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November 9, 2011
Boise State and TCU likely will decide the Mountain West conference championship Nov. 12 at Bronco Stadium.
TCU is 4-0 in the league and already has won at Air Force, San Diego State and Wyoming. After Saturday, the Horned Frogs' remaining games are at home against Colorado State and UNLV, two teams headed for losing seasons.
"This is it," Boise State senior defensive tackle Chase Baker said. "This is for the championship. There's not going to be another team beat these guys. We have to bring our A-game. This truly is for the Mountain West title."
The teams have developed a bit of a rivalry in recent years, competing for BCS bowl berths and meeting in three bowl games. TCU won 17-16 in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl and Boise State earned revenge with a 17-10 win in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos also beat the Horned Frogs in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl, 34-31.
The Horned Frogs face long odds trying to win on the blue turf. Boise State has won 35 straight home games, the longest streak in the nation, and hasn't lost a home conference game since 1998.
"We've been taking it a week at a time and now it's here," TCU senior linebacker Tank Carder told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We have a week to prepare for Boise. Boise has a great program and they've got a great thing going for them this year, and we're going to do our best to go in there and see what we can do."
• Boise State still is No. 5 in the BCS standings, two spots behind one-loss Alabama, which could keep the Broncos from reaching the title game even if Stanford and Oklahoma State lose.
• Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy sent Kellen Moore a text message after the Boise State senior quarterback broke McCoy's FBS career wins record. Moore earned his 46th win last week.
• Boise State received a $3 million grant to help with construction of the new football complex, expected to break ground next spring. That gives the school more than $10 million for the $20 million project.
Series History: Boise State leads TCU 2-1 (last meeting, 2010, 17-10 Boise State)
Scouting The Offense: The Broncos have scored at least 30 points in every game this season and starting quarterback Kellen Moore has only played to the end in two games. They rank seventh in scoring (43.9 points per game) and 13th in yards (479 per game). But the Horned Frogs have been a difficult matchup for the Broncos. Boise State scored 16 points in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl and 10 offensive points in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. Quarterback Kellen Moore didn't throw a touchdown pass in either game.
Scouting The Defense: The Broncos have lacked consistency on defense all year, which is why they rank 13th in total defense (302.9 yards per game) instead of in the top five. They allowed 14 first-half points last week against UNLV and then held the Rebels to one first down until mop-up time in the second half. They'll need a complete, inspired effort against a TCU offense that is loaded with speed. Just like Boise State's offense, TCU's offense has struggled to score in this matchup-accumulating 27 points in the past two meetings.
Quote To Note: "It's going to take a lot of preparation. Monday through Friday is going to be very important."-Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore on facing TCU.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Game: TCU at Boise State, Nov. 12-The game didn't quite live up to advanced billing because TCU lost to Baylor by two points and SMU in overtime. If not for those defeats, both teams would be ranked in the Top 10 and a BCS berth would be on the line. Still, the Horned Frogs are far enough along in their conference schedule that it's clear they will win the Mountain West outright title if they can beat the Broncos. Boise State still must play at San Diego State but almost certainly would win at least a share of the title with a win in this game.
Keys To The Game: Boise State's defense and special teams have created big plays in the past two matchups, helping out an offense that has struggled to score against TCU's defense. The Horned Frogs need to avoid those kinds of mistakes to pull the upset. For the Broncos, it will be important to establish offensive balance with the run game. The Broncos haven't had much of a vertical threat in the pass game, so they need the run to soften the pass coverage.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Kellen Moore - He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 21 straight games. The last time he didn't was in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl against TCU, when he was shut out. He has 29 touchdown passes in eight games this season and is on pace to break his own school record of 39 (2009).
WR Tyler Shoemaker - His assault on the record book continues. With two more TD catches last week, he has 11 in eight games. The school record is 14, set in 2009 by Austin Pettis. Shoemaker is on pace for about 18.
CBs Jamar Taylor, Ebo Makinde, Quaylon Ewing-Burton and Lee Hightower - The Broncos lost starter Jerrell Gavins after three games and Taylor is questionable after not playing last week. They haven't been hurt by playing the inexperienced trio of Makinde, Ewing-Burton and Hightower, but TCU's speed will test them.
• Starting tailback Doug Martin (leg) left in the first half of last week's game against UNLV. He could have returned, coach Chris Petersen said, so it's likely he will play against TCU.
• Starting defensive tackle Billy Winn missed the second half against UNLV. His injury isn't serious, but it's unclear if he'll be ready this week.
• Starting cornerback Jamar Taylor missed last week's game with a nagging leg injury. His status is uncertain.
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