3:00 PM ET, September 30, 2006
Rice-Eccles Stadium, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- If this was Boise State's toughest test of the season, it could be a very good year for the Broncos.
No. 22 Boise State backed up early speculation that they could be in line for an at-large Bowl Championship Series berth by routing Utah 36-3 Saturday. Boise State (5-0) scored 33 straight points and forced five turnovers and handed the Utes (3-2) their worst home loss in 17 years.
What was widely expected to be the biggest challenge for Boise State turned into a blowout more typical of a Western Athletic Conference game on the Broncos' renowned blue turf.
"I think there's a stigma about us that we may not be a very good road team and we may not have the talent that some of those big-time schools have," quarterback Jared Zabransky said. "But if you look at our roster from top to bottom, the starters, and you match us up, we can go against anybody."
Boise State held Utah to 178 yards of offense and Zabransky had a relatively easy day.
Zabransky completed 15 of 21 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score and Anthony Montgomery kicked three field goals for the Broncos, who gained 398 yards and only missed out on topping 400 yards because they downed the ball to run out the clock.
After holding off Hawaii 41-34 at home the week before, the Broncos put away the Utes early with three touchdowns in the second quarter.
"It showed how good our team really is," said Ian Johnson, who ran for 88 of Boise State's 188 rushing yards.
Boise State converted half of its 12 third downs and the defense had the home fans booing before halftime. Colt Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown and Hall set up two scores with two more picks on a miserable day for Utah's quarterbacks.
"We were completely outplayed by a very good team today," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. From our standpoint, we didn't do anything well."
The Broncos have seven games left in their bid for a second unbeaten regular season in the last three years. Boise State went 11-0 two years ago, but so did Utah and the Utes got the BCS berth.
Maybe the Broncos are BCS-bound this time?
"We always want to gain respect in the national scene, but they're going to put us where they put us," Hall said. "We know what kind of team we are and we know who we can play with. Whether people acknowledge that or not doesn't bother us.
After starting slowly, Boise State started pounding the ball up the middle and scored three touchdowns before halftime. Zabransky threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brad Lau, Vinny Paretta scored on an 8-yard run after a trick play caught the Utes badly off guard.
Brooks added a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown less than 2 minutes later to make it 23-3.
"It's like a bad dream," Ratliff said. "I didn't play well enough to win. I take full responsibility for that."
Montgomery added a 40-yard field goal on the opening possession of the third quarter, then after Hall's interception set up the Broncos at the Utah 2, Zabransky made a 1-yard dive for the score.
Zabransky hurt his wrist on a trick play in the second quarter -- a lateral to Paretta, who passed it back to Zabransky, who passed it to Derek Schouman to set up Paretta's touchdown run.
Utah's Eric Weddle hit Zabransky after the throw and hurt his right wrist. Coach Chris Petersen was fuming at the officials during a time out as trainers treated Zabransky, who left the game for a play.
Louie Sakoda scored Utah's only points on a 37-yard field goal with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
Ratliff threw nearly as many interceptions as completions and made one really bad decision that gave Boise State a 23-3 lead. He was about to be sacked inside the Utah 5 and got rid of the ball in time, only to have Brooks intercept it and take it to the end zone.
Ratliff was booed by the home fans when he came out after the kickoff and the discontented fans were even louder when his option pitch on third down was behind Darryl Poston, who had to scramble and dive on the ball for a loss of 7.
It was Utah's worst home loss since 1989, when Colorado State beat the Utes 50-10.
"We'll see what kind of resiliency we have and how we handle the adversity," Whittingham said. "We just didn't look sharp and we got drilled today."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The second quarter ended. The Broncos went on a tear, scoring 20 unanswered points to keep their 12-0 record against MWC teams intact.
Gameball goes to... Jared Zabransky, who threw one touchdown and ran for another in the 36-3 rout. He finished with 209 yards on 15-for-21 passing.
Stat of the game... 52: Usually we use this space to call out the teams that can't run the ball, but the Utes had the opposite problem, picking up just 52 passing yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-12||4-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|FG||11:28||ANTHONY MONTGOMERY 35 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 3 yards.
|FG||6:08||LOUIE SAKODA 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||14:49||BRAD LAU 3 YD PASS FROM JARED ZABRANSKY (ANTHONY MONTGOMERY KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||6:19||VINNY PERRETTA 8 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||3:39||COLT BROOKS 12 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (ANTHONY MONTGOMERY KICK)||23||3|
|FG||9:49||ANTHONY MONTGOMERY 40 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||1:02||JARED ZABRANSKY 1 YD RUN (ANTHONY MONTGOMERY KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 2 yards.
|FG||10:32||ANTHONY MONTGOMERY 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 36 yards.