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
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
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
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
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
"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."