Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer
LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- No. 19 Boise State got the no-doubt-about-it victory it needed to make a late run up the BCS standings.
The Broncos pounded beat Utah State 52-0 Saturday for their eighth straight win on a near-perfect day for Taylor Tharp.
The Boise State quarterback completed 26 of 29 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns.
It wasn't a bad day for Tharp's teammates, either.
Ian Johnson ran for 110 yards and was one of five players to score a touchdown for Boise State (9-1, 6-0 Western Athletic Conference), which has scored 80 straight points over the last two games since its opponents last scored.
The Broncos couldn't afford a sloppy victory against Utah State (0-10, 0-6) if they want to hold any hope a second straight appearance in the Bowl Championship Series. A loss to Washington in the second week of the season is the only strike against Boise State so far, but even if the Broncos win out a BCS bid might be tough to come by this season.
"Whatever comes to us in the end will be whatever we deserve," Johnson said. "If you go out seeking to impress people, a lot of times you're going to end up short-handed. If people are impressed, they're impressed. If they're not, then we're at no loss because of it."
Bronco fans who made the trip south were slightly outnumbered by Utah State fans, but were still a great deal louder. The rowdy, orange-clad bunch had much more to cheer.
Johnson had his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season despite not carrying the ball once in the fourth quarter. By then the only question remaining was whether the Broncos would complete their second shutout of the season and first on the road in 31 years.
Receiver Titus Young ran for two scores and caught a pass for another and Ia Falo returned a blocked punt 16 yards for a touchdown during a scoring barrage that started on the first drive of the game.
The Broncos' offense has been dubbed "Pete's Poison" for coach Chris Petersen. Boise State ran a little bit of everything and just about all of it worked against the Aggies, who have lost 16 in a row.
"Even if you do figure out everything we run, to run it at the pace and the tempo we run it at, it's just amazing. You can't reproduce that," Johnson said. "It's one of the reasons we are so successful and we can score so many points."
Tharp's completion percentage was second only to Jared Zabransky's school record 91 percent, set last year when he completed 21 of 23 against Utah State.
"He's an accurate thrower and this is a Taylor that we have known about for a long time," Petersen said. "It's awesome to see him in such a great groove."
The defense made it an easy day for Tharp. The Broncos got their first shutout on the road since a 36-0 win at Idaho State in 1976.
The Broncos blocked a field-goal attempt and forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of Jase McCormick, who replaced starter Leon Jackson III in the second half as the Aggies desperately tried to get the offense going.
It didn't work. Utah State finished with 236 yards.
"It shows on the scoreboard and I can't say anything about it," Utah State receiver Kevin Robinson said. "We tried to run and they would stop our run. We'd try to pass and they'd stop our pass. We tried to stay with them, but it just didn't work out our way."
The Broncos led 31-0 at halftime. Tharp was pulled after throwing a 38-yard pass to Young that put Boise State up 45-0 with 53 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Broncos scored on the opening drive, then Falo scored with 8:49 left in the first quarter after Ellis Powers smothered Jackson's punt.
Other than five penalties, the only mistake the Broncos made in the first half was Johnson's fumble at the Utah State 10. But Boise State got the ball right back two minutes later when Jason Robinson stopped Diondre Borel cold after a catch and knocked the ball free.
Tharp completed 19 of 21 passes in the first half, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Richie Brockel that put the Broncos up 24-0 with 7:53 still remaining in the first half. That made up for a touchdown pass to Brockel on the previous drive that was called back because of a penalty.
The Broncos went 72 yards on the opening drive and scored when Young took a counter 8 yards with 10:17 left in the first quarter.
"Titus can do some things so it's always nice to get that guy the ball in his hands with a little space," Petersen said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-11-10-07