The Boise State Broncos (4-0) posted a decisive victory yesterday over the Nevada Wolf Pack
leaving the Pack 1-3 on the season. The victory came at soldout Bronco Stadium, packed with a sea of blue and orange clad fans. The Nevada faithful were supposedly there (the university sold all 1,000 tickets allotted by Boise State), but the stands were nearly void of Wolf Pack shirts and you had to search hard to find one.
One report is that the Nevada crowd, if there was one, was afraid to wear their gear in fear of retribution by Bronco fans and were concerned about how Wolf Pack fans would be treated at Saturday's game. That news comes as a surprise to the Boise State crowd who pride themselves on good hospitality and sportsmanship. But those Nevada concerns were laid to rest for at least one group of Nevada fans who made the trip from Reno to Boise who said they had no negative experiences at Bronco Stadium. "No, fans are great up here," one of them said
. "Just getting some stares. That's it."
If there were some stares, Bronco QB Kellen Moore
took in some from the Boise crowd as well. Astounded fans who expected his trademark aerial display watched as Moore, still wearing a knee brace, went 19-of-33 for a career-low 142 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked for the first time this season. Those fans can also expect Moore's Heisman stock to drop a bit this week.
The Nevada offense sputtered and coughed from the start as well, and when the Wolf Pack went in for half-time, they were scoreless. It was the second time in the past two games that the Broncos have held an opponent scoreless in the first half. That was surprising because Nevada came into Bronco Stadium ranking 15th in the nation in total offense, and hammering out an average of 483 yards per game. Instead, Nevada let the Broncos claim the victory. After four games on the road against tough opponents, Nevada did not field Cody Fajardo
due to a shoulder injury last week. Starting QB Tyler Lantrip
was only 5 of 16 for 50 yards, and backup QB Mason Magleby
was 4 for 4 that included a TD, but the Wolf Pack never got on a roll.
When the Broncos took their turn at the ball, they managed to score in each of the first three quarters. And while Kellen Moore struggled at times, not all of the passing misfires can be put squarely on his shoulders. There were some good throws, but many of the Boise State receivers seemed to be on cruise control at times. WR Matt Miller had a few drops, and WR Mitch Burroughs
’ could have had a 51-yard TD. Still, to his credit, Burroughs did lead the team with five catches for 34 yards.
Thanks to a strong Bronco defensive performance, Boise State came up with the dominating end of the win. It came against a very good Nevada team. Last week the Pack played Texas Tech, one of the toughest teams in the nation, and nearly came away with a win, racking up 562 total yards, and losing by a point in the last 36 seconds of play.
But if they were expecting a similar performace against Boise State, it is clear from the beginning that the Bronco defense had other ideas. They held the Wolf Pack to 182 yards of total offense, and a paltry 59 yards of rushing. The Bronco defenders also logged a season-high 12 tackles for loss. The Wolf Pack didn't even get on the scoreboard until early in the fourth quarter with a field goal. Then, with 46 seconds left in the game, the Wolf Pack added their only touchdown when Nevada QB Mason Magleby connected with WR Rishard Matthews on a 53 yard pass.
Broncos head coach Chris Petersen saw a much improved running game out of the Bronco backfield than he did a week ago in a sloppy performance against Tulsa. Overall, the Broncos rushed for a season-high 169 yards and had more total running yards than passing. RB Doug Martin
had 21 carries for 126 yards, averaging 6 yards a touch. Two of those were for touchdowns. This time it was tailback D.J. Harper
who struggled with the run, and whose 11 carries only averaged 3.3 yards on the day. But it was Harper who scored the first TD, and had the longest pass play of the day doing it: a 21-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
"Fortunately our run game came to life a little bit," said Petersen
. "I care more about that than the pass game, because I know we'll get that figured out, so I think we made a step there."
Petersen has six days to do that figuring. The next game for the Broncos will be next Friday evening against the Fresno State Bulldogs (2-5) down in Fresno. Head coach Pat Hill and his Dogs will be waiting for the Broncos, and looking to return the favor of the 51-0 shutout they suffered last year in Bronco Stadium.
But for now it feels good to sit back and enjoy a little bit of retribution against a Wolf Pack team that last year ruined the Bronco's perfect season and bid for a BCS bowl game.