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Wyoming falls to No. 21 Boise State 45-14

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)

Hard to imagine suspended Wyoming coach Dave Christensen making much of a difference in this one.

The Cowboys were pushed around in a 45-14 loss to No. 21 Boise State on Saturday, yielding 214 yards rushing in their fourth consecutive loss.

Brett Smith had two touchdown runs and threw for 216 yards, but Wyoming managed just 54 yards on the ground. Boise State (7-1, 4-0 Mountain West) finished with four sacks.

''That's a BCS defense,'' Smith said.

D.J. Harper rushed for 105 yards for the Broncos, who have won seven straight. Harper had an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 9-yard score in the second that helped Boise State to a 17-7 halftime lead.

Joe Southwick completed 20 of 28 passes for 198 yards with one interception as Boise State converted 12 of 14 third downs and scored on all five its red zone opportunities.

''Kind of the same story all year, we just weren't getting off on third downs,'' said linebacker Korey Jones, who had 11 tackles for the Cowboys.

Wyoming (1-7, 0-4) was without 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 Air Force of faking an injury to its 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 curveball 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 Smith had a 4-yard TD run early in the second quarter.

Smith scored Wyoming's other touchdown on a 23-yard run early in the fourth and completed 24 of 35 passes.

The Broncos put the game away in the third quarter, scoring three times on a 28-yard run by Shane Williams-Rhodes, a 19-yard fumble return 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 Pete Kaligis filled in for Christensen this week. It was his first college game as a head coach.

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 athletic department responded well to the coaching situation.

''I do have some good feelings about this week,'' he said.

Christensen returns next week when Wyoming hosts Colorado State.

Tagged: Boise State, Wyoming, Brett Smith

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