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October 6, 2010

Toledo-Boise St. Preview

AP) -- A soft schedule has been a major obstacle in Boise State's quest to play for a national title. The Broncos, though, aren't concerning themselves with that this time.

Following an unexpected drop in the Top 25, fourth-ranked Boise State looks to extend its home winning streak to 58 when it faces Toledo for the first time Saturday night.

The Broncos (4-0) have dominated the Western Athletic Conference, winning three of the last four league crowns while going unbeaten overall in two of those seasons. They've continued to fall short of their goal of reaching the BCS title game, however, and their strength of schedule has been a major reason why.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen wants to keep the focus off that issue - something that became much tougher to do after the Broncos dropped one spot in the poll this week despite beating New Mexico State 59-0 on Saturday.

Petersen's team retained its lone first-place vote while switching positions with Oregon, which beat then-No. 9 Stanford 52-31.

"Do you put a chip on your shoulder with 'We're only No. 4,'" Petersen said. "That's not where we're going with that. We just need to get better and it will all work out.

"To me, wait until December, and then it's news whether this conversation is even worth having. As we all know, there is going to be a lot of things happening between now and then."

The Broncos have won 18 in a row and haven't lost at home since Sept. 8, 2001. Those streaks seem unlikely to end any time soon, with the game against Toledo (3-2) being Boise State's last before returning to WAC play for the rest of the season.

The Broncos' biggest chance to bolster their case for a national title game berth comes Nov. 26 when they visit No. 23 Nevada.

"I don't care," quarterback Kellen Moore said of the schedule. "There are only eight more opportunities to play in the regular season. We should probably take advantage of it and quit complaining."

Moore, 30-1 as a starter, could find himself pulled early again this week. He'll be facing a Toledo defense that allows an average of 255.2 yards through the air - 11th in the Mid-American Conference.

The junior took a seat on the bench last week after capping the opening drive of the second half with a 26-yard scoring pass to Kyle Efaw. He finished 13 of 18 for 196 yards with three touchdowns.

Moore has 11 TD passes and one interception on the season. He's accumulated 21 touchdowns with three picks while winning the last nine meetings with non-conference foes.

While Moore could be in for a big day, the Broncos' running game could get a stiff test from the Rockets, who have limited opponents to an average of 95.4 yards on the ground and 2.9 per carry. Boise State, though, has run for 229.3 yards a contest while getting at least one score from five players.

Junior Doug Martin leads the team with 420 rushing yards while adding two touchdowns.

Defensively, Boise State is holding opponents to conference lows of 15.0 points and 223.5 yards per game.

That may not bode well for a Toledo squad uncertain over who will start at quarterback.

Austin Dantin was benched late in the third quarter last week, and the Rockets came up short in trying to erase an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit in a 20-15 loss to Wyoming.

Dantin went 8 of 20 for 76 yards while freshman Terrance Owens was 6 for 15 for 108 yards in his collegiate debut.

Coach Tim Beckman will give both players a chance to win the starting job this week. Dantin adds a threat on the ground, as he's rushed for 157 yards and a team-high four TDs.

"That's the great thing about college football or any sport you play; it's competition," Beckman said. "We're to the point now as a football team that you can only get better through competition. We're competing at every position. We want TO to know that he has the opportunity to be the starter."

Toledo has lost four in a row to ranked teams. The Rockets haven't faced a top 5 opponent since losing at then-No. 1 Ohio State in 1998.


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