Boise St.-Virginia Tech Preview
After years of trying to prove it belongs among the elite
programs in the nation, Boise State’s new goal is to justify its
The third-ranked Broncos aren’t wasting much time doing that,
Boise State begins its quest for a national championship as it
faces No. 10 Virginia Tech for the first time at FedEx Field in
Landover, Md., on Monday night.
Over the last decade, the Broncos have gone from feel-good
underdogs to one of the premier teams in the country. They received
a first-place vote while getting their highest preseason ranking
after going 14-0 and beating then-No. 3 TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta
Bowl last season.
Boise State finished the season at No. 4 in the AP poll, and
coach Chris Petersen isn’t concerned with proving critics wrong any
“Let’s prove everyone right,” the Broncos’ fifth-year coach
Boise State is again considered a Bowl Championship Series
contender, and it plans to maintain that status with its move to
the Mountain West Conference next year. This will be the last
season for the Broncos in the Western Athletic Conference, which
they’ve dominated with a 49-4 record while winning three conference
titles in four years under Petersen.
The Broncos have won two BCS bowls in that stretch, and are now
looking to take the final step and claim a spot in the national
“It could happen,” said quarterback Kellen Moore, considered a
Heisman Trophy candidate. “Every year there are different
variables. Two years ago we were undefeated but there were a
handful of undefeated teams. Sometimes you lose out on those
“You play well, in the end you’re going to be doing something
Returning all but one starter is a major reason expectations are
so high. The offense is intact after tying Houston with 42.2 points
per game to lead the nation last year.
In two seasons, Moore is 26-1 and has thrown for 7,022 yards
with 64 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 39 touchdowns to three
interceptions last year was the best ratio in NCAA history.
Wide receives Austin Pettis and Titus Young combined for 142
catches and 24 touchdowns, while running back Jeremy Avery rushed
for 1,151 yards and six scores.
Boise State is also sound defensively, leading the WAC by
holding opponents to an average of 17.1 points.
Just how good the Broncos are in 2010 will be tested immediately
by Virginia Tech, which routinely boasts one of the best defenses
in the country.
The Hokies ranked ninth in average points allowed (15.6) and
11th in pass defense, giving up 167.1 yards per game with nine
The unit, however, is a major question mark after losing seven
starters from a 10-3 season capped by a 37-14 win over Tennessee in
the Chik-fil-A Bowl.
“We’re playing against an offense that, I believe, is running on
all cylinders and I’m excited about that because it’s been awhile
since we had an offense like that,” defensive coordinator Bud
As opposed to relying heavily on its defense, Virginia Tech is
expected to boast a dynamic offense centered around quarterback
Tyrod Taylor, who had 2,311 passing yards and 370 rushing in his
first full season as starter.
The senior was key to the offense averaging 31.8 points to rank
second in the ACC last year.
“I feel the same way with him out there as I did when Michael
Vick was out there,” coach Frank Beamer said, speaking of the
dual-threat quarterback who led the Hokies to the 1999 national
championship game against Florida State. “Any play has a chance of
going a long ways.”
Virginia Tech’s offensive success will also hinge on running
backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. Williams ran for 1,655 yards
and 21 touchdowns, breaking the Atlantic Coast Conference freshman
yardage record Evans set in 2008 (1,265) before missing last season
with an ACL tear.
“Having these two backs behind me, that’s going to take a lot of
pressure off my legs and open up lanes for the passing area,”
Taylor said. “They’re going to stack the box knowing that we have a
great rushing game and that’s going to open things for me and my
Taylor has his top three targets back in wide receivers Jarrett
Boykin, Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts, who combined for 92 catches
and 10 touchdowns.
“They’re the show right now,” cornerback Rashad Carmichael said
of the offense, “but we have a lot of pride and a lot of tradition,
so we’re going to do what we do on that side of the ball.”