November 27, 2009

Nevada-Boise St. Preview

(AP) -- Boise State showed it has more offensive options than just quarterback Kellen Moore in its last game. It will probably need every one of those when it faces Nevada with the Western Athletic Conference title on the line.

The sixth-ranked Broncos go for their 12th straight victory when they host the surging Wolf Pack on Friday night.

While undefeated, Boise State is running out of time to impress Bowl Championship Series voters. Usually there is only one team from a non-BCS conference that receives a bid for one of the top bowls and the Broncos currently trail No. 4 TCU.

Boise State (11-0, 6-0) could make a good case for moving up this week, though. It faces a Nevada team that has won eight straight and has averaged 55.6 points over the last five games, in large part due to a prolific running game that is the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Broncos and Wolf Pack are the only undefeated teams in the WAC and Friday's winner would earn at least a share of the conference title.

Boise State is looking to secure a share of its sixth WAC title in eight years. Further helping the Broncos' chances is having their final two games at home, where they've won 56 straight since a season-opening loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001.

A potent offense is the biggest reason for Boise State's success this season. The Broncos lead the nation with 44.4 points per game and also rank among the top 10 in the country in yards per contest with 456.0.

For much of the season, Boise State has relied on Moore, who is second in the nation with 33 passing touchdowns. The Broncos showed they had other offensive weapons in their latest victory, though, as they rushed for a season-high 323 yards in a 52-21 win over Utah State last Friday.

Moore threw for 233 yards and one touchdown, but had one of his more ineffective games of the year, completing a season-low 15 passes. His quarterback rating was a season-worst 130.6 after failing to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the first time this year.

It didn't matter, however, as the running game more than compensated with its best showing of the season. Doug Martin ran for a team-high 121 yards and four TDs on 13 carries while Jeremy Avery rushed for two more touchdowns.

"We just came out with an intensity and didn't back down. We just kept pounding and pounding and pounding," Martin said. "It's nice."

The Broncos finished with a season-high 572 yards of offense. They've averaged 51.8 points and 487.8 yards of offense over the last five games while their defense has been just as good, giving up 97 total points in the last five games.

The defense, though, could receive its biggest test of the season Friday. Nevada (8-3, 7-0) is averaging 445.6 yards rushing it its last eight games and has three players that have ran for more than 1,000 yards this season - the first team in NCAA history to accomplish that. Vai Taua leads the team with 118.5 yards per game.

The Wolf Pack are coming off a 63-20 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday during which they racked up 670 yards of offense, including a season-high 574 on the ground. Luke Lippincott and quarterback Colin Kaepernick each ran for two touchdowns while Kaepernick also passed for two scores.

Nevada has lost nine straight to Boise State, including a 69-67 four-overtime victory in 2007 at Bronco Stadium in one of the highest-scoring games at the FBS level.

Friday is the final regular-season game for the Wolf Pack. Boise State's final game is Dec. 5 at home against New Mexico State.


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