8:00 PM ET, October 2, 2004
Bronco Stadium, BOISE, ID
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 been decided.
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 going.
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 said.
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 of bounds.
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.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-13||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||2-3|
|TD||12:25||ALVIN NNABUIFE 53 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (CHRIS MCMURTRAY KICK)||7||0|
|TD||7:28||ANTWAUN CARTER 1 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||5:49||CHRIS CARR 78 YD PUNT RETURN (TYLER JONES KICK)||7||14|
|TD||6:16||T.J. ACREE 34 YD PASS FROM JARED ZABRANSKY (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||0:47||BRAD LAU 15 YD PASS FROM JARED ZABRANSKY (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||12:33||RYAN KENNEDY 20 YD PASS FROM TONY ECKERT (CHRIS MCMURTRAY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yards.
|FG||7:02||TYLER JONES 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 33 yards.
|TD||2:04||LAWRENCE BADY 17 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||1:16||MATT RUSHBROOK 27 YD PASS FROM JERAD ROMO (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 96 yards.