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Once again, Phillip Livas turns in a yeoman's effort on the kickoff return, getting to LaTech's 24 before he's brought down. And once again, Louisiana Tech won't be able to match his efforts.
A bit-by-bit drive highlighted with a 23-yard Lennon Creer run at the start and a 16-yard Ray Holley run in the middle runs into a wall at Boise State's 1-yard line, where for the second consecutive possession the Bulldogs find themselves unable to score from inside the 5-yard line. Safe to say the Broncos know who Lennon Creer is and where he's headed at this point, and his three consecutive shots at playing battering ram yield no scoreboard fruit.
Back to Boise State, with the backups in and a fast three-and-out. They punt off their own 1-yard line, and Tech takes over at the Broncos' 36. Ross Jenkins gets off one good pass to Taulib Ikharo, and the rest is all Creer, as he cuts straight down the middle for a 25-yard touchdown to make the box score look a little less grisly. With 44 seconds remaining in the game, Boise State leads, 49-20.
The Broncos lean into the victory formation to do away with any remaining time, and we're done in Boise. Final score: Boise State 49, Louisiana Tech 20.
LaTech's in trouble here, folks. Phillip Livas breaks off another fine kickoff return for the Broncos, who appear weirdly unafraid to kick to him, and fumbles when he's hit 27 yards downfield. Boise State recovers, and the Broncos start gunning for 50.
Kellen Moore sits out a play, is reinserted -- and promptly throws an interception to Solomon Randle that's returned for 28 yards. Not quite sure what happened there, but it's only Moore's second interception on the season.
Back come the Bulldogs. Four minutes and change go by, and though Tech converts a third down in heroic fashion with a 16-yard Ross Jenkins pass to David Gru, they convert the next set of downs from the 5-yard line. State takes over in their own backyard.
Nobody covers 90-plus yards of ground quite like the Broncos. In five plays (four Doug Martin rushes and one casually-flung 53-yard Moore pass to Titus Young), Martin is skating into the endzone.
With 7:31 remaining in the game, Boise State leads Louisiana Tech, 49-13. Martin is having a career night, as he hits the 150-yard mark on the ground. Herr Pumpkinhead is pleased:
[Via bubbaprog at 30fps.mocksession.com]
Injury Update: Each team is down a starter at the moment, with Tech's OL Cudahy Harmon being carted to the locker room nursing with a right knee injury, and State's DB Brandon Thompson out favoring a bum shoulder.
Louisiana Tech mounts a clock-eating drive to open the third quarter after a Broncos touchback. In just over five minutes, they march from their own 20 to Boise State's 23, where Ross Jenkins hits Phillip Livas with a touchdown pass down the middle. Matt Nelson misses the extra point, however, leaving the score at 28-13 with 9:43 remaining in the quarter.
The Bulldogs are about to catch a break, however. Titus Young fumbles the kickoff return, and Tech gets the ball back at the State 27. The Bronco defense puts up some fight, sacking Ross Jenkins and making Tech work for two and a half minutes to reach the 9-yard line. A Jenkins pass on fourth down falls incomplete, and Boise State recovers on downs ...
... and promptly goes right back to foot-shooting. A promising drive led by close to 60 rushing yards gained by Doug Martin ends at Tech's 18-yard line, and Jeremy Avery fumbles -- then recovers his own fumble and runs 26 yards for another touchdown. 4:32 remaining in the quarter; Boise State 35, Louisiana Tech 13.
Now it's the Bulldogs' turn to be utterly unable to stop hitting themselves. Another lengthy kickoff return by Phillip Livas is negated by a Myke Compton fumble on Tech's first play from scrimmage. Boise State trick-scores just over three minutes later, on a 7-yard Austin Pettis pass to Kellen Moore.
At the end of the third quarter, Boise State leads, 42-13.
Psst: Missed the live broadcast of that Boise State-BCS chemistry experiment? We've got you covered.
Louisiana Tech doesn't get much out of its next drive, a Ross Jenkins-Lennon Creer affair that covers just 11 yards and takes less than a minute. Boise State fares no better, going three-and-out with two incomplete Kellen Moore passes and botching a punt downing that ends up being ruled a touchback. (The punter, by the way? Moore himself. How do you do, kid!)
Tech gets the ball back and sets to work with the same cast of characters. Creer rush. Creer ruch again, and again. Ray Holley rush, Ross Jenkins rush, and they just can't get enough motion going. The Bulldogs punt with just over three minutes remaining in the half.
And this is the point where ESPN seems to realize this game is airing on the Deuce on a Tuesday night, that they could probably outfit the entire booth crew in rabbit suits and no one would notice, and that this might be a fine time to stage a "volcano-in-a-beaker" chemistry experiment as a broad-stroked metaphor for the Broncos' BCS prospects.
No, seriously, they had Rob Smith on the play-by-play and everything:
[Via bubbaprog at 30fps.mocksession.com]
Whatever's going on in that Erlenmeyer flask, it's working some mojo: Boise State gets down to the goal line in a hurry, and Kellen Moore is hit on a rush to the endzone. Kyle Efaw recovers the ball in the endzone, and the Broncos are credited with the touchdown, putting them up 28-7 heading into the locker rooms for halftime.
The excellently-named Lyle Fitte gets a nice little kickoff return of his own, taking the ball back 21 yards to Louisiana Tech's own 39-yard line. Lennon Creer is stymied on his first carry, but takes a fake handoff-toss on 2nd-and-10 11 yards to midfield. Another Ahmad Paige catch for seven yards and a Ray Holley rush take us to the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter does not begin auspiciously. Speaking of Fitte, he's helped off the field several plays into the second quarter, favoring what looks to be either a knee or an ankle. The Bulldogs lose five yards to a penalty call, make up a bit of their 3rd-and-14 plight, and then Ross Jenkins gets sacked for a nine-yard loss on 4th-and-7. Broncos take over on downs.
Boise State, however, fares little better on their next possession. Kellen Moore is sacked by the mannishly-named Matt Broha on second down, and throws an incomplete pass on third. The ensuing punt is a poor one, and Louisiana Tech gets it back at their own 43.
Ross Jenkins lines up at receiver, but an attempted trick play bounces away from his intended target. His next two passes also fall incomplete, and we're on our way to what's looking like significantly less of a barn-burner than previously anticipated.
... or are we? State marches out of their own territory and a little ways into Tech's, thanks largely to two early catches by Tyler Shoemaker totaling 41 yards, and then Moore just gets impatient and hits him again for a 32-yard touchdown pass. It's scoring strike No. 82 for Moore, and ties him with Ryan Dinwiddie for the Broncos' all-time career touchdowns record.
With 8:06 remaining in the first half, Boise State leads Louisiana Tech, 21-7.
Bulldogs blatantly offsides on the onside kick attempt. They're called to re-kick. And Tech head coach Sonny Dykes gets right up in a ref's face, and we really wish he were mic'd up for this game, because whatever he's saying, he sticks with it long enough to be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Bulldogs retry the kick from half the previous distance, which is all the room Titus Young needs to spring a 54-yard return.
Starting from Louisiana Tech's 17-yard line, the Broncos don't need much time or sweat to get another seven points. In about a minute and a half, Kellen Moore hits Austin Pettis again, this time on a play-action pass down the middle for six yards and six points.
With 1:40 remaining in the first quarter, Boise State leads Louisiana Tech, 14-7. Sonny Dykes, by the way, can still be seen jawing at that same officiating crew member whenever he's within earshot, and we would give our egg teeth to know what he's saying.
The Broncos aren't putting the Bulldogs away early. But at least their hair looks fetching:
[Via bubbaprog at 30fps.mocksession.com]
Louisiana Tech has traditionally been one of the peskier mid-major opponents for powerhouse football teams. Tonight, at least so far, looks to be no different.
Tennessee transfer Lennon Creer is making waves early for the Bulldogs' offensive aspirations. After losing six yards on his first touch of the drive, he more than makes up for the reverse by making 26 yards out of a catch from Ross Jenkins. Myke Compton adds an 8-yard rush; Creer gets several additional touches. And then former Tennessee teammate Ahmad Paige puts the Bulldogs in scoring position with a 30-yard catch down the middle that lands on the Boise State 1-yard line. Creer punches in the score, and we're all tied up on the blue turf.
With 3:35 remaining in the first quarter, Louisiana Tech and Boise State are tied, 7-7.
And we're off, Kellen Moore is not a rushing quarterback, but on the Broncos' first play from scrimmage he scrambles out right with a defender clamped on his leg to complete an 8-yard pass to Austin Pettis down the sideline. His second pass is considerably more effective, 33 yards to Tyler Shoemaker.
And then they're slowed. After a couple short (for the Broncos) rushes from Doug "Muscle Hamster" Martin, they're held to a kicking position. Boise State's starting kicker is injured. His backup, Jimmy Pavel, misses wide right on a 30-yard field goal attempt. It's the fIrst time all season the Broncos haven't scored on their first possession.
They'll get it right back, however, after the Bulldogs convert one set of downs but are halted by a sack on Ross Jenkins. Right away, Pettis catches a 20-yard pass, but it's five Martin rushes that put the points on the board, ending with a two-yard touchdown push.
With 7:12 remaining in the first quarter, Boise State leads Louisiana Tech, 7-0.
SB Nation's OBNUG examines the recent success of the Louisiana Tech offense:
You may have read that the Louisiana Tech offense is firing on all cylinders and a force to be reckoned with. That's the word on the street, and when has the word on the street ever been wrong? I mean besides that an IKEA is coming to Meridian.
Well maybe the word on the street needs to look at the numbers again.
LaTech total offense vs. Utah State: 149 yards passing, 278 yards rushing
LaTech total offense vs. Idaho: 422 yards passing, 261 yards rushing
And now know this: Utah State just gave up 216 yards rushing to Hawaii. Idaho is the nation's 65th-ranked defense and No. 82 against the run. Let's keep this in perspective, people.
At the most, this Louisiana Tech offense is unproven. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's better than what they were four games into the season, which was a proven offense at being terrible. Unproven equals unpredictable, and unpredictable can be trouble.
SB Nation's OBNUG provides some Louisiana Tech trivia in advance of Tuesday night's game:
Louisiana Tech has won 2 national titles in football (Division II) and 3 in women's basketball, but the sport that Tech has been most dominant in is men's and women's powerlifting, where the school has brought home a combined 33 national titles since 1978. The powerlifting squads are known as the Irondawgs and take the sport as seriously as they take Judo in San José. One thing is certain when you roll into Ruston: don't challenge any of the women there to a game of basketball or game of "lifting heavy stuff".
The Boise State Broncos, ranked second in this week's AP poll, get the spotlight all to themselves on Tuesday night as they entertain the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in a Western Athletic Conference battle on the blue turf.
The Broncos, who are rated third behind Auburn and Oregon in the most recent BCS rankings, are again expected to shake up college football this year as they throw a proverbial wrench into the entire BCS process. Back on October 16th the team ran its win streak to 20 in a row (longest in the nation), thanks to a 48-0 drubbing of San Jose State on the road. Not only was it the team's 31st consecutive regular-season victory, it was also the 11th win in as many tries versus the Spartans for BSU.
If competing against the Broncos were not tough enough, taking on Boise State on its home field is an even more monumental challenge, considering the team has not lost a home, regular-season date since September 8, 2001 when Washington State turned the trick in a 42-20 final. Granted, Boise did fall to Boston College in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl on the blue turf (27-21), but as far as regular-season decisions go the Broncos have put together a run of 58 wins in a row at home and have never lost a WAC home date since joining the conference back in 2001.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs seem to be finally picking up some momentum, thanks to their first wins of the season over opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision. First, the team recorded a 24-6 victory against Utah State at home on October 9th and then followed that up with a thrilling 48-35 victory versus Idaho in Ruston as well. The decisions not only snapped a four-game slide for LaTech, they also moved the team to 2-1 in conference play with five games to go in the regular season.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, BSU owns an 8-4 mark thanks in part to a 45-35 win on the road in Louisiana last season.
"I'm really proud of our team," said LaTech head coach Sonny Dykes after his team took down Idaho. "Two weeks ago, people were writing us off, but we've got a lot of fight in us. Our players never had a sense of panic."
Quarterback Ross Jenkins, who was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Week, had a huge game for the Bulldogs as he completed 31-of-44 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns, marking the first time since 2003 that a LaTech QB had thrown for more than 400 yards in a game.
Richie Casey finished with nine catches for a team-best 117 yards, but it was Ahmad Paige who turned his five grabs into 95 yards and a pair of scores. Coming out of the backfield and providing the Bulldogs with another offensive option was Lennon Creer who generated a game-high 179 yards and hit the end zone twice on 23 carries as the team logged 261 yards on the ground. Thanks to the efforts of Jenkins and Creer, the Bulldogs rolled up an astounding 683 yards of total offense, fourth most in program history and the first time the team has eclipsed the 600-yard barrier since 2003.
Unfortunately, as strong a game as it was for the offense, the LaTech defense showed a number of holes that were exploited by the visiting Vandals. More specifically, the pass defense was hit hard as a pair of Idaho quarterbacks completed 32-of-60 passes for 513 yards and five touchdowns. Granted, the defense did post three sacks and intercepted one pass, but still the overall effort was one that coach Dykes and his staff should be concerned about moving forward.
The Bulldogs have one of the worst pass defenses in all of college football, permitting an unsightly 296.7 ypg to rank 118th in the country at the moment. Giving up grand yardage totals can sometimes be a symptom of opponents having to pass to get back in contention, but that doesn't seem to be the case this time around with the Bulldogs who are also 100th in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 145.28 at this stage of the season. In terms of total defense, LaTech is giving up close to 450 ypg and if not for holding both Grambling and Utah State to a mere six points apiece one can only imagine where the team would sit with respect to scoring defense (26.6 ppg).
The effort by Jenkins in the last outing was somewhat misleading, given that his 456 yards of total offense were exactly one-half of what he has generated in four appearances so far in 2010. In fact, heading into this season Jenkins had just one other game in which he managed to produce more than 300 yards of offense, and that effort (358 yards) came against Nicholls State in a 48-13 thrashing early last year.
Getting Creer in gear has been a big deal for the team in the last two outings because the back has gained a combined 299 yards and scored all four of his rushing scores versus the Vandals and Utah State, so perhaps he could be the team's secret weapon moving forward.
Quarterback Kellen Moore again dominated for the Broncos in their most recent win, completing 14-of-16 pass attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat on the bench and cheering on his backups. Moore, who now holds the school record for most career completions with 663, has tossed at least two TDs in all six games this season and now has a total of 16, against just a single interception. One can only imagine what his stats would look like if he didn't come out in favor of the second team in most instances, but Moore sees the bigger picture when it comes to his own numbers and the tallies in the win column.
"It just means we are all playing well," Moore says of watching his backups take snaps once a game is already in hand. "We all want to be out there, but it's great for Joe (Southwick) and Mike (Coughlin) to be out there getting reps."
Also getting in on the action and spreading the wealth on offense were Doug Martin and Titus Young, both of whom scored a pair of touchdowns in the recent battle against San Jose State. The Broncos generated a hefty 535 yards of offense in the meeting, but once again the defense stepped up and had a huge effort as it held the Spartans to a mere 80 yards, including minus-12 yards rushing.
Giving the BSU defense some well-deserved recognition was Aaron Tevis who, late in the second quarter, intercepted a pass and returned it 43 yards for a score to put the Broncos up 34-0, an effort that was not lost on head coach Chris Petersen.
"I think it was the best catch of the night! The guy can catch as good as anyone that we have on our team, I think, and you saw it out there tonight."
As dominant as Moore and the offense are for the Broncos again this year, the unit placing fourth in the nation with 523.8 ypg and fourth in scoring with 47.5 ppg, the defense is actually performing at an even higher level right now. Since allowing Virginia Tech 30 points in the season opener, BSU has permitted a combined 44 points to the next five opponents, shutting out both New Mexico State and SJSU along the way. With that effort the Broncos are now tops in the nation in stopping the run, giving up just 59.3 ypg and first in overall defense, allowing 210.2 ypg. Put it all together and with opponents scoring a measly 12.3 ppg, Boise State is now second in the country in that department as well.
Having an offense that operates at such a high level is one thing, but the Broncos make it almost impossible for opponents to even think that they can compete for a full 60 minutes given how completely dominant the defense has been week in and week out. LaTech might be able to stay close in the early going, but once coach Petersen and Moore get in a groove they are difficult to stop.