Strong First Half Not Enough
Nov. 5, 2011
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Kellen Moore threw five touchdown passes to become college football's winningest quarterback and No. 5 Boise State brushed off a first-half scare from UNLV in a 48-21 victory Saturday night.
During the first half, the Broncos looked nothing like the 41-point favorites Las Vegas casinos thought they were. Two of their three first-half touchdowns were set up by UNLV mistakes.
After Boise jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, UNLV answered right back when Dionza Bradford capped the Rebels ensuing drive with a 13-yard touchdown. Early in the second quarter, Boise State blocked a punt and took over needing 40 yards to score. Less than two minutes later, Moore hit Miller for a 30-yard touchdown.
Once again, the Rebels fought right back and finished a 10-play drive when Caleb Herring connected with Michael Johnson for a 33-yard score to tie it up at 14-14. Herring finished 12-of-17 for 117 yards and the one touchdown.
Just before halftime, UNLV was called for pass interference and penalized 15 yards, setting up first-and-goal for the Broncos with just over a minute left. Three plays later, Moore found Miller again for a 5-yard score.
At the break, each team had run 32 offensive plays, but UNLV had 198 yards compared with 161 for Boise State.
UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said he was happier with his team's play in the first half, but it still missed opportunities.
"Certainly (Boise State is) a pretty good football team, and we struggled to keep up in the second half," he said.
Moore threw two touchdowns each to Tyler Shoemaker and Matt Miller, racking up 224 yards through the air on 18-of-31 passing despite leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.
The victory gave Moore 46 career wins, one more than former Texas star Colt McCoy.
Moore, in his fourth year as Boise State's starting quarterback, is 46-2, tops all-time among FBS quarterbacks in winning percentage (95.8 percent). Stanford's Andrew Luck is second at 85.3 percent (29-5).
Boise State (8-0, 3-0) pulled away from UNLV during the second half, as Moore found Shoemaker streaking past UNLV's secondary in the middle of the field for a 51-yard touchdown with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
On its next possession, the Broncos faked a punt on fourth-and-8, snapping the ball to J.C. Percy and letting him run 20 yards before he was tackled at the UNLV 31-yard line.
Shoemaker then gave Moore his fifth touchdown as the fourth quarter began by managing to catch a ball that had been deflected in the end zone by a UNLV defender.
DJ Harper and Drew Wright added rushing touchdowns for the Broncos in the fourth quarter.
Bradford finished the game with 46 yards on 16 carried for UNLV and Bradley Randleracked up 96 yards on just 10 carries.
The matchup was the first between the teams since the 1970s, and could be their last for a while if Boise State leaves the Mountain West after one year for the Big East Conference.
Athletic department spokesman Max Corbet told The Associated Press before Saturday's game that the school had not received a formal invitation from the Big East and had not decided the future of its program. He said the school would not be immediately prepared to accept an invite without considering what's best for all its sports.