From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Boise State Broncos hope to push their win streak to 17 straight this weekend when they host the 24th-ranked Oregon State Beavers on the blue turf at home in Idaho.
The Broncos, who have the second-longest win streak in the nation behind only Alabama, also own the country's second-longest home win streak at 26 games at the moment, trailing on Oklahoma which has triumphed 33 straight times in Norman. Boise State kicked off the 2010 campaign with a thrilling 33-30 win over Virginia Tech, which at the time was ranked sixth in the nation. Unfortunately, poor play by the Hokies since then has taken some of the luster off that win so the Broncos continue to fight for respect each and every time they take the field.
Last week BSU traveled to Laramie to clash with the Wyoming Cowboys, a meeting that was essentially over by halftime and finished up 51-6 in favor of the Broncos.
As for the Beavers, their inclusion on Boise's schedule this season was also supposed to give the Broncos some added value, but OSU lost to TCU right out of the gate, 30-21. Last weekend, after enjoying some time off, Oregon State barely held on to defeat Louisville at home, 35-28, so the credibility of the Beavers is also in question at this stage as well.
The Beavers hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series with BSU, yet it was the Broncos who captured the 42-14 win in the most recent encounter back in 2006 when the team ran the table and finished a perfect 13-0 following its thrilling overtime win against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Once again the heart and soul of the Oregon State offense turned out to be Jacquizz Rodgers who not only carried the ball 24 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the win against Louisville, he also caught a team-best five passes for another 22 yards and a score. Ryan Katz, who didn't throw an interception in the matchup, accounted for 142 yards and a pair of TDs through the air for an OSU squad that generated just 319 yards of total offense, compared to 453 yards for the Cardinals.
As much credit as Jacquizz Rodgers is given for his production coming out of the backfield, it is tough to understand how and why the Beavers are ranked ninth in the Pac-10 Conference and 90th in the nation this week with an average of only 125 ypg. The pass offense is far from an accomplished commodity right now as well, averaging just 162 ypg which leaves it ninth in the league and 98th nationally. Katz has converted a mere 47.1 percent of his attempts, but the good news is that he has four TD strikes and has yet to be picked off this season.
"Defensively, they are as sound as they can be," says Oregon State head coach Mike Riley about the Broncos. "They refuse to let people run on them. So we have to find our balance. We have to be that team that can punch and counter- punch with them."
The run defense for the Beavers has been beaten up in just two games, allowing 221.5 ypg, and while Boise State might not be known for pounding the ball on the ground time and time again, the squad is known for creating an offensive game plan that takes advantage of an opponent's weakness and right now Oregon State has more than one. The pass defense is giving up 231.5 ypg also and the squad has logged only two sacks in as many games, which means they'll really have to change their mode of attack in order to compete with the Broncos.
"I don't think you can ever let them have one look," coach Riley says of his defense's approach to going after BSU's Kellen Moore. "You have to mix things up. One of the most important things is to make him throw the ball on time. He has a great ability to avoid the sack and get rid of the ball. He doesn't make many mistakes."
Moore was brilliant once again in his attack on Wyoming last week, throwing for 370 yards and two touchdowns as the Broncos ripped off 37 straight points to begin against the Cowboys in Laramie. So efficient was Moore, he and several of the offensive starters were able to watch the fourth quarter from the sidelines. Titus Young and Austin Pettis both had strong efforts with 94 and 88 yards receiving, respectively, but the latter put himself in coach Chris Petersen's doghouse when he somersaulted into the end zone to cap a 58- yard touchdown play. The action drew a penalty flag and the ire of coach Petersen who, while he likes to draw up fun and exciting plays, doesn't care for some of the antics that follow.
Even though coach Petersen wasn't pleased with the actions of Pettis, he was happy with the overall performance of the Broncos in a tough environment.
"The kids did a great job preparing; they took this team very serious...Our team came out with great energy and great emotion and I'm pleased with how hard they played. They know this is a tough place to play and they came out ready to play."
Moore, who was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after the victory against VaTech, is still only a junior yet has more 300-yard passing games (seven) than anyone else in the league right now. Because the offense has remained almost unchanged from last season, at least in terms of personnel, Moore is only expected to get better and that's a scary thought seeing as how is he directing an offense that is seventh in the nation with 515.5 ypg and is 15th in the country in scoring with 42 ppg.
Pettis has managed to make himself into one of the more exciting players in the game, generating 161 yards and three touchdowns on a mere nine receptions, but if his antics continue he might find that his number isn't being called quite so frequently.
After holding the Cowboys to minus-21 yards rushing last week, Boise State now possesses the second-best run defense in the country behind only Texas, giving up a paltry 53.5 ypg. A stat like that doesn't bode well for Oregon State since the Beavers lean so much on Rodgers every chance they get.