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Published: Saturday, 9/13/2008

Schedule flaw leaves Boise State untested

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOISE Two games into a loaded front-end schedule, Bowling Green State University thinks it has a strong football team.

Boise State would like to feel the same way about itself, but the Broncos simply aren t sure yet.

After smashing Division I-AA Idaho State 49-7 in the season opener, Boise s schedule called for a recess last Saturday.

An idle week is desirable in mid October as players can use the time off to recover from nagging physical problems. But in September, the kids just want to play, and the coaches just want to evaluate.

No doubt the Broncos will be eager to hit someone tonight as they end a 14-day layoff with an 8 p.m. meeting against the Falcons at Bronco Stadium.

That s not our ideal situation, Boise coach Chris Petersen said of the start-and-stop beginning to the season. You get out of the gate and you like to go play and see what you have. It s hard to control these schedules, so you just kind of have to play with what they give you.

BG s weekly sabbatical begins after tonight s game. The Falcons will get back on a plane in two weeks and return to the western part of the country for their final nonconference game at Wyoming.

No one has said as much, but BG (1-1) would be ecstatic to be at least 2-2 entering Mid-American Conference play.

Boise provides a considerable challenge for the Falcons, who lost here three years ago 48-20. The Broncos, of course, have won 59 of 61 home games since the start of the 1999 season.

We ve only played two bad quarters of football the first quarter at Pitt and the last quarter against Minnesota, BG coach Gregg Brandon said. [With those exemptions] the team has done a great job, and I m proud of them. The next game will be the hardest yet. It will be harder than Pitt and it will be harder than Minnesota.

If there s one reason to be optimistic tonight, it s that Boise starts a redshirt freshman at quarterback. Kellen Moore, a ballyhooed recruit out of the state of Washington, was efficient two weeks ago, completing 14 of 19 passes for 274 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and was sacked once.

He needs to play more so we can kind of see what he s really all about, Petersen said. The only way to do that is play in games. Practice is one thing. You have to get those real, live, fast looks in games. We re still kind of a work in progress.

Running back Ian Johnson will attempt to take pressure off Moore. You remember Johnson, right? He was the guy who scored the decisive two-point conversion to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago. Perhaps Johnson (87 rushing yards in the opener) is better known for what he did moments after that game when he proposed to his wife on the field.

Ian Johnson s a really good back, but they have two other backs that are equally as talented and maybe faster, Brandon said, referring to Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com.



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