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October 4, 2009
Lackluster effort costs No. 6 Boise State in polls
BOISE, Idaho (AP) Boise State has 10 days to get ready for its next game, and you can bet coach Chris Petersen will use every single one of them.
After all, it sure looked like the Broncos took a week off during a lackluster 34-16 win over UC Davis that dropped Boise State one spot to No. 6 in the latest AP Top 25.
The Broncos (5-0) had reached their highest ranking in school history, but with few quality opponents left on their schedule, they'll have to dominate just about every time out to keep from sliding any further in the polls.
"There will be quite a bit to learn from, quite a lot to work on in practice," quarterback Kellen Moore said. "We have to take advantage of the few extra days to work on that."
The Boise State running game was held to half its season average and was especially ineffective near the goal line. The defense struggled against Aggie receivers, and the Broncos were penalized an uncharacteristic nine times.
The Broncos have a couple extra days to fix those miscues before going to Tulsa on Oct. 14.
That's not to say there weren't some bright spots for the team with the best chance to once again break into the Bowl Championship Series.
Moore threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to receiver Austin Pettis, who finished with 10 catches and 129 yards. Boise State's defense bottled up the Aggie running game, allowing just 28 yards, and the special teams blocked a field goal just before halftime.
But there were plenty more places to improve.
The offense rolled up 386 yards but ended drives early after converting just four third downs. And Moore didn't get much help from the running game, with Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin combining for 101 yards on 33 carries after coming in averaging 214 per game.
The running struggles were highlighted closer to the goal line, where the tandem's only score came in the final minute. The Aggies mounted a stand in the first quarter, stuffing the run three times from inside the 5. Two more first-half trips ended in field goals.
Moore rescued two more red zone drives with short touchdown passes to Pettis, after Avery and Martin failed to punch it in.
"It's frustrating when your goal-line offense has to come (down) to just throwing fades, but we'll do whatever we have to do and tonight, that's what we had to do," Petersen said after the game. "We have to get some answers down there without question."
On the other side of the ball, Boise State's defense notched just one sack, didn't force a turnover and allowed Aggie quarterback Greg Denham to put together one of the best passing games against the Broncos in the last couple years.
The Broncos were without all-conference cornerback Kyle Wilson, who hurt his shoulder in practice and sat out the entire game, allowing Denham to complete 24 of 36 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the second half. Aggie receivers also drew four penalties courtesy of Boise State defenders.
Overall, it was a flat performance that irritated Petersen just as much as questions about the impact it could have on the BCS.
"If guys start paying attention to the headlines and those type of things, you start to play a little bit tentative and not wanting to make mistakes and playing the type of ball that we coach them to play," Peterson said. "And it all kind of factors in and you get a different product on Saturdays."