Rams taken by fake punt, lose to Boise State 63-13
Even though they were still trailing by three touchdowns, the Colorado State Rams had the momentum after stalling Boise State's runaway route with two trick touchdowns themselves and a takeaway.
Coming out of the tunnel at halftime, they forced a punt and Hughes Stadium was rocking.
The Broncos would have none of it.
Wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker took the snap and rumbled 36 yards on a fake punt.
Just like that, the Broncos were rolling again, and they finished off a 63-13 shellacking of the Rams in their Mountain West Conference debut Saturday night.
''Stalling out on that first drive, we knew we needed something,'' Shoemaker said, ''and that was that play to get us back on track.''
And sent the Rams (3-3, 1-1 MWC) reeling.
''We took momentum into halftime,'' Rams safety Ivory Herd said. ''We went out there and got off the field. And then, they run the fake punt. It hurt.''
Three plays, later, Doug Martin took it in from 14 yards out for his third TD.
The Broncos (6-0) quickly followed that with Shoemaker's 62-yard touchdown catch and Kellen Moore's fourth TD toss.
Mitch Burroughs' 64-yard punt return set up D.J. Harper's second touchdown, from a yard out, to cap the scoring - the biggest output against the Rams since their 71-14 loss to Nebraska in 1991.
The second-half run all started with the fake punt.
''That was the big play,'' Rams quarterback Pete Thomas said. ''We stopped them and had thought we'd have the ball. We had some momentum and they made a great call.''
The super sharp Moore threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns on 26-of-30 passing with just one bad pass, an overthrow in the end zone. Martin ran 20 times for 200 yards and three scores and Shoemaker caught nine passes for 180 yards and two TDs in addition to his 36-yard run on the backbreaking fake punt.
''We gave up a couple of scores at the end of the first half and we don't like to let teams feel like they're really in it,'' Shoemaker said.
The Broncos also started out fast, racing to a 35-0 lead before settling for a 35-13 halftime cushion.
''It just felt like we were executing like it we do practice,'' said Moore, who engineered six scoring drives of under two minutes in improving to 44-2 as a starter, one win shy of Colt McCoy's NCAA record.
''Tonight we were just really clicking,'' Shoemaker said. ''I think it sets the standard for us in the Mountain West. We talked about that a lot in practice this week: as a new conference member, let them know we're here to compete.''
Even before kickoff of their inaugural league game, however, there were rumblings the Broncos, who left the Western Athletic Conference after a decade of dominance, would be bolting again - this time to the reconfigured Big East. That conference could issue them a football-only invitation as soon as next week.
Boise State president Robert Kustra told The Associated Press before kickoff that the school's best option might be staying in the Mountain West, which is joining forces with Conference USA to secure a solid future in the rapidly changing college football landscape. But Kustra stressed that his top priority is to get the Broncos as close as possible to an automatic qualifying status in the BCS, so he's keeping all his options open.
The Broncos raced out to a 35-0 lead in the first 20 minutes before the Rams gathered themselves and scored touchdowns on the two trick plays.
Tight end Crockett Gilmore pulled in a lateral and threw a 27-yard touchdown strike to a wide open fullback Joe Brown. Then, wide receiver Charles Lovett took a hand-off, pulled up and hit Matt Yemm in stride for the score.
''We knew they were going to score points and make plays. That is one of the best offenses in the country, if not the best,'' Thomas said. ''We didn't make enough plays when we got the ball back to balance out their fast start.''
The Broncos' 742 total yards were a school record, and they let off the pedal long before the fourth quarter.
''It doesn't take a genius to know we got outcoached, outplayed,'' Rams coach Steve Fairchild said. ''They outclassed us in every phase of the game today.''
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton