No. 21 Boise St. 45, Wyoming 14
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)
An efficient offense and stingy defense kept No. 21 Boise State on a roll, and the Broncos won their seventh straight by handily defeating a team without its head coach.
Harper scored on runs of 8 and 9 yards, moving him into fifth on Boise State's career rushing touchdowns list with 34. The Broncos (7-1, 4-0 Mountain West) gained 214 yards on the ground on 36 carries, averaging 5.9 yards.
Joe Southwick completed 20 of 28 passes for 198 yards and one interception and managed an efficient Boise State offense that converted 12 of 14 third downs and scored on all five its red-zone opportunities.
''We were very balanced today,'' Southwick said. ''I think we're just continuing to build, from top to bottom.''
Boise State's defense held the Cowboys below their 25.6 scoring average, recorded four sacks and limited Wyoming to 106 yards less than its average.
Wyoming (1-7, 0-4) was without coach Dave Christensen, who was fined $50,000 and suspended by the school for the week over his conduct after a 28-27 loss to Air Force on Oct. 13. Christensen confronted Falcons coach Troy Calhoun on the field, accusing the Falcons of faking an injury to their starting quarterback in the fourth quarter.
''This is a hard enough game - when you think everything's going correctly it's still really, really hard and so you throw a curve ball in like that, I'm sure that was very difficult on them,'' Broncos coach Chris Petersen said.
The Cowboys did stop one Boise State streak by becoming the first opponent in six games to score in the first half against the Broncos when quarterback Brett Smith ran for a score from 4 yards out early in the second quarter.
''That's a pretty good streak, huh?'' Petersen said. ''You know, it's going to come to an end sooner or later. We played hard and played good defense.''
Smith scored Wyoming's other touchdown on a 23-yard run early in the fourth quarter and completed 24 of 35 passes for 216 yards.
Harper scored both of his TDs in the first half, staking Boise State to a 17-7 halftime lead.
The Broncos put the game away in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points on a 28-yard run by Shane Williams-Rhodes, a 19-yard fumble return for a touchdown by defensive back Corey Bell and a 1-yard run by Grant Hedrick.
Jay Ajayi scored the Broncos' final TD on a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Wyoming assistant head coach Pete Kaligis, who filled in for Christensen this week, lamented his team's inability to stop Boise State on third down.
''Boise was phenomenal on third down conversions,'' said Kaligis, who coached his first college game as a head coach. ''We just couldn't get the punt team on the field.''
Wyoming players said the absence of Christensen didn't affect their preparation for the game.
''We wanted to get this win for coach Kaligis,'' Smith said. ''He is a great guy and with him taking on this role, I can't imagine being thrown into this situation.''
Kaligis said the team and entire athletics staff responded well to the coaching situation.
''I do have some good feelings about this week,'' he said.