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October 3, 2009

Broncos run extra to prep for UC Davis

BOISE, Idaho (AP) The No. 5 team in the country did extra running this week to get ready for a Championship Subdivison opponent.

Ranked higher than ever before, Boise State still can't afford a letdown as it tries to make a run at another BCS bid. And when the Broncos came out sluggish the day after a 49-14 trouncing of Bowling Green, coach Chris Petersen decided it wasn't the right way to start a week of prep.

"You get a couple of games under your belt and it's not something guys look forward to doing the day after" a game, Petersen said. "We got a sense that some of the guys were a little beat up, and that's football. So we put time on everything we do. But the guys didn't make the time, so we did it again."

Even a close win could be used as ammunition by voters looking to drop the Broncos in the two polls that make up the BCS standings. So Peterson's probably going to need a comfortable win over his alma mater.

The last time UC Davis came to Boise, Peterson was the Aggies quarterback, and he played the Broncos on a plain old green field. They've made some strides since that game in 1985.

"Boise State has athletes at every position. They have size and can run ... and relentless and well coached," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs, who recruited Petersen then worked with him when Petersen joined the Aggies coaching staff. "We've got nothing to lose, so we can just go out and compete."

And when the Aggies (1-2) come to town Saturday, there will be a lot more pressure on Petersen.

The Broncos' rise has been helped by early season losses for powerhouses such as USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, as well former top 10 teams like California, Penn State and BYU.

Despite some sluggish starts this season, Boise State has managed to flip the switch by the second quarter. In the last two games they've scored 100 points and have boast the nation's seventh highest scoring offense, at 41.7 points per game.

Quarterback Kellen Moore, who has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 932 yards, 10 TDs and just one interception.

Moore's two favorite targets, receivers Austin Pettis and speedster Titus Young, have 38 catches and seven touchdowns between them.

"They play with such confidence," said Biggs. "This is the best team UC Davis has ever played."

The Aggies aren't quite a pushover, at least not by playoff-team standards.

Quarterback Greg Denham is averaging 258 yards per game this season. The junior threw for 225 yards and one touchdown and ran for another score last week to help the Aggies beat Western Oregon 29-13 and snap a five-game losing streak.

All week, Boise television stations have been showing replays from the 1985 game. It was Petersen's debut under center, and he completed 23 of 33 passes for 237 yards and added 64 more yards rushing in a 13-9 loss.

In two years as a starter, Petersen guided the Aggies to 19-3 record and he still holds the school record for completion percentage in a season at 70.6. After graduation, he joined the staff, coaching freshman and receivers until 1991.

Saturday is homecoming for Boise State, and in a way an unlikely one for Petersen and his alma matter. But he says it's hardly the time to get nostalgic.

"There are people there I'm connected to ... and have a long history with. There are still all those ties." Petersen said. "But the game is the game. You prepare as hard as you can, and after, it's all good."


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