BOISE, Idaho (AP) -Taylor Tharp threw three touchdown passes, two to Austin Pettis, to lead No. 21 Boise State to a 42-7 victory over San Jose State, Saturday. It was the Broncos' seventh straight win.
Boise State (8-1, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference) dominated every facet of the game in beating the Spartans for the eighth consecutive time.
The offense piled up 434 total yards and the defense allowed San Jose State (3-5, 2-3) just 198 and had three sacks. Broncos' special teams had a string of three kick returns of 38 yards or more that the offense converted into 21 points in the second and third quarters, putting the game out of reach.
Tharp was efficient, picking apart the Spartans secondary with short and long throws. He was 28-of-35 for 259 yards, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. His longest was a 44-yarder down the middle to tight end Ryan Putnam that gave Boise State a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
Pettis had a career-high seven catches for 54 yards, including a nifty 5-yard grab in the back corner of the end zone that put the Broncos up 35-7 midway through the third quarter.
Ian Johnson, playing after missing two weeks with a bruised kidney, scored twice, but the WAC's leading ball carrier coming into the game struggled to get back on track, rushing for just 33 yards on 12 carries. Overall, the Broncos rushed for 144 yards, including 56 yards and a TD from Jeremy Avery, and converted 10-of-14 third downs.
The Spartans have never beaten Boise State, and Saturday's loss was their third straight this year.
San Jose State together its best drive in the second quarter to get back into the game. Trailing 14-0, the Spartans marched 72 yards in 12 plays with the help of two penalties on the Broncos. After a pass interference wiped out a Boise State interception, Adam Trafalis tossed a 5-yard TD to Kevin Jurovich to pull within 14-7 with 1:29 left in the first half.
Momentum shifted quickly on the ensuing kickoff when Boise State's Austin Smith ran 51 yards, setting up Boise State deep in Spartan territory. Six plays later, Tharp hit Pettis with a 12-yard strike to put the Broncos up 21-7 with 34 seconds left.
San Jose State had just 98 yards rushing was just 2-of-11 on third down conversions. Trafalis was 11-of-19 for 77 yards before being replaced in the fourth quarter by Jordan LaSecla.