Boise State fans clad in a mixture of orange and blue were on hand Saturday afternoon at Bronco Stadium to watch their team close out their first season of play in the Mountain West Conference. The #7 ranked Boise State Broncos (11-1, 6-1) handed the New Mexico Lobos
(11-1, 1-6) another big loss on the year, and gave the Lobos their third shutout this season to Mountain West teams. The victory for the Broncos was a chance to let their seniors play in front of the hometown crowd a final time.
The Bronco win was assured from the beginning when they put up 21 points in the first quarter over a troubled New Mexico program that fired its head coach midway through the season. The Lobos were held to one first down in the quarter. In fact, they were held to just eight first downs total in the loss, and they converted just 3-of-15 third downs. Lobos QB B. R. Holbrook was 16 of 18 passes for 145 yards and no TD's, but the running game helped kill their chances. His runningbacks accounted for a paltry 52 ground yards.
New Mexico played hard from beginning to end but were clearly outmatched. They did have their bright spots, and one was linebacker Carmen Messina
, who was a huge standout in the game. He had 21 tackles against Boise players and set a new Mountain West Conference record for tackles. Messina eclipsed UNLV's Adam Seward's mark of 434 tackles and finished his own college career with 455 tackles.
The Boise State offense put up 543 total yards to 197 total yards for the New Mexico team. QB Kellen Moore completed 28 of 33 passes for 313 yards in the first three quarters before leaving the game. The win was Moore's 49th as quarterback, and he is now the winningest starting quarterback in college football history. He also holds the second best spot with 137 career touchdown passes, behind only Houston's Case Keenum. He has passed for 3,507 yards this season and 14,374 for his career.
One of Moore's passes yesterday went to WR Tyler Shoemaker, who caught it for a TD. That was the 15th TD pass for Shoemaker on the season and broke Austin Pettis' school record of 14.
“These guys might have a chance to win 50 games,” Petersen said after the game
. “Those expectations are totally unrealistic, you don’t expect anybody to do that, and that’s what they’ve done. That’s what the standards are now for this program.”
The Boise State Broncos 49 wins over four years have come with only 3 losses, and those 3 losses came at a total of 5 points. They finish out a third straight season ranked in the top ten of the BCS polls. The Bronocos will be waiting out today to see what bowl it will play in post season, while quietly hoping for a BCS spot. That bowl decision depends on a complex formula and a number of factors that are out of its control.