BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Boise State might be the least content
undefeated team in the country.
The (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) Broncos increased the nation's longest winning streak
to 16 with a 38-20 victory over Southern Methodist on Saturday
night, but sounded as though they had lost. Boise State expected
more against a team that had won just once since 2002.
"I told the guys in the locker room that the good news is we're
5-0, but the bad news is Coach Hawk isn't doing a very good job
right now," coach Dan Hawkins said. "We've got to get better.
Right now we're not and that's my fault."
The Broncos (5-0, 2-0 Western Athletic) struggled to get any
consistency against the Mustangs (1-4, 1-1), who ended a 15-game
losing streak last week. SMU was within two touchdowns in the
second half before the Broncos were able to put the game away.
"This is a high-octane offense and we can put points on the
board. We're frustrated when we only score 38 points in a game,"
offensive lineman Daryn Colledge. "This is a team that can average
50 or 60 points a game."
Jared Zabransky threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and
Chris Carr returned a punt 78 yards for a score for the Broncos.
Boise State finished with 426 yards and held the Mustangs to 305,
nearly half of which came in the fourth quarter after the game had
So it wasn't as close as the Broncos made it out to be later,
but still closer than they were comfortable with -- especially after
beating Brigham Young 28-27 a week before only because BYU missed a
field-goal attempt in the final seconds.
"I think we've come back four out of our five games and that's
not the way we play football," Colledge said.
For SMU, it was a vast improvement over last year's 45-3 loss to
the Broncos in Dallas. SMU got to 28-14 early in the third quarter
before Boise State settled down and started scoring again.
"The biggest thing was in the first half, we didn't play with
the intensity that it takes to come into this stadium with guys
that have won 21 home games" in a row, SMU coach Phil Bennett
said. "I don't know. I was very disappointed with our timidness
early in the game."
Zabransky completed 20 of 31 passes, but had one costly
interception that Alvin Nnabuife returned 53 yards for a touchdown
to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead. Chris Foster had six catches for
125 yards to lead SMU, and but SMU could never get any offense
Boise State answered the early touchdown with four straight
before halftime, giving the 30,322 fans plenty to cheer about
during the homecoming victory. There were also mixed cheers for the
announcement that Louisiana Tech had beaten No. 17 Fresno State --
the WAC's other ranked team.
But it wasn't the blowout Boise State was hoping for.
Tony Eckert completed 8 of 19 passes for 134 yards and a 20-yard
touchdown pass to Ryan Kennedy to cut the lead to 28-14 early in
the third quarter, but it was all Boise State the rest of the way.
Boise State responded with Tyler Jones' 37-yard field goal and
Lawrence Bady's 17-yard touchdown run on a reverse with about two
minutes left in the third period to all but seal it.
"We're not making huge mistakes. It's not like we're just
letting everybody come free. It's just little things," Colledge
SMU had just 35 yards of offense at halftime, passing for 25 of
them. The Mustangs didn't get a first down until Eckert completed a
10-yard pass to Cortley Blackmon with about 6 minutes left in the
second quarter. That drive made it to SMU's 40, which was as close
as the Mustangs got to Boise State territory in the first half.
The only reason the Broncos didn't have a shutout going at
halftime was some sloppy early passing. The Broncos dropped two of
Zabransky's first three passes, then Zabransky threw a bad one that
Nnabuife stepped in front of raced to the end zone. Nnabuife dived
across the line just ahead of Zabransky's attempt to knock him out
The Mustangs celebrated the early lead, which didn't last long.
Quinton Jones returned the kickoff to the SMU 49 and the Broncos
ran the ball 12 straight times, tying it on Antwaun Carter's 1-yard
run with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Boise State forced SMU into a three-and-out on the next
possession and Carr took the punt 78 yards for a touchdown, going
straight up the middle untouched. The Broncos struck two more times
in the half, with T.J. Acree pulling in a nice pass through double
coverage for a 34-yard score and a 15-yard pass from Zabransky to
Brad Lau with 47 seconds left in the half.