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October 12, 2011

Boise St.-Colorado St. Preview

(AP) -- Boise State is leaving little doubt that it'll be a force in the Mountain West Conference, but another strong start may have the team seeking loftier goals.

The fifth-ranked Broncos look for yet another 6-0 start when they open their inaugural MWC conference schedule Saturday with their first meeting against host Colorado State.

Boise State (5-0, 0-0) was the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West after winning eight of the last nine Western Athletic Conference titles.

It appears that status as favorite may be warranted. The Broncos are unbeaten through five games for the fourth straight season and earned one first-place vote in the latest AP Poll. They're 43-2 overall since the start of the 2008 season, and 18-1 on the road.

They figure to pose a lofty challenge, but Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild welcomes it.

"They bring a top-five type of program, a program that has been in BCS bowls, a program that's shown they're capable of playing with anybody anywhere," he said. "There's no question no matter who you're talking to get involved in Mountain West football, adding Boise is good for the conference."

Fairchild will get a closer look at Boise State's offense, perhaps the most dynamic in the conference. The Broncos are averaging a league-high 298.8 yards through the air and have 18 passing touchdowns, while adding 11 more scores and 151.4 yards per game on the ground.

They also lead MWC schools with 40.6 points per game, while the defense is yielding a measly average of 14.8 points, nearly 10 fewer than the next-best unit in the conference.

Senior quarterback Kellen Moore completed 23 of 31 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a 57-7 victory over Fresno State on Oct. 7. Six days earlier, Moore threw for a career-low 142 yards with two TDs and two interceptions but Boise State defeated Nevada 30-10.

Moore will try to utilize Geraldo Boldewijn again after the sophomore receiver had two of his three catches go for scores last week - his first game back from a suspension stemming from recruiting violations and taking illegal benefits.

"He's a big-time player. Obviously everyone knows that," Moore said. "He's another piece to the puzzle in the wide receiver crew. He's a big-body guy, a long strider. He does a great job going up and making plays."

Colorado State (3-2, 1-0) will need to be better against the pass after giving up a season-high 313 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-31 loss to San Jose State on Oct. 1. The Rams gave up the winning TD on a 38-yard pass with 54 seconds left.

They've dropped two of three, allowing an average of 33.3 points. However, the offense has showed promise by totaling 66 points in the last two contests.

Colorado State has lost 12 in a row to ranked opponents since beating then-No. 7 Colorado in August 2002.

"Well we've got to play our best game, obviously," Fairchild said of facing Boise State. "We've got to play with emotion, start fast, all those things. You go down the list and there's upsets every week, that's why they play them. Just a chance to play a team like this, that's why we're here.

"We want to be able to play with this team."

Colorado State quarterback Pete Thomas is coming off one of the best performances of his career. The sophomore completed 28 of 43 passes against the Spartans for a career-best 387 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He had three scoring passes over his previous four games.

The Rams may need to lean on Thomas, as their running game is averaging 2.7 yards per carry over the last three games.













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