Updated: October 17, 2011 at 12:00 am
If there was even the slightest question about Boise State’s hierarchy in the Mountain West, the Broncos cleared it up at Colorado State.
Boise State pounded the Rams in Fort Collins. The Broncos took a 35-0 lead in the first half. They finished with a 50-point win, destroying the Rams 63-13.
Air Force, which will be the first Mountain West team to play at Boise State this season, was watching.
“When you score 35 points in the first 20 minutes of a game, and then you come out in the second half and score 28 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half, that’s pretty convincing,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.
Air Force, which has lost two in a row, allowing 100 points in those two games against Notre Dame and San Diego State, is 31-point underdogs in this game. The Falcons believe they can win, but they understand the challenge that’s coming on Saturday.
“We get to go up there and take on the No. 5 team in the country, and it’s going to be fun,” Air Force fullback Mike DeWitt said. “It’s definitely a challenge, and we’re up to the task.”
The problem for Air Force in preparing for Boise State is if the Broncos have a weakness, they haven’t shown it yet.
Even though Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Kellen Moore gets most of the attention on the offense, the Broncos’ attack is multi-dimensional. The Colorado State game showed exactly what Boise State is capable of. Moore was brilliant as usual, completing his first 18 passes on his way to a final stat line of completing 26-of-30 passes for 338 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Moore wasn’t even Boise State’s top offensive player in that game. Tailback Doug Martin rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, gaining Mountain West offensive player of the week honors and showing the diversity the Broncos have on offense. Boise State gained 742 yards, a school record.
“We like to have a lot of balance but we’ll do whatever we need to do to move the ball,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
Boise State’s offense is one of the best in the nation, and that overshadows an excellent defense. The Broncos rank 10th nationally in yards allowed and eighth nationally in points allowed. They’ve allowed opponents to convert just 21.8 percent of third downs, by far the best mark in the nation.
“They definitely have a good defense,” Falcons fullback Wes Cobb said. “We know that and we respect that.”
Calhoun ranked Boise State fourth in his coaches’ poll this week, and even though the Falcons have played a tough schedule, the challenge of playing Boise State ranks at the top.
“We’ve played some pretty good teams thus far, but I think it’s clear this group is the best that we’ve faced,” Calhoun said.
The Falcons will be looking for a huge upset, but that’s nothing new to the Broncos either. Boise State has built one of the elite college football programs in the country, and is used to being the top game on almost every opponent’s schedule.
“It comes back to us playing our best every week,” Petersen said. “The kids have done a good job understanding they’re going to get every team’s ‘A’ game.”