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November 24, 2010
Boise St.-Nevada Preview
Chris Petersen has been waiting for a game where his Boise State squad will be challenged for four quarters.(AP) -- Coach
He might get his wish when the third-ranked Broncos look to secure their final Western Athletic Conference championship while trying to continue their recent dominance of No. 19 Nevada on Friday night.
Petersen thought a visit from Fresno State last Friday would have provided a serious test. Instead, Boise State (10-0, 6-0) amassed 516 total yards and posted its third shutout, 51-0.
There's a good chance Friday's trip to Nevada (10-1, 5-1) could be the challenge Petersen has wanted.
The Broncos, though, have averaged 50.0 points during a 10-game winning streak over the Wolf Pack, but Nevada has won 11 in a row at home and four straight overall since losing 27-21 at Hawaii on Oct. 16.
"I think (it) is going to be one of those games," Petersen said. "I think our guys are going to be up for the challenge."
Averaging 51.5 points since facing Hawaii, Nevada and its pistol offense are playing at a level it hopes will be enough to pull off the upset.
"It is going to be a great opportunity for us," coach Chris Ault said. "That's pretty special."
While the Wolf Pack have a chance to snap Boise State's 24-game winning streak, there is much more on the line for the Broncos.
Aside from clinching its eighth WAC title in nine seasons, a victory over Nevada could help Boise State move up one spot and pass TCU for third place in the BCS standings. The Broncos conclude their regular season next weekend against Utah State in their final WAC game before joining the Mountain West Conference.
"What else do they have to do?" Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "This is an elite football team and there's no doubt in my mind, if these guys win out, they should play for the national championship."
Presently, the Broncos' focus is on Friday's contest.
"I can't lie and say I haven't known that game is coming up," safety Jeron Johnson said. "It's going to be a big game."
Though the series has been one-sided the last decade, both teams rank among the nation's leaders in offense.
Boise State is second in scoring (47.9 points per game) and fourth in total offense (528.8 yards per game), while Nevada is fourth in scoring (44.1) and third in total offense (537.7).
Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore is No. 1 nationally in completing 71.8 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. He's thrown for 1,056 yards and 10 TDs while helping the Broncos outscore Hawaii, Idaho and Fresno State 145-21 this month.
Moore has thrown for 676 yards with eight touchdowns in two games against Nevada. Five of those TDs came in last season's 44-33 win.
Senior Titus Young needs 12 yards to become the first Boise State receiver to record two 1,000-yard seasons after catching eight passes for a season-high 164 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State.
Teammate Austin Pettis, who had nine receptions for 126 yards and two TDs against Nevada in 2009, had a season-high 10 catches and two TDs last Friday.
Nevada quarterback [db]Colin Kaepernick[/b] is among the nation's leaders averaging 308.7 total yards per contest. He's thrown for 625 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for 278 with two scores in three games versus Boise State.
Senior Vai Taua ran 22 times for 111 yards and two TDs in Nevada's 52-6 win over New Mexico State on Saturday. The NCAA's active career leader with 24 100-yard rushing games, Taua ran for 160 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown against the Broncos last season.
Taua is seventh in the nation averaging 124.1 yards, and he'll face a Boise State defense that ranks first in the country giving up 72.3 rushing yards per game.
Boise State, which held Hawaii and the nation's No. 1 passing offense to 240 yards less than its season average, ranks second in the country in total defense (229.2) and average points allowed (11.5).
"We're not Boise State," Ault said. "We have our work cut out for us."
Nevada, which has lost nine straight to Top 25 opponents, last beat Boise State on Oct. 31, 1998.
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