No. 15 Broncos hammer the Vandals 58-14
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -Boise State can finally focus on Hawaii.
For weeks, the No. 15 Broncos have been quizzed about looking beyond lesser opponents to next week's matchup with No. 12 Hawaii, a game that will decide the Western Athletic Conference championship.
Boise State (10-1, 7-0) put itself in position to win its sixth straight WAC crown and maybe earn a second straight Bowl Championship Series bid by dismantling in-state rival Idaho 58-14 Saturday.
``I'm not really going to think about it until tomorrow,'' Bronco safety Marty Tadman said of Friday's showdown with the undefeated Warriors in Honolulu. ``I think I'll enjoy this victory today. I am really glad now we don't have to keep saying 'we're not overlooking anyone.'''
The Broncos broke open a close game in the second half, scoring 41 unanswered points after the Vandals cut the lead to 17-14 late in the first half.
Taylor Tharp led the way, throwing for 282 yards and four touchdowns, including a 58-yarder in the third quarter to Titus Young that extended the lead to 38-14. Tharp was 22-of-31 before leaving early in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
Ian Johnson carried 21 times for 109 yards and two scores and Austin Pettis had eight catches for 139 yards and three TDs. The Broncos rolled up 556 total yards, played their third straight game without a turnover and beat the Vandals for the ninth straight time.
``We're definitely in a good situation in our season,'' Johnson said. ``When you go out there and execute the way we have ... then you can start having some fun.''
The Vandals (1-10, 0-7) showed some spunk in the early going, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to cut the Broncos' lead to three.
Idaho gave up a touchdown in the final minute of the half, then fell apart in the third quarter after fumbling on their opening possession deep in Boise State territory.
Trailing 24-14, the Vandals quickly marched deep into Boise State territory thanks to a 47-yard pass from Nathan Enderle to running back Deonte Jackson. But on the next snap, Enderle bobbled the exchange with running back Brian Flowers and Broncos defensive end Ryan Winterswyk pounced on the ball at the 16.
Then the game got out of hand.
``The first half was an opportunity to be a ballgame, and the opening of the second half ... we had a nice drive going,'' first-year Vandals coach Robb Akey said. ``But as soon as the ball came out of our hands, that changed the entire momentum of the ball game. We got our tails whacked in the second half.''
Boise State wasted little time taking control, tacking on another touchdown minutes later when Tharp tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Pettis.
On their next possession, Tharp hit Young in stride down the sideline and Young eluded two tacklers to score. Johnson capped the third quarter barrage by scoring from 15 yards out, putting the Broncos up 45-14.
Idaho managed 346 total yards, but looked confused and outmatched in the second half. The Vandals haven't beaten the Broncos since 1998 and during the current losing streak have lost by an average of 30 points per game.
``I can't wait to host them up at our place next season,'' Akey said.
Enderle was 8-of-23 for 182 yards. Jackson, the first Vandal running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since 2003, rushed for 58 yards and a score in the first half. But he didn't get many opportunities in the second and finished with 84 yards on 24 carries.
Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) and Boise State were picked to finish atop the WAC in the preseason and they have dominated the conference this season.
``We've thought about this for a long time and now it's here and it will be fun to be a part of,'' said Broncos coach Chris Petersen, whose team has a short week to prepare. ``But we've got so much to do in such a short time. There will be a lot of focus this week.''
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