LANDOVER, Md. (Sports Network) - Kellen Moore's 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining in the game provided third-ranked Boise State with a thrilling 33-30 win over No. 10 Virginia Tech in an action-packed season-opener for both schools.
It was an incredible night for Pettis. The senior wide receiver blocked a punt and caught a second touchdown pass for the Broncos (1-0), who last year became just the second team in NCAA history to record a 14-0 season, capping it with a 17-10 win over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Playing out of the Western Athletic Conference for a last season, the Broncos have already started the debate if they can be BCS busters this year and reach the national title game. They accomplished the first step against what should be BSU's only ranked opponent this season.
"You should gain more respect beating a Virginia Tech team out here," Moore said. "You're basically playing a road game, you're having a heck of a game with them, just fighting back and forth. I think it's an exciting game for us."
Moore completed 23-of-38 passes for 215 yards, while D.J. Harper gained 80 yards on four carries, including a 71-yard TD run.
Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor ended 15-of-22 for 186 yards and two scores, but he was sacked three times. Jarrett Boykin had six catches for 102 yards and a TD, while Ryan Williams scored three times - two on rushes and one via reception. Taylor also rushed for 73 yards for the Hokies (0-1), who are coming off a 10-3 season last year when they downed Tennessee in the Chick- Fil-A Bowl.
After a Virginia Tech punt, Moore led the Broncos on a drive that was aided by a big late hit call. Pettis caught a 14-yard pass on the left sideline, but Bruce Taylor's hit out of bounds tacked on more yardage.
Two plays later, Pettis got free in the back of the end zone and caught a perfect strike from Moore.
"We got the ball in good field position and thought we'd do something with it," Boise State coach Chris Peterson said. "We've practiced that so often and I thought our coaching staff did a fabulous job. They were very calm and the kids executed the plays like clockwork. Practicing against our defense is extremely competitive and it felt a lot like that tonight."
Taylor couldn't drive the Hokies past midfield, and Boykin failed to hold onto a long fourth down pass that would've given Virginia Tech the ball deep in BSU territory. The Broncos ran out the remaining half-minute.
"We made too many critical mistakes to beat a top-five football team," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "Look at the effort we made to come back and get out of a hole. I'm proud of what we are all about, I'm just not proud of how we play consistently, right now."
Early on, it looked as if BSU would run away from the Hokies, as the Broncos bolted to a 17-0 lead. Kyle Brotzman kicked a 44-yard field goal just 2:16 into the game.
Virginia Tech's first possession ended in disaster as Pettis came around the edge to block a punt from Brian Saunders. Two plays later, the Broncos were in the end zone, courtesy of Moore's eight-yard connection to Pettis.
The Broncos put together a 12-play, 78-yard drive later in the quarter, ending on Moore's two-yard TD strike to tight end Tommy Gallarda, who made a nifty one-handed diving catch in the left rear corner of the end zone. The catch was made with 1:11 to go in the period.
Williams powered into the end zone from a yard out early in the second, but Brotzman spilt the uprights from 47 yards out with 10:23 left in the half for a 20-7 margin.
The Broncos caught another break when Chris Hazley couldn't connect on a 34- yard field goal try.
A fumble by Doug Martin gave the Hokies the ball right back and Taylor threw 12 yards to the end zone for Williams.
Facing a 20-14 deficit at the half, Virginia Tech forced a turnover early in the third when Moore fumbled after his arm collided with offensive lineman Nate Potter. The Hokies took over at the BSU 31 and Williams scored on a one- yard run to finally give his team a 21-20 edge with 6:34 left in the quarter.
It was the first time Boise State trailed in the second half of a regular season game since 2007 against Hawaii.
Facing a 3rd-and-1 on the ensuing possession, Harper broke free for a 71-yard scoring run, but the Broncos botched the extra point try.
The offensive showcase continued with Taylor hitting Boykin for a short pass and he broke free from one tackle for a clear path to the end zone for a 28- yard score. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Hokies with a 27-26 edge with 2:40 left in the third. A running into the kicker penalty gave Virginia Tech new life on the drive after Hazley missed a 51-yard attempt.
Brotzman was wide left on a 30-yard field goal try early in the fourth, and the Hokies added to their lead on a Hazley 34-yard field goal with 7:38 remaining.