3:00 PM ET, November 20, 2004
Bronco Stadium, BOISE, ID
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- It's still the same high-scoring Boise State that the country has come to know. The Broncos are just getting their points closer to the ground lately.
Jon Helmandollar rushed for a school-record five touchdowns, and (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) Boise State clinched at least a share of its third straight Western Athletic Conference title with a 55-14 win over Louisiana Tech Saturday.
In their last three games, the Broncos have scored 23 total touchdowns -- 21 on the ground.
"Anyone could score five touchdowns with the offensive line we've got here," said Helmandollar, whose 91 yards rushing were a career-high. "We've been working really hard in the run game and we know we can blow people off the ball with the offensive line that we have."
Boise State (10-0, 7-0) extended the nation's longest win streak to 21 games and tied BYU's record for the most consecutive conference wins at 25. The Broncos last WAC loss was Nov. 3, 2001, a 48-42 setback at Louisiana Tech.
The Broncos can claim the WAC title outright beating Nevada next week. They are the first WAC team to start 10-0 since Wyoming in 1996.
Boise State rushed for 278 yards and were equally effective through the air. Quarterback Jared Zabransky completed 20-of-30 for 317 yards. His fourth quarter, 31-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Carpenter, was the Broncos first passing touchdown since the fourth quarter against Fresno State on Oct. 23.
The Broncos racked up 629 total yards and scored 45 unanswered points. In the last two meetings, Boise State's offense has rolled up 1,361 yards and 98 points against Louisiana Tech.
"It's kind of shocking to me, because in the first half we actually had a chance to be on top. I thought it was going to be a dogfight right to the very end," Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell said.
Louisiana Tech (5-6 overall, 4-3) lost for the fifth time this season to a team ranked in the top 25. The Bulldogs previously fell to Miami, Auburn, Tennessee and Texas-El Paso, and are now 2-26 all-time against ranked opponents.
Louisiana Tech needed wins in its final two games to become bowl eligible.
Tech's Ryan Moats -- No. 2 in the country, averaging 164.2 yards -- was held to just 60 yards on 19 carries and was mostly ineffective in the second half as the Bulldogs were forced to throw the ball. Aside from his three carries for zero yards in one quarter of action against Auburn, it was Moats' lowest yardage output since a 37-yard game against Rice last season.
Louisiana Tech managed just 116 yards of offense in the second half.
"Everybody just had to get to the ball," Boise State linebacker Andy Avalos said. "We wanted to stop the run, put some points on the board and that way they would have to pass. We were able accomplish what we wanted to get done today."
Louisiana Tech hung around for much of the first half, keeping fresh in the mind of Broncos fans last week's 56-49 double-overtime survival against San Jose State.
When quarterback Mark Kubik hit Moats for an 18-yard touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter, a sold-out Bronco Stadium fell silent.
But, unlike last week, Boise State didn't let the Bulldogs hang around, and were impressive in front of representatives from the Liberty and Fiesta Bowls.
"It feels good to come back and play a game like that after last week," Avalos said.
Helmandollar's second 1-yard plunge of the first half gave Boise State a 17-14 halftime lead. He added second half touchdowns of 4, 12 and 3 yards. Helmandollar has 10 touchdowns in Boise State's last three games.
"We got our offense going in the second half and ran with some authority," Boise State coach Dan Hawkins said. "Coach Hawk had a few choice words at halftime."
Tyler Jones kicked a 33-yard field goal to give Boise State a 20-14 lead early in the third quarter. From there, the Broncos rolled off 28 points in a 5:23 span at the end of the third and early in the fourth quarter.
Helmandollar scored from 4 yards with 2:16 left in the third, and his fourth TD from the 12 put the Broncos ahead 34-14 with 32 seconds left in the quarter.
Louisiana Tech's Erick Franklin fumbled the ensuing kickoff, recovered by kicker Tyler Jones. Three plays later, Lee Marks scored on a 19-yard run to put the Broncos up 41-14 just 13 seconds into the fourth.
"They are a very good football team," Bicknell said. "And when they get rolling it's kind of hard to turn it around."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||4-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||3-3|
|TD||8:34||JON HELMANDOLLAR 1 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 77 yards.
|FG||0:09||TYLER JONES 39 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||12:44||MATT KUBIK 4 YD RUN (DANNY HORWEDEL KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:49||RYAN MOATS 18 YD PASS FROM MATT KUBIK (DANNY HORWEDEL KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 25 yards.
|TD||2:17||JON HELMANDOLLAR 1 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yards.
|FG||8:32||TYLER JONES 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||2:16||JON HELMANDOLLAR 4 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||0:32||JON HELMANDOLLAR 12 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 41 yards.
|TD||14:47||LEE MARKS 19 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||11:53||JEFF CARPENTER 31 YD PASS FROM JARED ZABRANSKY (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||8:14||JON HELMANDOLLAR 3 YD RUN (TYLER JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yards.