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October 25, 2008
Boise keeps BCS bowl hopes alive
By JOSH DUBOW,
AP Sports Writer
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) When [db]Ian Johnson[/db] reached the end zone with his record-setting touchdown, there was no doubt about the outcome of the game or who was the best team in the WAC.
Johnson ran for two touchdowns to give him a school-record 51 in his career and [db]Kellen Moore threw for two scores to help No. 13 Boise State keep its bid alive for a berth in a BCS game by beating San Jose State 33-16 on Friday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Athletic Conference.
Johnson's touchdown to break Brock Forsey's school record capped a dominant fourth quarter in which the Broncos (7-0, 3-0) controlled the ball for more than two-thirds of the period and put the game away.
"Finish it. Coach Pete tells us, 'Finish, finish, finish,'" said Jeremy Avery, who ran for 96 yards. "That's what I had in my head, just put these guys away."
That proved to be much easier this year than it was the last two times the Broncos visited Spartan Stadium when San Jose State (5-3, 3-1) nearly derailed bids for undefeated seasons.
In 2004, they needed two overtimes before escaping with a 56-49 victory. Two years ago, they scored 10 points in the final six minutes to win 23-20 on Anthony Montgomery's 37-yard field goal on the last play of the game. Boise State went on to the Fiesta Bowl that season with its memorable win over Oklahoma.
This time the game was never in doubt after Kyle Brotzman's 31-yard field goal put Boise State on top 26-16 with 5:50 to play.
"A game like that's not very complicated: They're better than we are," San Jose State coach Dick Tomey said. "We would have to play probably perfect to beat them and we didn't."
Jeremy Childs blocked a punt to set up one touchdown and caught a TD pass for the Broncos, who won for the 49th time in their last 51 conference games and took over sole possession of first place.
"Certainly that's what you play for, you play for that WAC championship," said Moore, who finished 26-of-40 for 244 yards. "We've just taken three steps into it so far. We have to get back to work."
Boise State is also looking to make it into the BCS for the second time in three seasons. The Broncos came into the game ranked 12th in the first BCS standings, one spot behind Utah of the Mountain West Conference. In order to get an automatic bid into a BCS game, the Broncos must finish in the top 12 and be the highest-ranked team from the five conferences without an automatic bid.
The Broncos, who had allowed only one opponent to score more than seven points this season, shut down San Jose State's offense for most of the game. The Spartans did manage one big play, when Brandon Rutley burst up the middle for a 60-yard run that cut Boise State's lead to 20-16 in the third quarter.
But Boise State methodically closed out the game from there with three long drives that led to field goals by Brotzman and Johnson's second TD run.
Accomplishing the feat here must have been especially sweet since Johnson suffered a partially collapsed left lung in his last trip here, forcing him to spend five nights in a hospital.
"That's awesome. It's good for him to break it here because last time he was down here it didn't turn out so good for him," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "It's nice to get that. He deserves it."
San Jose State didn't record a first down until Kyle Reed's 14-yard keeper with 1:18 left in the opening half. But the Spartans still managed to score twice in the half, getting a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown by Justin Cole in the first quarter and a 47-yard field goal by Jared Strubeck in the final seconds.
Boise State also started slowly on offense, gaining just 56 yards in the first quarter. But Childs' blocked punt set up Moore's 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis in the first quarter.
Moore then hit Childs on an 8-yard TD pass and Johnson ran it in from 2 yards to give the Broncos a 20-6 lead in the second quarter. They were poised to add more late in the half before Johnson fumbled at the goal line, leading to Strubeck's field goal that made it 20-9.
"It's just a learning experience for all of us, a wake-up call that we do need to step up as an offensive unit and take some responsibility in terms of being productive as a team," said Reed, who was 16-of-29 for 105 yards. "The defense can only do so much."