No. 5 Boise State survives Louisiana Tech 45-35 | NevadaAppeal.com
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No. 5 Boise State survives Louisiana Tech 45-35

BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer

RUSTON, La. (AP) – Just when Boise State looked vulnerable, Kellen Moore and the Broncos quickly reminded a national television audience why they’ve been unbeatable.

Moore threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 5 Boise State survived a brief scare on the road with a 45-35 victory over upstart Louisiana Tech on Friday night.

Tech had pulled within 30-28 early in the fourth quarter on Dennis Morris’ leaping catch in the corner of the end zone. The Broncos defense buckled down long enough after that for Boise State to pull away with touchdowns on consecutive drives, the second score coming on Jeremy Avery’s 44-yard touchdown run.

Avery finished with 146 yards rushing, while Titus Young caught eight passes for 110 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown for Boise State (9-0, 4-0 Western Athletic Conference).

Trailing 27-7 at halftime, Tech (3-6, 2-4) made a game of it in the third quarter, starting with Josh Victorian’s first career touchdown on Moore’s third interception of the season. It was an ill-advised throw under pressure that hung in the air for Victorian, who raced down the sideline and cut inside Moore to cap a 75-yard return.

Boise State responded with a 15-play drive to set up Kyle Brotzman’s third field goal on four tries, then Tech’s offense suddenly came to life. It got its first first down in two quarters on the way to a 73-yard scoring drive capped by Ross Jenkins’ 9-yard keeper around the right end to make it 30-21.

Tech’s Matt Nelson then caught the Broncos by surprise with an onside kick that he recovered himself. Shortly after, Jenkins found Morris over the middle for 36 yards to the Boise State 12, setting up Jenkins’ third-down pass to Morris, who leaped to catch the ball over defensive back Kyle Wilson’s head.

When Brotzman missed his second field goal of the game on the Broncos’ next drive, the crowd was going wild, and it appeared the Bulldogs just might upset the highest-ranked team ever to play at Joe Aillet Stadium.

Instead, Boise State put its figurative foot down, forcing a quick punt. Then Moore floated a pass down the sideline to Kyle Efaw for his second 40-yard completion of the game, setting up a 12-yard scoring pass to Austin Pettis to make it 38-28.

Soon after, Tech failed to convert a fourth-and-6 on its own 44, setting up Avery’s game-clinching run to make it 45-28 with 4:52 to go. Tech managed a touchdown after that.

Moore’s three TD passes gave him 27 on the season, eclipsing the 25 he had last year as a freshman.

The Broncos have scored no fewer than 45 points in each of their four WAC games this season.

Still, Boise State could have used a more dominant victory in its quest to prove it is more deserving than unbeaten Texas Christian for a Bowl Championship Series bid.