Boise State makes national statement in rout of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- If this was Boise State's toughest test of

the season, it could be a very good year for the Broncos.

No. 22 Boise State backed up early speculation that they could

be in line for an at-large Bowl Championship Series berth by

routing Utah 36-3 Saturday. Boise State (5-0) scored 33 straight

points and forced five turnovers and handed the Utes (3-2) their

worst home loss in 17 years.

What was widely expected to be the biggest challenge for Boise

State turned into a blowout more typical of a Western Athletic

Conference game on the Broncos' renowned blue turf.

"I think there's a stigma about us that we may not be a very

good road team and we may not have the talent that some of those

big-time schools have," quarterback Jared Zabransky said. "But if

you look at our roster from top to bottom, the starters, and you

match us up, we can go against anybody."

Boise State held Utah to 178 yards of offense and Zabransky had

a relatively easy day.

Zabransky completed 15 of 21 passes for 210 yards and a

touchdown and ran for a score and Anthony Montgomery kicked three

field goals for the Broncos, who gained 398 yards and only missed

out on topping 400 yards because they downed the ball to run out

the clock.

After holding off Hawaii 41-34 at home the week before, the

Broncos put away the Utes early with three touchdowns in the second


"It showed how good our team really is," said Ian Johnson, who

ran for 88 of Boise State's 188 rushing yards.

Boise State converted half of its 12 third downs and the defense

had the home fans booing before halftime. Colt Brooks returned an

interception for a touchdown and Hall set up two scores with two

more picks on a miserable day for Utah's quarterbacks.

Brett Ratliff completed five of 21 passes with three

interceptions and Tommy Grady didn't fare any better after spelling

Ratliff in the third quarter. Grady was 3-for-6 with one


"We were completely outplayed by a very good team today," Utah

coach Kyle Whittingham said. From our standpoint, we didn't do

anything well."

The Broncos have seven games left in their bid for a second

unbeaten regular season in the last three years. Boise State went

11-0 two years ago, but so did Utah and the Utes got the BCS berth.

Maybe the Broncos are BCS-bound this time?

"We always want to gain respect in the national scene, but

they're going to put us where they put us," Hall said. "We know

what kind of team we are and we know who we can play with. Whether

people acknowledge that or not doesn't bother us.

After starting slowly, Boise State started pounding the ball up

the middle and scored three touchdowns before halftime. Zabransky

threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brad Lau, Vinny Paretta scored on

an 8-yard run after a trick play caught the Utes badly off guard.

Brooks added a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown less

than 2 minutes later to make it 23-3.

"It's like a bad dream," Ratliff said. "I didn't play well

enough to win. I take full responsibility for that."

Montgomery added a 40-yard field goal on the opening possession

of the third quarter, then after Hall's interception set up the

Broncos at the Utah 2, Zabransky made a 1-yard dive for the score.

Zabransky hurt his wrist on a trick play in the second quarter --

a lateral to Paretta, who passed it back to Zabransky, who passed

it to Derek Schouman to set up Paretta's touchdown run.

Utah's Eric Weddle hit Zabransky after the throw and hurt his

right wrist. Coach Chris Petersen was fuming at the officials

during a time out as trainers treated Zabransky, who left the game

for a play.

Louie Sakoda scored Utah's only points on a 37-yard field goal

with 6:08 left in the first quarter.

Ratliff threw nearly as many interceptions as completions and

made one really bad decision that gave Boise State a 23-3 lead. He

was about to be sacked inside the Utah 5 and got rid of the ball in

time, only to have Brooks intercept it and take it to the end zone.

Ratliff was booed by the home fans when he came out after the

kickoff and the discontented fans were even louder when his option

pitch on third down was behind Darryl Poston, who had to scramble

and dive on the ball for a loss of 7.

It was Utah's worst home loss since 1989, when Colorado State

beat the Utes 50-10.

"We'll see what kind of resiliency we have and how we handle

the adversity," Whittingham said. "We just didn't look sharp and

we got drilled today."