BOISE – Boise State safety Cedric Febis hesitated just for a moment when he was asked if Boise State is good enough to deserve a spot in the BCS.
Broncos coach Chris Petersen, who was standing in the corner of the room waiting his turn with reporters, provided the answer.
“Yes,” Petersen emphatically interjected, moments after the No. 9 Broncos rolled over New Mexico 45-0 in Saturday’s season finale.
The Broncos (11-1, 6-1) are clearly on the outside looking in on the Bowl Championship Series, and more than likely they’ll have to settle for a return trip to the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas, where they dismantled No. 20 Utah 26-3 a year ago.
But Petersen’s response is surprising considering his reluctance in previous years to lobby even slightly on his team’s behalf.
Considering the strength of schedule and other factors, Petersen wasn’t shy about making a case for a team that lost only once, a down-to-the-wire defeat at home to TCU on Nov. 12.
“You know, this team is as good as any of the teams that we’ve had,” said Petersen.
“We lost a one-point game to a really good TCU team that continually got better throughout the year. I think that it’s our most difficult schedule that we’ve played. But, that is as far as it goes for us. We don’t have anything else to say. I mean you say hey, ‘look at the record.’ I think it speaks for itself,” he said.
No matter where they play in the postseason, the Broncos wrapped up their second straight season with a single loss in convincing fashion.
Kellen Moore threw three touchdowns in the final home game of his brilliant career, Doug Martin ran for two more and the Broncos’ defense had no problem bottling up the punchless Lobos.
Moore, the winningest starting quarterback in college football history, was nearly flawless, completing 28 of 33 attempts for 313 yards. As usual he spread the ball around, hitting 10 different receivers, and expertly ran Boise State’s no-huddle offense through the first three quarters.
His three touchdown passes in the game gave him 41 on the season, breaking his own previous record of 39 set in his sophomore year. He also set a new school mark for completions in a season with 300, third most all-time in the Mountain West Conference.
It was also Moore’s 49th career win as a starting quarterback, the best in FBS. He also has 137 career touchdown passes, second best behind Houston’s Case Keenum.
The Broncos sprinted to the lead, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter thanks to Moore’s accuracy – he completed 10 straight passes during one stretch – and a Broncos defense that held the Lobos to one first down in their first three possessions.
Moore capped the Broncos’ first two possessions of the game by throwing touchdowns of 2 yards to senior Kyle Efaw and 16 yards to Tyler Shoemaker. That catch gave Moore the school completion record and gave Shoemaker 14 touchdowns on the season, also good enough to set a new school mark.
Moore and other members of his recruiting class are a victory away from being the winningest senior class in school history with 50. The 2006 group, the first batch signed by Boise State coach Chris Petersen, won a second BCS bowl, forced wholesale rewrites of the school record books and elevated Boise State’s national profile from a pest from a small conference to a program that proved it could consistently beat teams from college football’s biggest and best leagues.
As for the Lobos (1-11, 1-6), they are at the other end of the college football spectrum. They have lost 22 straight road games, the nation’s longest such skid.
The loss gives the Lobos three straight seasons with just one win and closes out the brief, seven-game tenure of interim coach George Barlow, who took over in September after Mike Locksley was fired.
But Saturday’s blowout in Boise also ushers in the Bob Davie era in Albuquerque. The former Notre Dame coach will take over head coaching duties later this month.