Boise State better in offensive slugfest
FRESNO, Calif. – Jeremy Avery and Titus Young made sure Boise State had the answers to every big play Fresno State delivered.
Avery had three plays of longer than 60 yards and Young scored two touchdowns, providing just some of the many highlight-reel plays in the 10th-ranked Broncos’ 51-34 victory Friday night.
Avery scored on a 67-yard swing pass to break the game open in the fourth quarter and Young provided perhaps the biggest play of all, diving on Avery’s fumble in the end zone to complete a 75-yard score as Boise State (3-0, 1-0) won for the 57th time in its past 59 Western Athletic Conference games.
Few were as entertaining as this one. The Broncos broke out to a 24-3 lead then had to scramble to win and keep alive their hopes for making it back to a Bowl Championship Series game.
“We knew we had to answer back as an offense,” said Avery, who gained 269 yards from scrimmage. “We didn’t let it get to us. We knew we had a high-powered offense and could do the same thing. We gathered our troops and we all clicked. When we all clicked there was no stopping us.”
Fresno State (1-2, 0-1) got three touchdown runs of at least 60 yards from Ryan Mathews but again fell short against a ranked team, losing for the 10th straight time against teams in the Top 25. The skid started with a 50-42 loss to No. 1 Southern California in 2005. This game provided the appropriate bookend.
With the stage to themselves, Boise State and Fresno State provided enough big plays to last the weekend. The Broncos had two 77-yard kickoff returns, an interception return for a touchdown, a 60-yard touchdown run by D.J. Harper, and the big plays from Avery.
“A lot of playmakers making plays out there,” said Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, who threw three touchdown passes. “Good running backs on both sides making plays out of nothing and breaking tackles here and there.”
Fresno State had plenty of big plays of its own, starting with the touchdown runs of 69, 60 and 68 yards by Mathews.
Chastin West made a leaping 41-yard catch that was nearly an interception as Brandyn Thompson tried to wrestle the ball away and Devon Wylie made an acrobatic 21-yard touchdown catch from Ryan Colburn on the next play.
Boise State appeared to pull away with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Moore to Austin Pettis in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, making it 41-27. But Mathews answered with his 68-yard run, part of a 234-yard night.
Then one play after Marvin Haynes dropped a potential interception for Fresno State, Avery took Moore’s screen pass all the way for the third touchdown in the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter, making it 48-34.
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