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November 14, 2008

Boise State continues BCS quest at Idaho

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS


MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) As far as rivalries go, Boise State-Idaho has been about as one-sided as it gets.

The ninth-ranked Broncos have won nine straight against the Vandals and rarely have the games been competitive. Boise State has the highest winning percentage of any major college program in this decade, at .856. Idaho has eight straight losing seasons.

Still, Boise State coach Chris Petersen knows games such as these can often have a strange affect on teams. And there was a time Idaho held the upper-hand in a series Boise State leads 19-17-1.

"When you play in rivalry games, things change," Petersen said. "There is no question kids are going to play a little harder than they normally do."

But the reality is Boise State (9-0, 5-0 Western Athletic) has its eye on a much bigger prize, returning to a Bowl Championship Series for the second time in three seasons. The Broncos are ninth in the latest BCS standings.

To cash a big BCS check, the Broncos need to sweep WAC rivals Idaho, Nevada and Fresno State, and likely have undefeated Utah, which is No. 7 in the BCS standings, lose one of its two remaining games.

Boise State can also clinch at least a share of the WAC title with a win at the sold-out Kibbie Dome. The Broncos have won five of the past six league championships.

"It's a hard place to play," Petersen said. "We'll have to show up with our A game."

Boise State's A game should be plenty against Idaho (2-8, 1-5), which is struggling under second-year coach Robb Akey.

Akey said he is pleased the Broncos are undefeated, as it gives his Vandals a chance to play spoiler on a national stage.

"There's going to be a lot of attention on this ball game. The impact our winning could have on the BCS race," Akey said.

"It's an opportunity to get some notoriety real fast," he added.

The Vandals, coming off a bye week, are getting good play from sophomore quarterback Nathan Enderle, who has thrown for 1,688 yards with 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

His main target is receiver Eddie Williams, who has caught 54 passes for 687 yards. Deonte Jackson has run for 594 yards.

They'll be up against a Boise State defense that is second in the nation, allowing just 10 points per game.

"They are playing the best football in our conference," Akey said. "They are not doing too many things wrong."

Idaho is dealing with discipline issues. On Nov. 2, players Shelton Miles, Dewey Hale and Breyon Williams were charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly fighting with a man at a party. On Monday, Jackson also was charged with misdemeanor battery. Akey suspended Williams, Miles and Hale for actions detrimental to the team, but Jackson was not suspended.

"It was dealt with swiftly. It was dealt with fairly. We're just going to continue to move forward," Akey said.

Boise State is averaging 36 points per game, in large part because redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Moore is completing 70 percent of his passes for 2,427 yards, with 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

Ian Johnson has run for 525 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Jeremy Childs is the top receiver, catching 46 passes for 589 yards.



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