Tulsa coach new to WAC but familiar with Boise

Updated: October 10, 2003, 3:24 AM ET

TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe may be in his first year in the Western Athletic Conference, but he's no stranger to Boise State.

He played against the Broncos as a quarterback at Northern Arizona and coached against them at North Texas and Oregon State. Topping it off, his father's Idaho State team also played Boise State.

"To me, Boise State being good at football, it's not 2002-2003. It's 1980 and 1972," Kragthorpe said. "I've known about them for a long, long time."

Kragthorpe rattles off Boise State's history like the alphabet: the Broncos rise through the junior college ranks into NCAA Division II, their I-AA national championship in 1980 and their success in Division I.

"They're 26-1 at Bronco Stadium in the last 27 times they've stepped onto the Smurf turf," Kragthorpe said, referring to Bronco Stadium's blue artificial surface. "I know the great teams they've had and how hard it is to win at Boise."

Tulsa has never beaten the Broncos, last year's WAC champions and serious contenders again this year. Boise State (4-1, 1-0 WAC) has won the previous two meetings by a combined score of 93-34.

But this year Tulsa, which won just two games in 2002 and 2003, believes it has a better chance Saturday night in Boise.

The Golden Hurricane (3-2, 1-0) have won three straight, including last week's comeback win over Hawaii.

But Tulsa is trying to stay focused and remember where they came from. Lopsided losses to No. 21 Minnesota and No. 7 Arkansas earlier this year make good reminders.

"We can lose every one of those (remaining) games if we don't play the way we're capable of playing," Kragthorpe said.

"We're still in the back of the bus right now trying to crawl to the front," he said.

Tulsa beat Hawaii 27-16 in part by shutting down star quarterback Timmy Chang, who was held to 240 yards, 139 below his average. The Golden Hurricane will face an even better quarterback in Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie.

"I thought it would get a little easier after Timmy Chang," Kragthorpe said. "But now it gets tougher. This guy is playing as good as any quarterback in the country right now."

Dinwiddie threw for a school record 532 yards and three touchdowns while running for two more scores in the Broncos 43-27 win Saturday over Louisiana Tech.

"He really shot the lights out, particularly in the second half and just did a tremendous job for us," BSU coach Dan Hawkins said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index