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November 13, 2008
Boise St.-Idaho Preview
By LAURA MEDINA
(AP) -- For the eighth straight season, Boise State is dominating its Western Athletic Conference opponents, and strengthening its chances for another BCS bowl berth in the process.
The ninth-ranked Broncos look to stay unbeaten and maintain their BCS hopes when they face in-state rival Idaho on Saturday.
Boise State (9-0, 5-0) has gone 57-4 in conference play since joining the WAC in 2001, winning the last five league titles before the run ended with a loss at Hawaii in last year's regular season finale.
The Broncos appear poised to reclaim the title this season. They've won 22 of 23 conference matchups starting with a 70-35 win over Idaho (2-8, 1-4) on Nov. 19, 2005.
Boise State, with a 1 1/2-game lead in the WAC, has outscored conference opponents 196-40 this season and allowed no more than 16 points in any of those games. The Broncos routed visiting Utah State 49-14 last Saturday.
Seeking its second BCS berth in three seasons, Boise State is ranked ninth in those standings, up one spot from last week. It's two places behind Utah of the Mountain West Conference - the only fellow non-BCS conference team ranked ahead of the Broncos.
With his squad likely needing to stay unbeaten to make a BCS bowl, Broncos coach Chris Petersen is working to make sure his team doesn't take Idaho, which hasn't defeated Boise State since 1998, lightly.
"When you play in rivalry games, you know, things change," Peterson said. "It's just one of those rivalry games where you just throw the records out and guys elevate their games and it's much closer than other people think it'll be."
Last Saturday, Peterson's team amassed 563 yards - its second-highest total of the season - and four Broncos threw touchdown passes. Kellen Moore went 27-for-36 for 362 yards and two touchdowns, while Jeremy Childs made seven catches for 135 yards and a pair of TDs for the Broncos.
Boise State's offense, averaging 442.0 yards per game, will be facing an Idaho defense that's allowing conference highs of 478.3 yards and 41.9 points a contest.
One area of concern for Peterson is penalties. Boise State was whistled 12 times for 114 yards against Utah State - the third straight game the Broncos committed at least 11 penalties.
Even if Boise State can't get that corrected this week, it seems unlikely to have trouble with Idaho. The Broncos have won nine straight in the series, rolling up 556 yards in a 58-14 home victory Nov. 17, 2007 in the most recent meeting.
Boise State has won five in a row on the road over Idaho after losing the previous seven road matchups.
The Vandals lost for the third time in four home games Nov. 1, falling 30-24 to San Jose State. Nate Enderle went 10-for-19 for 138 yards and two touchdowns and Deonte' Jackson rushed 10 times for 78 yards, but Idaho couldn't build on a 20-14 home win over New Mexico State on Oct. 25.
"Our objective is to win the game, whether we're getting better or not," senior tight end Eddie Williams said. "We come out to win, no matter what the opponent is and we didn't accomplish our goal, so it hurts us."
Idaho has lost 12 straight against Top 25 opponents.