2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - Tulsa at Boise State
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Sept. 24 at Boise State 41 … Tulsa 21
CFN Analysis: It was a bigger blowout and an easier game than the final score might indicate. Boise State was in control from the start with Tulsa's points coming in garbage time late. Kellen Moore was nearly perfect completing 23-of-29 passes for 279 yards and four scores, and while the running game wasn't great, it was good enough early on to get by. The Broncos won the field position battle with a nice day from punter Brad Elkin, putting three kicks inside the 20, and the defense kept the high-powered Golden Hurricane offense under wraps. The road games at Fresno State and Colorado State will be interesting but Boise State is going through the motions right now and still winning easily.
Quarterback G.J. Kinne played through the knee injury suffered last week against Oklahoma State, but it didn't matter. The supposedly high-octane passing attack fizzled over the last few weeks with Kinne throwing four picks against Boise State and finishing with just 123 yards and a touchdown. Finally, the schedule eases up after facing Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Boise State in the first four games, and now the stats should come with North Texas and UAB up next. The Golden Hurricane has to cut down on the turnovers; that's the only way it'll lose over the next three weeks.
(AP) BOISE, Idaho -- It should be expected by now that whenever Boise State's Kellen Moore needs security, he looks for Tyler Shoemaker.
They've been playing pitch and catch "forever."
"We came in together. It's great. It's kind of his opportunity, he's kind of the old man of the group," Moore said. "He's making big time plays and we're getting him in good spots and he's coming away with some good touchdowns."
Shoemaker was on the receiving end of two more touchdowns on Saturday night, part of the four thrown by Moore in less than 2 1/2 quarters, and the fourth-ranked Broncos rolled to a 41-21 win over Tulsa in their home opener.
Boise State cornerback Jerrell Givens intercepted Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinnie twice and the Broncos jumped to a 27-0 lead on their way to a 33rd straight regular season home victory.
But this one was ragged, sometimes sloppy and not the crisp performance the Broncos have become known for. It was noticeably irksome to coach Chris Petersen.
"I thought there were some really nice plays made in all three phases but I thought it was a lot of sloppy football," Petersen said. "There's no question we have a long way to go. No question. And we better get there in a hurry."
Asked later if he thought the Broncos had a more complete game in them, Petersen seemed to be challenging his team.
"I know we haven't seen it. I don't know if we have it in us," he said. "That's to be determined."
Moore tossed TD passes of 26 and 6 yards to Shoemaker in the first quarter, then added a 1-yard pass to tight end Kyle Efaw late in the first half.
He capped his night with a 10-yard strike to Mitch Burroughs on the first drive of the second half, then donned a baseball cap and headset the rest of the night while backups Joe Southwick and Grant Hedrick got their turns.
Part of Moore's early departure could be related to the black brace Moore wore on his right knee and a noticeable limp that followed him all night, especially when he was asked to scramble from the pocket. Moore acknowledged he was a little beat up coming out of last week's win over Toledo and the brace was "just a doctor deal."
Even with a damaged wheel, Moore finished 23 of 29 for 279 yards and has 12 touchdowns against two interceptions in three games.
Through three games, Moore is 83 of 105 for 995 yards. A week after catching three TDs against Toledo, Shoemaker now has six TDs for the season, already a career high.
"This is pretty much how I've wanted it to go for a long time and now it's coming to fruition," Shoemaker said.
Tulsa (1-3) concluded a brutal early season stretch that featured a game at No. 1 Oklahoma and last week's wacky 59-33 loss at home to No. 7 Oklahoma State that didn't kickoff until after midnight early Sunday morning.
Tulsa was one of just two teams in the country to play three AP top 10 teams in the first four weeks of the season. And they had to serve as the Broncos home opener on one of two nights this season where Boise State was allowed to wear blue helmets, jerseys and pants on its famous blue rug.
"This is a good measuring stick. This is what top-10 football is about. Boise is a great example but so is Oklahoma State and so is Oklahoma," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said. "If that is where we want to take our program we have to be able to compete at that level."
Kinnie played despite a left knee injury suffered in last week's loss to Oklahoma State. His status was in doubt all week, but Kinnie played into the fourth quarter. He finished 14 of 24 for 123 yards and was intercepted four times.
He wasn't helped by awful field position most of the night and a spotty running game. A week after rumbling for 365 yards against Oklahoma State, the Hurricanes managed 155 yards rushing on the Broncos.
Tulsa simply couldn't make up for a miserable first half where they ran just one play in Boise territory in the first 38 1/2 minutes. Both of Givens' interceptions came in the first half, as did Aaron Tevis' diving pick on a screen pass.
"After last week that was a big emphasis for us. We wanted to take that away from them. I thought we did well with that," Tevis said.
Doug Martin and the Boise State running games was spotty, aside from Martin's 33-yard TD run in the second quarter when he leaped over teammate Gabe Linehan. Martin had 75 yards on 21 carries.
That wasn't the only misfire on this night.
The Boise State Army ROTC prematurely fired off the touchdown cannon after Shoemaker's reception to the Tulsa 1 on the Broncos opening drive, only to see Tulsa hold on fourth down after Moore bobbled the handoff.
Same thing happened later in the first quarter after Martin darted 19 yards for an apparent score -- and cannon firing -- only to have the TD called back on holding. That drive did get finished off with Shoemaker's second TD.
There were also injury concerns with defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford and Billy Wynn getting helped off the field in the first half, only to return in the third quarter. Receiver Chris Potter and offensive guard Jake Broyles also left with injuries.
Center Thomas Byrd also saw his string of 36 consecutive starts snapped.
"I think we're OK," Petersen said. "It's football season and you have to play with some bumps and bruises."
Tulsa (1-2) at Boise State (2-0) Sept. 24, 8:00, CBS Sports Network
Here's The Deal … The latest stop on the Boise State victory tour was Toledo, where the Broncos shook free from a pesky Rockets team, 40-15, with a strong second half. While it wasn't easy in the early going, it did allow Kellen Moore to bolster his Heisman resume with five touchdown passes in front of a national TV audience on a Friday night.
Boise State returns home for the first time in 2011, looking to remain within shouting distance of the top of the polls. With the completion of this trip to Idaho, Tulsa will have played the toughest September schedule of any school in America. This will be the third top 10 team that the Golden Hurricane has faced, having already been bounced around by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. If nothing else, head coach Bill Blankenship's kids will be battle-tested once Conference USA resumes on Oct. 15.
Why Tulsa Might Win: Though WR Damaris Johnson has clearly been missed, the Golden Hurricane is finding ways to make up for the loss of its star playmaker. The offense has scored at least 31 points in each of the last games, really cranking up the running game last week versus the Cowboys. Tulsa produced 365 yards on the ground, including career-days from backs Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas. It'll need to maintain that level of production this week, especially since linchpin QB G.J. Kinne remains questionable with a knee injury. When Kinne is at full-strength, the Hurricane is a diverse and potent group capable of putting a scare into more talented opponents.
Why Boise State Might Win: The Broncos are simply too complete for a Tulsa team that won't have all of its weapons. Sure, Moore gets most of the pub, but he's far from the only contributor in Boise. Doug Martin is a next-level running back, who helps give the program balance and some zip out of the backfield. And the defense continues to be a vastly underrated group. Led by a bunch of high-motor defensive linemen, like Billy Winn, Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford, the Broncos will toy with an average Hurricane offensive line. If Kinne's trademark mobility is impacted, or if erratic Kalen Henderson gets the ball, Tulsa will labor to extend drives versus the Boise State D.
What To Watch Out For: Okay, so there isn't a Titus Young or Austin Pettis in the bunch, but Boise State has shown that there is life in the passing game now that two star receivers have graduated. Moore has already thrown for eight scores and 716 yards in two games, and will continue to pile up the numbers on overmatched defenses. His chief beneficiaries so far have been an eclectic bunch, Martin, TE Kyle Efaw and WR Tyler Shoemaker. Shoemaker, a senior, has been the preferred target near the end zone, turning four of his six receptions into six points.
What Will Happen: It may not be homecoming in Boise, but it'll feel like it on Saturday night. The Broncos, happy to play in front of the locals for the first time in 2011, will deliver a tight performance in a comfortable win over Tulsa. Moore will once again be sharp, while sharing the spotlight with Martin and the defense. Even if Kinne is able to don pads, it won't matter to the outcome. He'll wish he rested as Boise State swarms to the ball and feeds off the energy of the crowd.
CFN Prediction: Boise State 44 … Tulsa 14
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