Boise State-New Mexico State preview
By CHRIS ALTRUDA
Boise State did everything asked of it in navigating a tough
non-conference schedule. Now the Broncos have to do what everyone
expects of them – roll through the Western Athletic Conference.
They will look to start doing so Saturday night against overmatched New Mexico State, loser of 10 straight, at Aggie Stadium.
Boise State (3-0), winner of 17 in a row, is trying to claim an
at-large BCS berth for a second straight year – and this time, the
Broncos are looking to end up in the national championship game.
Armed with a high preseason ranking, Boise State has justified its No.
3 spot by flying across the country to defeat Virginia Tech – ranked
10th in the preseason Top 25 – before winning at Wyoming and then at
home over then-No. 24 Oregon State.
Chris Petersen’s team beat the Beavers 37-24 last Saturday as Kellen
Moore threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Doug Martin added 138
rushing yards for the Broncos, who won despite poor special teams play
and eight penalties that kept Oregon State in the game.
Despite those miscues, Petersen has no desire to change his team’s approach heading into WAC play.
“We’re going to continue to play hard and aggressive,” he said. “We’re
going to continue to try and play smarter. It’s very frustrating as a
coach when you see the mental-type errors that cause you setbacks.
“But some things are going to happen when you play that hard.”
For the Broncos, there is a sense of relief over returning to the
routine of conference play after an emotionally draining first month
with so much at stake.
“I like being under
the radar,” defensive end Ryan Winterswyk said. “If they forget about
us and don’t talk about us as much, that’s OK with me. It’s just down
to playing football now.”
Boise State may
not be able to maintain a low profile much longer, given its gaudy
statistics on both sides of the ball. The Broncos are 10th in the FBS
at 500.0 yards of offense per game and 13th at 40.3 points a contest.
Moore has so far had a successful follow up to his stellar 2009 season,
throwing for 873 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception.
Wideouts Titus Young and Austin Pettis have caught six of those scoring
passes, and the two players have combined for 28 receptions and 553
Martin has powered the ground game with 6.8 yards per carry in rushing for 326.
Defensively, Boise State is second nationally against the run at 61.7 yards per game and third in total defense at 228.7.
The Broncos don’t figure to face much resistance from New Mexico State
(0-3), which has allowed at least 41 points in all three games. The
Aggies lost 42-16 at Kansas last Saturday, giving up 28 consecutive
points after Seth Smith’s second-quarter touchdown tied the game at 7.
One bright spot for second-year coach DeWayne Walker has been the play
of junior wide receiver Taveon Rogers. He had two kickoff returns of
longer than 50 yards versus the Jayhawks and set a single-game school
record with 219 yards on six overall.
“It’s a matter of Taveon and our kick return unit executing what we
want,” Walker said. “Hopefully we can get more out of him.”
New Mexico State’s last victory came Oct. 10 over Utah State.
The Broncos are 10-0 against the Aggies, winning 42-7 on Dec. 5 as Martin rushed for four TDs.