December 3, 2009

New Mexico St.-Boise St. Preview

(AP) -- An upset nearly halfway across the country seemed to bolster Boise State's chances to earn a BCS bowl berth, but the sixth-ranked Broncos know nothing is guaranteed despite a potentially unbeaten record.

Boise State will try to make its final case for a bid by finishing off a second straight perfect regular season Saturday against visiting New Mexico State.

Oklahoma's 27-0 win last Saturday over then-No. 11 Oklahoma State removed one potential obstacle from the Broncos' path to their second BCS bowl game in four seasons.

No. 4 TCU, however, wrapped up an unbeaten season on that same day with a 51-10 rout of New Mexico, putting the Horned Frogs in line to claim the lone automatic bid from a non-BCS conference.

That leaves the Broncos unsure of their postseason destination despite a 12-0 record and 7-0 mark in the Western Athletic Conference.

Boise State coach [Chris Petersen[/db] is hopeful his team will have done enough to earn perhaps a trip back to Glendale, Ariz., where the Broncos shocked Oklahoma in an unforgettable 43-42 upset in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

The Broncos, however, were left out of the BCS bowl mix last season despite a 12-0 record. Fellow unbeaten Utah beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl while Boise State lost 17-16 to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.

"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."

Petersen's team clinched a share of the seventh WAC title in program history last week by holding off Nevada for a 44-33 victory as Kellen Moore led the way again.

Despite a career-low 51.5 completion percentage, the sophomore matched a career high with five touchdown passes, including three to converted linebacker Dan Paul.

The Broncos, however, led by just eight entering the fourth quarter before scoring 10 in a row to put the game out of reach.

"It wasn't the prettiest game," Moore said. "But anytime you can finish the game and win a share of the WAC, then you've got to be happy."

Moore might not be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony later this month, but FBS' passing-efficiency leader has crafted one of the nation's best seasons with 3,053 yards and a school-record 38 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

In last season's matchup with New Mexico State, Moore had 230 yards and three touchdowns while playing three quarters of a 49-0 rout in Las Cruces. The Broncos generated 495 yards of offense while holding the Aggies to 150 and recording six sacks.

Boise State will face another struggling club while trying to earn its 25th consecutive regular-season victory.

New Mexico State (3-9, 1-6) hopes to avoid its first 10-loss season since a winless 2005 campaign and enters this contest on a six-game slide.

The latest defeat came in bitter fashion, 13-10 at San Jose State. The Aggies rallied from an early 10-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but lost on a field goal with 34 seconds left.

Junior running back Seth Smith, who had 120 yards in the loss, has been a bright spot. A junior college transfer who sat out last season, Smith needs 98 yards to become the school's first 1,000-yard rusher since Chris Barnes in 2000.

He'll have to contend with the country's 16th-best defense (308.7 yards per game). The Broncos also boast the ninth-best offense (453.5 ypg) and are second in scoring at 44.3 points.

The Aggies, meanwhile, rank last offensively with 11.8 points and 232.5 yards per game. They're also among the nation's worst defenses in allowing 30.8 points and 413.6 yards per game.

Not surprisingly, Boise State holds a 9-0 lead in the series, which includes a 58-0 drubbing at home on Oct. 7, 2007.



 

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