GAME DAY! #20 Boise State at Washington
Boise, ID (AP) Following their upset win in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl, Boise State romped to victory in its 2007 season opener. Extending the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games, though, will have to come on the road against one of the Pac-10's better programs.
The 22nd-ranked Broncos (1-0) meet Washington (1-0) on Saturday in the Huskies' home opener and first meeting between the schools.
On Thursday, Boise State scored on each of its first seven possessions and rolled past overmatched Weber State 56-7 for its 14th straight victory. Heisman Trophy hopeful Ian Johnson rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns, and freshman Jeremy Avery debuted by adding 105 rushing yards and two scores.
The Broncos piled up 371 yards on the ground and finished with 569 yards of total offense.
"This game we dominated," said Broncos safety Marty Tadman. "That's all I can say about it. We dominated."
Domination has been a key during Boise State's run. Including a 43-42 victory in overtime over Oklahoma in last season's bowl game to cap a perfect season, the Broncos have beaten their opponents by an average of 24.0 points.
In six regular-season road wins last year, the Broncos outscored their opponents 196-94.
Senior quarterback Taylor Tharp also played well as he replaces three-year starter Jared Zabransky.
"I felt good out there," said Tharp, who completed 14-of-19 passes for 184 yards and a 53-yard scoring strike to freshman receiver Titus Young. "We're still explosive, and we have a lot of good players."
Tharp entered the season as the main question mark for the Broncos after Zabransky led them to three of its five consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles. Boise State went 59-7 over that span.
"He's a little different from Z (Zabransky)," Johnson said. "Z is a little more animated, but he went out and took control of that huddle. He was leading us. He was telling us everything we needed to hear."
Washington, meanwhile, got a solid performance from redshirt freshman signal-caller Jake Locker in a 42-12 win on Friday at Syracuse.
Locker completed 14-of-19 passes for 142 yards, rushed 10 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns on before exiting after the third quarter.
"The total experience was awesome," said Locker, who didn't commit a turnover while playing his first game since high school. "But it was a total team effort. The offensive line took care of us. They protected me and opened up holes. That made our jobs a lot easier. It was a good start."
The Huskies also got 147 yards rushing from senior Louis Rankin, who also scored three times. Washington ran for six touchdowns against the Orange after totaling 12 all last season.
"I can't think of a game where there's been that much room since I've been here," Rankin said. "They did a good job blocking, and when they do that it makes my job a lot easier."
Defensively, Washington held Syracuse to eight rushing yards while producing seven sacks and one fumble recovery.
"We were really aggressive and just tried to disrupt everything they did," said Washington defensive end Greyson Gunheim, who had two sacks. "Everyone was really happy with how we were in the backfield and being aggressive."
Saturday's contest, though, begins a difficult four-game stretch against ranked opponents for Tyrone Willingham's team and one that can ultimately decide their season. After the Broncos visit, No. 11 Ohio State comes to Husky Stadium, followed by a game at No. 14 UCLA before the Washington closes out September with a visit from No. 1 Southern Cal.
"We've got another one of those unbelievable foes," Willingham said of the Broncos. "We seem to have a lot of them on the schedule."
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