Broncos cruise behind Martin's TDs
With Kellen Moore struggling to find a his usual pinpoint accuracy, No. 4 Boise State turned to plan B: A heavy dose of Doug Martin and a suffocating defense.
Martin rushed for a season-best 126 yards and two scores, and his mates on the other side of the ball kept a potent Nevada offense from crossing midfield until the second half of the Broncos' 30-10 victory Saturday.
For the Broncos (4-0), it was a bit of redemption against a Wolf Pack team that last year spoiled Boise State's bid for a second straight perfect season.
''It feels real nice,'' said Martin, who recorded his 11th career 100-yard game. ''We struggled with the run game the past two games and I think we picked it up today. I think we just focused on the details more.''
At least in the running game.
Moore, one of the nation's most accurate passers, misfired several times and threw back-to-back interceptions in the second quarter, the first with the Broncos inside the red zone. But he was also victimized by a handful of crucial drops that could have made the final score even more lopsided.
Moore, who wore a knee brace for the second straight week, was 19 of 33 for 142 yards - a career low - before heading for the sidelines in the fourth quarter. His second TD pass, a 3-yarder to receiver Matt Miller, gave him 113 in his career, moving past Colt McCoy of Texas for eighth best all-time.
''It certainly didn't feel like we were executing like we wanted to,'' said Moore, adding his gimpy knee had little to do with his performance. ''Certainly, there's plenty of things on my part that I've got to get better at, and hopefully you get all those things out of you and move on.''
But Moore's shortcomings were overshadowed by a ferocious defense.
Despite playing without starting cornerback Jerrell Gavins and a handful of key backups, the Broncos shut down Nevada (1-3) and avenged last year's second-half collapse in Reno, Nev., that cost the Broncos any hope of playing for a national title. In that game, the Broncos led by 17 points at the half, only to have quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack offense rally and beat their - at the time - Western Athletic Conference rivals 34-31 in overtime.
Nevada came into this game 15th in the nation in total offense, averaging 483 yards per game. But the Wolf Pack mustered only 182 total yards and failed to put together any sustained drives against the Broncos dominant defensive front, which logged a season-high 12 tackles for loss of yardage.
Nevada's points came on a 21-yard field goal by Allen Hardison early in the fourth quarter and a 53-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Mason Magleby to Rishard Matthews in the final minute.
Mike Ball, who started the day averaging 120 rushing yards per game, was held to 35 yards on 15 carries.
Quarterback Tyler Lantrip played most of the game because redshirt freshman Cody Fajardo, who has traded snaps with Lantrip through the first three games, is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in last week's loss at Texas Tech. Lantrip was 5 of 16 for 50 yards, got sacked once, threw and interception and fumbled to snuff out Nevada's first drive into Boise State territory.
''The offense was horrific,'' said Nevada coach Chris Ault, whose team has played their first four games on the road. ''I thought that our defense played hard all game. But our offense put our defense in a hole that whole first half. Our defense never had a chance.''
Not the way Martin was zipping through gaps in the line and shedding tacklers.
Martin's first score came on a 5-yard run to put Boise State up 20-0 at the half after failing on the 2-point conversion.
Then he broke the game open on the Broncos first possession in the third quarter when he busted into the open down the left sideline and dashed 43 yards to extend the lead to 27-0. Martin also had a 92-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter called back on a holding penalty, a play that typified a sloppy and lackluster overall performance by the Boise State offense.
Overall, the Broncos rushed for a season-high 169 yards, a performance that put a smile on the face of Boise State coach Chris Petersen.
''Fortunately our run game came to life a little bit,'' said Petersen, whose team heads to Fresno State Friday. ''I care more about that than the pass game, because I know we'll get that figured out, so I think we made a step there.''
Boise State scored its first touchdown midway through the first quarter when Moore fired a 21-yard TD pass to D.J. Moore, who beat linebacker James Michael Johnson down the middle of the field.
After Moore fired his second TD pass with 5:51 left in the second quarter, the Broncos' defense forced another Nevada punt that Mitch Burroughs returned 25 yards to the Wolf Pack 25-yard line to set up Martin's 5-yard TD run.