Unassuming star Moore directs No. 3 Boise St

Kellen Moore is uniquely indistinguishable. He’s modest and
reserved, unlikely to draw attention to himself. At 6-feet tall and
186 pounds, he hardly looks the part of a football hero.

Yet much like the Boise State team he leads, Moore is so much
more than the sum of his part, an undersized and overlooked
small-town kid who has turned out to be Heisman Trophy
contender.

”He’s a very calm person who does his homework so when he gets
into tough situations he goes back to his basics and keeps it
simple,” said his brother Kirby, a sophomore receiver for the
third-ranked Broncos.

In two years as Boise State’s starting quarterback, Kellen Moore
has thrown for more than 7,000 yards and 64 touchdowns with just 13
interceptions. Last year, his 39 touchdowns to three interceptions
was the best ratio in NCAA history. He was a third-team AP
All-American.

Maybe the most impressive number Moore has racked up is this:
26-1. That’s Boise State’s record with Moore heading into Monday
night’s monumental opener against No. 10 Virginia Tech at FedEx
Field in Landover, Md.

”Sometimes it feels like it’s gone for ever. Other days it
seems fast,” Moore said. ”you’re watching tape and see a clip and
it’s two years ago and it feels like yesterday. Other times you
think ‘I’ve been here a while,’ especially when you see the
freshman.”

It was back when Moore was a redshirting freshman, three years
ago, that he started displaying the attributes that have made him
maybe the most successful QB in Boise State history.

Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, the coach who fought to give
Moore a scholarship when Idaho and Eastern Washington were his only
other suitors, said Moore’s performances during scrimmages that
redshirt year convinced him the Broncos had unearthed a gem.

Harsin knew Moore’s background – son of a coach, played in a
pass-based offense in high school – gave the kid the football
smarts needed to do the job.

But in his first few weeks on campus, during basic drills, Moore
never stood out. It wasn’t until Harsin threw Moore into a game
setting, that the lackluster drills were forgotten.

”His freshman year we put him in a scrimmage and you see that’s
where he really shines is in that game environment and being in
that situation,” Harsin said.

For coach Chris Petersen, where Moore set himself apart was the
film room, during hours of study. Even when it was certain Moore
was never going to play, Petersen noticed he was paying the most
attention.

”Here is this redshirt and he is engaged and maybe more engaged
than some of the guys who are playing,” Petersen recalled. ”Just
the focus he would bring to the meetings and when you do that day
after day after day you start to really reap the benefits.

”That’s a very simple concept that most can’t do day after day,
stay engaged for a full hour in a meeting, totally engaged, but he
could.”

For teammate Austin Pettis, it’s Moore’s knack for knowing what
the receivers are about to do, even if a route is altered in the
middle of a play, that makes the quarterback special.

”He just knows what the defense is doing at all times and it
seems like he knows what you’re doing at all times,” Pettis said.
”If the DB does something to you and you have to change your
route, he knows what you’re doing. It makes you’re job a lot
easier.”

The numbers Moore has posted in his two seasons – and especially
last year – are almost impossible to match. Harsin points out the
Broncos never ask Moore to carry the offense, to be a star. Moore’s
lone task is to make the right decisions, Harsin said.

If he does that, the numbers come.

”He just needs to continue to do his job and he gets that. And
that is the reason he is our quarterback,” Harsin said. ”He did
his job he made the right decisions and we saw that when he was
young. That’s why he is out there.”

Moore will need to avoid any major mistakes if the Broncos run
at a national title is to even get started against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies surrendered 15 points per game last season and 167 yards
passing per game. Duke was the only team to throw for more than 250
yards against the Hokies’ defense.

That’s fine to Moore. He believes the manner in which the
Broncos beat TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl proved the Broncos don’t
need to throw for huge yards or score bundles of points to defeat
tough opponents.

”I think it shows resiliency. It wasn’t a great performance,”
Moore said. ”It’s one of those you keep going, you keep going and
eventually when the opportunities come, fourth quarter, you’re able
to make some plays.”