#12 Boise State win 5th straight WAC title with 49-10 victory over Utah State

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -Boise State took the penalties in stride. The Broncos had too much to celebrate to worry about them.

Jared Zabransky threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns and Brett Denton ran for 125 yards and two scores to help No. 13 Boise State beat Utah State 49-10 Saturday.

The Broncos (11-0, 7-0) captured at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference title with the win and remained in the hunt for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series. They entered the game No. 12 in the BCS standings, good enough to put them in position to become the second team from a non-BCS conference to automatically qualify for one of the big-money bowl games.

Enjoying the moment, the Broncos were penalized for excessive celebrations twice against the Aggies, the first when Legedu Naanee threw the football into the stands after catching a touchdown pass, and the second when Quinton Jones jumped into the stands after running for a score.

``I know where they're coming from,'' Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. ``All the blood and sweat that have come on that turf, they think 'I'm going to do something I'm not supposed to do.'''

Petersen, who has at times become livid during games this season, merely gave Naanee and Jones, both seniors, a hands-up gesture and a short talk when they returned to the sidelines.

``The kids compete hard and have fun,'' he said.

The Broncos were without Ian Johnson, who averages nearly 150 yards a game and has 21 touchdowns. He's still recovering from a partially collapsed left lung he sustained last week.

The Broncos turned to Zabransky, who had a big day before coming out late in the third quarter.

``I think that was a very fitting performance for him to finish out on the blue turf with those stats,'' said Petersen. ``We've had faith in Jared in our pass game all year long.''

With Johnson usually in the game, the Broncos haven't had to call on Zabransky so much. But when they have he's found receivers.

``I've felt like I've been in control,'' Zabransky said. ``This has been by far the funnest season for me.''

Boise State looked less potent at times running the ball without Johnson, but his replacements did well. Beside Denton's performance, Jones rushed twice for 11 yards and a touchdown, and Vinny Perretta rushed nine times for 51 yards.

The Aggies (1-10, 1-6) offered little resistance on the Broncos' blue turf, where Boise State has won 51 of its last 53 games. The Broncos scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

``We didn't really give ourselves a chance,'' Utah State coach Brent Guy said. ``Offensively we couldn't get anything going.''

The Aggies' biggest play came early in the fourth quarter when Devon Hall returned a Broncos fumble 64 yards for a touchdown to make it 42-10. The Broncos fumbled three times in the game, losing two of them.

Boise State opened the second half with a nine-play scoring drive capped by Jones' 8-yard run to make it 35-3. After a Marty Tadman interception, the Broncos covered 49 yards in three plays. Zabransky threw a pass to Ryan Putnam in the right corner of the end zone to make it 42-3.

The Broncos made it 49-10 with 7:54 remaining when Taylor Tharp lobbed a 10-yard pass into the left corner of the end zone to Jovan Hutchinson.

After the score by Hutchinson - a popular senior- he was mobbed by teammates and then carried back to the sidelines, but the officials didn't throw a flag.

The Broncos face a tougher test next Saturday when they travel to Nevada.

It was the seventh loss on the road for the Aggies this season, making it the second time in four years Utah State has not won a road game.