BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 22: Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against the Air Force Falcons at Bronco Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
The #5 ranked Boise State Broncos (7-0, 2-0) wrapped up their second Mountain West Conference victory Saturday afternoon with a win over the Air Force Falcons leaving the flyboys 3-4 on the season and 0-3 in conference play. The hard-fought victory on The Blue in Boise came at Bronco Stadium, but it did not come easy. On hand to witness the first meeting of the MWC rivals were a sea of orange clad fans and a sizeable crowd of Air Force supporters, including active duty airmen from nearby Mountain Home AFB. Pregame, a flight of jet fighters did a stadium flyover to the cheers of the soldout stadium.
Those who came for a good football game certainly got what they wanted. The Boise State offense led by QB Kellen Moore watched the game mostly from the sidelines while the Air Force offense dominated the time of possession with 36:18 compared to 23:42 for Broncos. But when the Broncos did have the ball they made it count. Moore threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns and RB Doug Martin added two scores on the ground where he ran 21 times for 125 tough yards. TE Tyler Shoemaker caught 4 passes for 98 yards, and WR Matt Miller caught 5 for 67 yards. Each also scored a TD. All told, the Broncos put up 423 total yards to 408 for the Falcons.
The Air Force offense battered the Bronco defenders all afternoon, and Boise State had player after player get hurt and limp off the field, including S George Iloka and DT Billy Winn. Air Force came into the game with the nation's 10th best rushing attack, and Boise State found out why. Led by QB Tim Jefferson, the Falcons used their triple option to wreck havoc and create confusion among the Boise defenders, allowing the Falcons to rip big holes in the Bronco D-line. That allowed FB Mike DeWitt to carry 18 times for 108 yards, averaging 6 yards a run. Falcons WR Zack Kauth made three catches for 93 yards.
The Falcons were able to move the ball down the field, and they kept the game close. A big momentum changer going into the lockeroom at halftime came with 2:44 left in the second quarter when Air Force was trailing by a TD. Inside their own territory, Air Force tried to fake punt with a shovel pass to WR Mikel Hunter, who was wrapped up and had the ball stripped by LB J.C. Percy. Bronco nickleback Hunter White picked up the football and lumbered 15 yards for a touchdown that gave Boise State a 20-7 lead.
Three times in the second half the Falcons were within a touchdown of tying the game but were never able to catch up. Jefferson completed half his passes (8 of 16) for 144 yards but had no TD's and one INT. Still, the Air Force team never quit and their total performance had the fans in the stands until the very end of the game. With 3:31 left in the 4th quarter and trailing by 8, the Falcons went for an onside kick, but the ball was recovered by Broncos Tyler Shoemaker. Once more the Broncos moved downfield where Dan Goodale kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the game away. Of special note was LB Byron Hout, who led the Broncos defense with 18 tackles on the night, and 8 were solo.
This was the 45th victory in Kellen Moore's college career and tied Colt McCoy for the most wins by a starting quarterback in FBS history.
"It's a neat honor, but I'm in a fortunate situation," Moore said after the game, quick to spread the credit with his team. "I've been fortunate to play for four years with a lot of great guys, and there's a lot of us and a bunch of people that got this record."
Next Saturday the Air Force Falcons travel to Albuquerque, NM to take on the New Mexico Lobos at University Stadium, while the Boise State Broncos will have a bye week before traveling to Las Vegas on November 5th, to take on the UNLV Rebels.
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