) to scores on three consecutive possessions in the first half. He also led scoring drives the first two times Boise State had the ball in the second half.

Take away a kneel-down on the last play of the first half, and Boise State reached the end zone on five straight possessions, outscoring Fresno State 35-0 during the stretch. Zabransky completed 19 of 25 passes and added another 57 yards rushing.

The Broncos were ranked 14th in this week's BCS standings, and need to finish in the top 12 of the final poll to become the second team from a non-BCS conference to land a berth in one of the big-money bowl games.

With representatives from the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls in attendance, the Broncos were overpowering for three quarters, then Johnson finished off the Bulldogs (1-7, 1-3) with an impressive final drive.

Fresno State lost its seventh straight since opening the season with a 28-19 win over Nevada. It's the first time the Bulldogs have lost seven straight in one season since 1929.

Contained to mostly 5- and 6-yard gains, Johnson busted a 32-yard run down to the Fresno State 2 midway through the fourth quarter, carrying Bulldogs defenders the final 10 yards. He capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge, his 20th touchdown of the season.

Johnson also scored from 3 yards in the second quarter and had 24 carries.

Zabransky matched a season-high with the three TD passes, the first a perfect 28-yard strike on the run to Drisan James on the last play of the first quarter. He added an 8-yard pass to Vinny Perretta and a 4-yard TD to Jerard Rabb.

Fresno State's offense never got on track with sophomore quarterback Sean Newton making his second career start. The Bulldogs were outgained 138-12 in the first quarter and 248-62 in the first half.

Fresno State finally broke Boise State's scoring run when backup QB Tom Brandstater threw a 20-yard TD to Joe Fernandez late in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs pulled within 38-21 with 14:02 left when Damon Jenkins intercepted a Zabranksky pass and returned it 56 yards for a score. It was the first interception of the season for Fresno State, the last team in Division I-A without one.

Chastin West returning a kickoff 93 yards in the first quarter to give Fresno State a 7-3 lead.

For more coverage of Boise State, visit BroncoBlue.com; for more on Fresno State, visit RedwaveReport.com.

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