La Tech Looking for Upset Over No. 5 Boise State

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Louisiana Tech has never played host to a team ranked as high as No. 5 Boise State.

But the Broncos (8-0, 3-0 WAC) should note the last time a ranked team strolled into Joe Aillet Stadium. Turn back the clock to 2004, when then-No. 17 Fresno State showed up, fresh off victories over Washington and Kansas State and dreaming of crashing the BCS party.

The Bulldogs shattered those hopes on the legs of Ryan Moats. Now of the NFL's Houston Texans, Moats rolled for 236 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-21 victory.

For coach Derek Dooley, the chance for the Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3) to play spoiler again is just plain fun.

"We've been thinking about it all season," said Dooley, whose team has lost seven straight to the Broncos. "It's a big one for us and it would help a lot to shock the world."

The world? Maybe not.

But the BCS rankings and Boise State's postseason hopes? Undoubtedly.

Dooley also knows that for history to repeat itself, the Bulldogs will have to play their best game of the year, and maybe without some of their best players. Receiver and returner Phillip Livas injured an ankle last week, and running back Daniel Porter was knocked out with a concussion. Both are questionable for Friday night's game.

"If we're sitting here hoping Boise's going to come in and have a letdown, we're wishing in one hand and I'm not telling you what we're doing in the other," Dooley said. "At the end of the day, the wish ain't going to come true. Boise's going to come in and they're going to be phenomenal in all phases, and the question is how do we play? That's all we can control."

The Broncos have put together their two most dominating games of the season. Led by quarterback Kellen Moore and a stingy defense, the Broncos have outscored their last two opponents 99-16.

Moore, the nation's most efficient passer, has been terrific during that stretch, throwing for 501 yards and eight touchdowns in victories over Hawaii and San Jose State. Moore is second in the nation with 24 TDs on the season and has thrown just two picks.

The defense has forced turnovers early, helping the offense put games out of reach early.

The Broncos, among the nation's best with a 1.25 turnover margin, had two takeaways last week, both during a seven minute span in which Boise State rolled up 24 points. The week before, the defense forced three fumbles and had three interceptions, opportunities the offense cashed in for 30 points.

"They don't just beat you. They absolutely annihilate you, and we're going to have to put forth our best effort in all phases and see what happens," Dooley said.

For Boise State coach Chris Petersen, many things about the Bulldogs are deceiving, and potentially dangerous.

With a few more breaks and fewer mistakes, the Bulldogs could easily be 5-3 instead of 3-5, Petersen said. Last week, Idaho rallied late to edge the Bulldogs 35-34. And the week before, the Bulldogs lost another close one on the road, 23-21 at Utah State.

"If you pay attention to a record, that's when you run into trouble," Petersen said. "It seems like every time we go back there the game's not decided until the fourth quarter."


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