Big win doesn't alter Moore's '1 game' focus
If the impact of Boise State's big victory over Virginia Tech ever sinks in to Kellen Moore's brain, don't expect the soft-spoken quarterback to veer from the team's modesty mantra.
Like his coach and teammates, Moore simply refuses to use the latest win as leverage or proof the No. 3 Broncos should be taken seriously in any national title conversation.
As fans, sports writers and college football analysts stoked the debate in the wake of Boise State's thrilling victory Monday night, Moore stuck to an all-too-familiar script around Idaho's capitol city: Focus only on the things you can control on the field.
''It was one game, one week and we still have a lot of football to deal with,'' said Moore, who threw three touchdown passes, including a late game-winner, in Monday night's 33-30 victory at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
''We can't even be thinking about a bowl game right now. We just aren't going to be talking about that for a long, long time,'' he said.
It's as if Moore was reciting from a memo passed out by coach Chris Petersen on the plane trip back to Idaho.
During the last two years, as the Broncos pursued back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and BCS respectability, Petersen has refused to engage in 'what-if' postseason scenarios or speculation his team deserved to play on college football's biggest stages.
This year, Petersen has altered his tone slightly, suggesting the Broncos have an opportunity to prove themselves as legitimate title contenders.
But he refuses to take the bait when asked if Boise State deserves a shot at the title or if the system is skewed against schools from conferences without an automatic BCS bid.
He still refers to his team as a bunch of underdogs.
''I just don't think you can worry about all of that right now,'' Moore said. ''We still need to play like we've got a chip on our shoulder. We still need to have that edge ... and the feeling like we're never going to satisfy everyone until we reach our goals at the end of the season.''
His caution could also be tied to the miscues and mistakes that nearly cost the Broncos on Monday night.
Despite his poise and decision-making down the stretch, Moore knows his performance was far from perfect. He overshot a few open receivers, forced a handful of throws in tight coverage and failed to spot some open receivers downfield.
It's also a safe bet the coaching staff will preach ball security and penalties. The Broncos have plenty of time to focus on those fundamentals: Their next game is a week away, a Sept. 18 visit to Wyoming.
Against Virginia Tech, the Broncos lost two fumbles and were penalized 11 times for 105 yards, including a running-into-the-kicker infraction late in the third quarter that gave the Hokies new life. On the ensuing play, Virginia Tech coaches decided to go for it on fourth down. The Hokies capitalized when quarterback Tyrod Taylor fired a 28-yard TD pass to give the Hokies a 27-26 lead.
Moore knows his team needs to avoid those kinds of flubs.
''There are obviously a lot of things for us to clean up,'' Moore said. ''A lot of it is just execution. Mechanically, I was a bit off.
''But the important thing is we were able to execute down the stretch in a critical situation. But that's football, the game changes, there are lots of momentum changes. In a game like that, it's all about how you respond,'' he said.