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September 21, 2011

Boise State - Tulsa Preview

(AP) -- Boise State coach Chris Petersen is running out of adjectives to describe the play of his All-American quarterback. It won't be surprising if he's left searching for the right words again Saturday.

Kellen Moore and the fourth-ranked Broncos host Tulsa, which is facing its third top-10 team and ranks among the worst in the country against the pass.

The senior threw for 455 yards and five touchdowns in last week's 40-15 victory at Toledo, helping guide an offense which struggled to run the ball early and led by 11 at halftime.

Moore improved to 40-2 in his three-plus seasons at Boise State (2-0) and has thrown at least two TD passes in 15 straight games. Including a 35-21 victory over then-No. 19 Georgia on Sept. 3, Moore is 60 for 76 for 716 yards and eight touchdowns - the best start of his career.

"He's the same every game," Petersen said. "It sounds like a boring answer, but it's probably the biggest compliment I can give."

Tyler Shoemaker caught three scoring passes against Toledo, which gave the Broncos an early scare before they pulled away.

"With Kellen back there, we never worry," Shoemaker said. "He's so precise. It makes our jobs easier."

Moore may be in for another big game against Tulsa (1-2), which ranks 116th in the country allowing 320.7 passing yards per game.

The Golden Hurricane gave up 369 yards through the air in a 59-33 loss to then-No. 8 Oklahoma State last Saturday, two weeks after allowing 417 passing yards in a 47-14 loss to top-ranked Oklahoma.

Coach Bill Blankenship knows Moore is going to test his defense again.

"Their quarterback is outstanding," Blankenship said. "Kellen Moore does a great job of managing the offense. When you watch them, there is going to be a lot of movements, shifts, motions, alignments to try to create mismatches. I think he does a great job of managing it."

Tulsa has been better against the rush - an area Boise State has struggled.

The Broncos had only 26 yards on the ground in the first half against Toledo, finishing with 145. They're tied for 74th nationally averaging 137.0 yards rushing, while Tulsa has allowed 233 combined over its last two games.

"We'd like to run the ball, but it doesn't always happen that way," Petersen said. "It's a work in progress."

The Golden Hurricane, meanwhile, had a pair of 100-yard rushers against Oklahoma State. Ja'Terian Douglas ran for 173 yards and two scores, while Trey Watts added 159 on 23 carries.

Tulsa, though, may be without starting quarterback G.J. Kinne, who suffered a knee injury as the result of a late hit out of bounds in the first quarter.

It may be a significant blow to an offense already playing without receiver Damaris Johnson, who was a second-team All-American in 2010 but is suspended by the team indefinitely.

Kalen Henderson replaced Kinne and threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns, but he also tossed three interceptions.

"It's a real challenge, but our philosophy is you don't make excuses or explanations," Blankenship said. "Kalen came in and, after a shaky start, played real well for us."

No matter who suits up for Tulsa, it faces a difficult task in trying to knock off its first non-conference ranked opponent in a regular-season game since beating then-No. 19 Iowa on Sept. 21, 1996.

The Golden Hurricane beat then-No. 24 Hawaii 62-35 in the 2010 Hawaii Bowl.

Boise State has won 60 straight home games against unranked opponents since falling to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001.

The Broncos have won the last five meetings with Tulsa. Moore threw for 187 yards and three touchdowns in the most recent contest, a 28-21 victory Oct. 14, 2009.











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