Boise State won’t silence critics after marginal win over LA Tech

No. 7 Boise State beat Louisiana Tech 45-35 on Friday night. Outside of three minutes in the first quarter when the Bulldogs held a 7-3 edge, the Broncos never trailed and are now 9-0 for the fourth time in six years.

But their performance was hardly enough to convince doubters that they should play for a national title. Boise held a 27-7 lead at halftime after absolutely dominating Tech (who didn’t have a first down the entire period) in the second quarter and they had a chance to come out in the second half and show a national audience just how impressive they can be. Instead, Tech got right back into the ball game thanks to a horrible decision by quarterback Kellen Moore, who was intercepted by Josh Victorian who returned the gift 75 yards for a touchdown to cut the Broncos’ lead to 27-14 early in the third.

Tech then found a way to cut the deficit to 30-28 early in the fourth thanks to some great running by Daniel Porter, a renewed sense of confidence by quarterback Ross Jenkins, an onside kick and some failures on the Broncos’ part.

One of those big failures was Boise’s inability to turn red zone opportunities into touchdowns. They settled for field goals three times on the night because their spread attack was neutralized close to the goal line. And with their inability to run the ball consistently between the tackles, Tech’s defense found a way to contain them and stay in the game.

Boise head coach Chris Peterson doesn’t want to talk about style points because he’s focused on winning games, which is the way it should be. But when his team has a 27-7 halftime lead on an inferior opponent in their house, they have to be able to finish. The Broncos had a similar issue against Tulsa earlier this season in which they allowed their opponent to get back into the ball game in the second half.

There’s nothing Boise can do about its weak schedule. They can’t schedule decent non-conference opponents because nobody wants to play them. But what they can do is take care of business on the field and unfortunately given their situation and the way the college football system is set up, simply winning games just isn’t enough.

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Boise State rolls past ‘first real test’ Fresno

Unranked Fresno State was supposed to give No. 10 Boise State its first real test of the 2009 season when the two WAC teams met at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night. But despite a monster night from Fresno running back Ryan Matthews, the Bulldogs couldn’t slow down the Bronco offense as Boise rolled to a 51-34 victory.

This was a closer contest then the final score indicates, although once Jeremy Avery scored on a 67-yard swing pass from Kellen Moore to give Boise a two touchdown advantage early in the fourth, the game started to get away from Fresno.

Still, what an incredible performance by Matthews. The junior tailback rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries and virtually kept Fresno in the game by himself with touchdown runs of 69, 60 and 68 yards. He showed incredible explosion, quickness and vision throughout the night and will no doubt keep Fresno in most ball games. The Bulldogs must get better production out of their quarterback position, however, because Ryan Colburn (14 of 29, 187 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) struggled.

It’s impressive how Chris Peterson always has his team ready to play. Just when you think Boise will be challenged, they put up 51 points on the road and remind everyone how good they are. The Broncos have a clear path to another undefeated season.

Be sure to check out our college football picks and predictions for Week 3.

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