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October 31, 2008

Boise St.-New Mexico St. Preview

By JEFF MEZYDLO,
STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- Boise State continues to do its part in a push toward making a BCS bowl for the second time in three seasons.

The No. 11 Broncos look to remain perfect on the season and all-time against host New Mexico State on Saturday in a Western Athletic Conference matchup.

Boise State (7-0, 3-0) took over sole possession of first place in the WAC after a 33-16 victory at San Jose State last Friday handed the Spartans their first league loss. The Broncos have won 49 of their last 51 league games and are one of eight unbeaten teams in the Bowl Championship Subdivision.

"Certainly that's what you play for, you play for that WAC championship," Boise quarterback Kellen Moore said. "We've just taken three steps into it so far. We have to get back to work."

The result also moved the Broncos up two spots in the poll and to 11th in the latest BCS standings, one spot ahead of unbeaten Utah.

In order to get an automatic bid into a BCS bowl game, the Broncos must finish in the top 12 and be the highest-ranked team from the five conferences without an automatic bid. Boise State upset then-No. 7 Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in its only BCS appearance.

Ian Johnson scored the decisive 2-point conversion as a sophomore to win that contest and ran for a pair of touchdowns last Friday to give him a school-record 51 for his career.

"That's awesome," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "It's nice to get that. He deserves it."

While the Broncos are again having success through the air, Johnson still leads the team with 463 rushing yards on 94 carries and six TDs. He's rushed for 331 yards on 53 carries with six touchdowns in three career games versus New Mexico State.

Moore, a redshirt freshman, was 26-for-40 for 244 yards and two touchdowns last week, including one to junior Jeremy Childs, who recorded six receptions for 102 yards with three TDs in a 58-0 victory over New Mexico State on Oct. 7, 2007.

Though Boise State's defense ranks fourth in the nation by allowing 11.3 points per contest, it will face a New Mexico State (3-4, 1-2) team that leads the conference by averaging 324.1 passing yards a game.

The Aggies threw for their average in their most recent contest, but had just 35 yards rushing and committed four turnovers for the second straight game in a 20-14 loss to last-place Idaho last Saturday.

"We need to regroup and get ready for Boise State now," said Aggies coach Hal Mumme, whose team has lost two in a row since winning two straight contests. "Boise is a really good team. Their defense concerns me; they are strong and have depth in every position."

Chase Holbrook, second in the WAC with a 144.7 passer rating which is second to Moore's 164.1, completed a season-high 37 passes on 47 attempts for 324 yards with two TDs and two interceptions against Idaho. Both scores went to Chris Williams, who caught 13 passes for 112 yards.

Williams has 25 receptions for 258 yards with three touchdowns in his last two games overall, while Holbrook hopes for another big outing against the Broncos at home after going 50-for-66 for a career-high 529 yards in a 40-28 loss to Boise State in 2006.

Boise State has won all eight meetings against New Mexico State, which has lost 11 in a row against ranked opponents since beating then-No. 22 Arizona State 35-7 on Sept. 18, 1999.









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