October 18, 2011

Petersen at a loss to explain Broncos firepower

BOISE, Idaho (AP) It's now safe to say the Broncos' offense is finally hitting on all cylinders.

Just don't ask coach Chris Petersen to pinpoint exactly why or how.

The No. 5 Broncos (6-0) are fresh off rolling up a school-record 742 yards of total offense in Saturday's 63-13 pounding of Colorado State. The week before, Boise State battered Fresno State 57-7 behind 464 total yards on offense.

That's a lot of yards and points for an offense that - by traditional Boise State standards - seemed sluggish and out of sync in the first quarter of the season.

"I don't think it's any one thing," Petersen said Monday of the Broncos' latest outburst. "It's really a combination of a lot of things for us. If it was one thing, you'd just fix that."

During the first four games, the Broncos averaged 36.5 points, down from last year's season average of 45.1 points per game and 42.1 in 2009.

At times, the running game sputtered and had only one game with a tailback rushing for more than 100 yards. In a 30-10 win over Nevada, quarterback Kellen Moore logged his worst game of his brilliant four-year career, throwing for just 142 yards and two picks.

There were growing pains with a new batch of young receivers trying to adjust and set their timing with Moore, and the offensive line was still waiting to gel after dealing with a series of early-season injuries.

Sure the Broncos were beating up opponents, but not with the usual offensive firepower that has come to define teams in Petersen's tenure as head coach.

Then along came Fresno State and Colorado State, games that were dictated early by Moore's smart decision-making and accurate passing and a resurgent rushing attack that confused and kept defenses off balance.

Against Colorado State, Moore opened the game with 18 straight completions and orchestrated six scoring drives in less than two minutes, accomplishments aided in large part by an offensive line that limited a highly touted Rams pass rush to a single sack and just two hurries.

Doug Martin exploded for a career-high 200 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, including the game's first two touchdowns on runs of 26 and 65 yards.

By the half, the Broncos were leading the Rams 35-0 and on their way to the biggest blowout of the season and a dominating debut in the Mountain West Conference.

When pressed, Moore said it was difficult for him to recall a more impressive overall performance by the Bronco offense.

"Certainly last week was pretty special and pretty neat," Moore said Monday. "The defense and special teams have certainly helped by giving us pretty good field position. But definitely things went really well. We had a lot of explosive plays."

Bolstered by the last two games, the Broncos now boast the nation's 12th most potent offense, averaging 498.8 total yards per game, and 44.3 points per game, good enough for seventh best nationally. And Moore remains the nation's third most difficult quarterback to sack, at a rate of just .5 per game.

The offensive surge comes at a critical time as the Broncos begin their run of conference games and make another bid to contend for a national title. The Broncos take on Air Force at home Saturday before having a bye week. They travel to UNLV on Nov. 5 and have the season's toughest matchup, against TCU, on Nov. 12.

"I think we're just clicking as an offense ... and it's nice to have some balance between the passing and running game," said Martin. "Now it's just trying to stay consistent in every game."














 

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