Oregon St.-Boise St. Preview

Facing another non-conference test, third-ranked Boise State can

take solace in the fact it hasn’t lost a regular-season game at

home in more than nine years.

Oregon State is certainly doing its best to avoid another

blowout loss on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium.

The No. 24 Beavers painted one of their practice fields blue to

prepare for Saturday’s showdown in Boise, where they’ll try to

spoil the Broncos’ home opener and BCS title plans.

“It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for,” Oregon State running

back Jacquizz Rodgers said.

But the Beavers (1-1) already have come up short in one visit to

a potential BCS buster this year, losing 30-21 at then-No. 6 TCU on

Sept. 4.

Boise State (2-0) may present an even tougher challenge after

beating the Horned Frogs in last season’s Fiesta Bowl, then running

its winning streak to 16 with victories over Virginia Tech and

Wyoming this month.

After coming from behind to beat the then-No. 10 Hokies 33-30 at

FedEx Field on Sept. 6, the Broncos cruised to a 51-6 victory in

Laramie last Saturday, riding 370 passing yards and two touchdowns

from Kellen Moore.

A win over Oregon State would only increase talk about Boise

State as a national title contender, with few challenges awaiting

the team during its WAC schedule.

“People are excited about us,” Moore said. “It means people care

about us, they think we’re playing good football. But we just take

care of our business and let other people deal with that.”

Coach Chris Petersen, however, is hoping to limit the hype even

though his team outgained Wyoming 648-135 in last weekend’s

blowout.

“We’re still a work in progress,” Petersen said. “We need to get

through a few more games and see what we have.”

The Broncos have won 56 consecutive home games in the regular

season since a 41-20 loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001.

That streak includes two lopsided victories over Oregon State,

which jumped out to a 14-0 lead there in both 2004 and 2006 but

still lost each game by at least 19 points. Boise State finished

the more recent meeting with 42 unanswered points.

The Broncos’ current offense is capable of similar damage behind

Moore, whom Oregon State coach Mike Riley called “probably the most

efficient quarterback in the country.” The left-handed junior is

28-1 with 69 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in his

collegiate career.

Riley’s team resorted to an unconventional tactic to prepare for

the game – the first on Boise State’s newly installed turf, which

remains the same unique blue color. Oregon State used hundreds of

gallons of blue paint to coat a practice field and give its players

a chance to adjust.

“We’ve got them right where we want them if they’re painting

their field,” Petersen said.

The Beavers also likely must improve their defense, which has

allowed 453 total yards in each of their first two games. Although

Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28 last Saturday, Cardinals

quarterback Adam Froman threw for 288 yards and a touchdown while

rushing for two more scores.

“We have got to do a better job of containing the quarterback,”

cornerback James Dockery said. “We’ve got to go back to work on

tackling.”

The Beavers also may need another big performance from Rodgers,

who ranked 11th nationally in rushing last year. The junior ran for

132 yards and two touchdowns and added a receiving TD against

Louisville.

Sophomore Ryan Katz is still getting comfortable as Oregon

State’s starting quarterback, but he’s thrown for four touchdowns

without an interception. He may have to carry more of the load if

Boise State focuses on Rodgers.

“They refuse to let people run on them,” Riley said of the

Broncos, who held Wyoming running backs to 17 yards. “So we have to

find our balance. We have to be that team that can punch and

counter-punch with them.”

Oregon State’s defense will have plenty of weapons to contain.

While junior Doug Martin leads Boise State’s running game, Titus

Young and Austin Pettis remain Moore’s favorite targets, combining

for 28 touchdown receptions since the start of last season.