Coach Chris Petersen claims to not pay any heed to the BCS popularity contest. That would be the one that excluded his rampaging Boise State Broncos last year following a perfect regular season and threatens to do so again this season.
Yet there was Petersen this week hanging a quote in the locker room from Robb Akey. The energetic coach of resurgent Idaho said he wanted to “take care of business,” ruin his rival’s BCS push and make the entire WAC mad at him for costing the conference the big bucks of having a team in the series.
And this was Petersen on Saturday, after Kellen Moore threw four touchdown passes to Austin Pettis and tied a career high with five overall while the supposedly endangered, No. 6 Broncos overwhelmed the shellshocked Vandals, 63-25:
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“I think we’ll probably drop about three or four notches.”
Petersen then flashed a wry grin and tapped his feet, as if pleased with his jab at the pollsters who help decide the BCS.
They want style points, so they should be pleased, too. Boise State sure looked beautiful in — and on — blue.
Titus Young had a 100-yard kickoff return that was actually longer and Kyle Wilson returned an interception 71 yards for another score for the big-play Broncos (10-0, 5-0 WAC), who beat their rivals for the 11th consecutive time.
“There was a lot of attention here,” Moore said. “And we were aware of it.”
The nation’s passing efficiency leader, with 32 touchdowns and just three interceptions, passed Steve Young for 19th place on the Western Athletic Conference’s list for career touchdown passes. His 57th in two seasons was to Pettis early in the fourth quarter.
Recent close wins on national television had put Boise State behind TCU in the BCS rankings, and only the higher ranked non-BCS school has a chance to crash the megabucks series.
This one wasn’t close. The go-go Broncos used a halfback pass, an interception return, a kickoff return and funky formations with tailback Jeremy Avery taking direct snaps behind just three interior linemen – all for fancy scores.
“We wanted to come out and make a big statement in this game,” said Pettis, who tapped balls to himself while covered and made one-handed catches en route to 123 yards receiving on eight catches. He now has 14 touchdown receptions, a new season record for the Broncos. He even partially blocked a punt.
The Vandals (7-4, 4-3) were supposed to join WAC co-leader Nevada, which comes to Boise in two weeks, as the remaining threats to the Broncos’ third perfect regular season since 2004. Idaho was off to its best start in 15 years, with as many wins since September as it had in the three previous seasons combined.
It left here Vandal-ized. Again.
“I’m stressed out right now,” Idaho safety Shiloh Keo said.
The Broncos are averaging 60 points per home game against Idaho in six games this decade. The last three times the Broncos had played the Vandals in Boise, they’d won 58-14, 70-35, 65-7 – and now Saturday’s runaway.
“I didn’t expect to get blown out like this,” Akey said. “I knew that they were a good football team — but I didn’t expect for this to happen.”
Idaho committed seven turnovers, six by fill-in quarterback Brian Reader. He threw five interceptions while starting for the second consecutive game for Nathan Enderle, who is second only to Moore and 10th nationally in passing efficiency. Enderle has a bruised rotator cuff. Akey thinks he will play in Idaho’s next game Nov. 28 versus Utah State.
Reader, who finished 17 for 27 for 305 yards and a touchdown, lost a fumble on his third play, setting up Pettis’ leaping touchdown catch over Kenneth Patten. Reader threw an interception on his second pass. Boise State converted that into a 25-yard touchdown from Moore to Young, behind a block by Pettis.
Idaho appeared to claim some momentum to carry into halftime when DeMaundray Woolridge, who rushed 24 times for 143 yards, scored from 1 yard to make it 35-17 with 22 seconds remaining in the half.
Trey Farquhar’s kickoff soared 7 yards deep into the end zone. Young appeared ready to concede a touchback, but teammate Doug Martin urged him to run it out.
Great idea. Young sprinted untouched down the right sideline. Winston Venable leveled Farquhar at the Idaho 40 to wipe out the Vandals’ last chance at the tackle – and the upset.
“Coach Pete told me to hold him in if it was too deep,” Martin said. “But with 27 seconds left I thought, ‘What does it matter?’ So I waved him out.”
Officially, Young’s return was 100 yards, tying a Boise State record set by John Broadous in 1981 also against Idaho. This one put the Broncos up 42-17 at the break.