Boise State brings potent offense to Provo

Updated: October 29, 2003, 5:28 PM ET

PROVO, Utah -- With averages ranking in the top five nationally in passing, total offense and scoring, Boise State looks a bit like some of the Brigham Young teams of old.

It's the Broncos and not the host Cougars that have been outscoring opponents by nearly four touchdowns a game and are on top of their conference entering Thursday night's game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"If our defense stops them we have to score the next touchdown. If they stop them again, we have to score another touchdown because being up on them by 14 points will not be enough in many situations," BYU receiver Jason Kukahiko said.

Actually, being up by 28 may not be enough of a buffer against the Broncos (7-1), who average 517.9 yards of offense and 41.9 points per game while holding opponents to 15.9 points. Those are the kind of statistics BYU used to show before slumping the last two seasons.

It's also getting the Broncos some national recognition, although they have not cracked the national polls.

"We haven't hit the Top 25 yet and we're 7-1. We can show the world what Boise State is all about," said Boise State quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie, who has thrown for 2,609 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes.

A 77-14 win over San Jose State last week kept the Broncos on top in the Western Athletic Conference and set a school record for points. The previous mark was set in a 74-0 win over Humboldt State in 1986.

The Bronco defense is also playing well, allowing just 15.9 points and 75.5 rushing yards per game. Boise State has one shutout and has held two other opponents to a touchdown or less.

"It motivates us to come out and get the ball right back for the offense. It's scary what they can do to the other team," cornerback JuliusBrown said. "We pride ourselves in trying to get them the ball as much as possible."

Boise State made its first-ever appearance at No. 15 in The Associated Press media poll last season while going 12-1, winning the WAC title and beating Iowa State in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Coach Dan Hawkins, who is 27-6 at Boise State, is confident the Broncos will eventually make the rankings again.

"We don't worry about that too much. We really don't. I'm a big believer and we kind of preach around here that in the end you get your just due whether that's in life or football," Hawkins said. "In the end we'll end up where we're supposed to end up."

The Cougars (4-5) haven't thought about rankings for a long time. BYU hasn't won consecutive games this season and needs now to keep alive hopes of a winning record. The Cougars finally got some good luck last week in a 27-20 overtime win at UNLV.

BYU forced the overtime on a touchdown with 29 seconds to play and won it on Matt Berry's 9-yard touchdown pass to Toby Christensen in overtime. With the win, the Cougars avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season. BYU has already lost two in a row twice this year.

Two of the Cougars' last three opponents are non-conference teams. After the Broncos, BYU has next week off then travels to Notre Dame on Nov. 15. The Cougars close the season at home against Utah, which is tied for the Mountain West Conference lead.

A 7-5 finish is still possible.

"There's a lot of tradition resting our shoulders. We've got to be able to set BYU as that standard of being that powerhouse team -- a team to beat," Kukahiko said.

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