BOISE, Idaho (AP)—Kellen Moore was his usual, excellent self.
For his brother, contributing to another Boise State runaway was a new experience.
Kirby Moore caught his first college touchdown pass from big brother Kellen and the No. 6 Broncos were sharp once again, rolling over San Jose State 45-7 Saturday for their eighth straight win.
“I think everybody on our sideline had a smile on their face after that play because to get a chance to play Division I football with your brother when not that many guys get to play Division I football—and then your brother is good enough to play and you can then hook up for touchdowns, I think that’s really awesome,” Broncos coach Chris Petersen said. “I think that’s why Kirby came here for those exact situations.”
Kellen Moore finished with three TD passes and ran for another one, and the Broncos stayed perfect at 8-0 and in the hunt for a BCS bid with TCU, the other undefeated team from a conference that doesn’t automatically qualify for the prized postseason games.
“This is what I think: When you get caught up in those numbers and get caught up in the scores of games and get caught up in how bad you should be beating people, it works against you,” Petersen said. “I think sometimes in the first half when it’s not 24-0 in our favor, guys are looking around and fans are looking around and asking, ‘What’s going on?’ That’s not realistic football.”
Moore, who came into the game the nation’s most efficient passer, was 21 of 33 for 278 yards. He now has 24 touchdown passes this season, and the Broncos rolled up 430 yards in beating San Jose State (1-6, 0-3) for the 10th straight time.
Moore’s first was a 61-yarder to Kirby Moore that put the Broncos up 7-0 in the first quarter on the first brother-to-brother scoring pass in school history.
“We emptied out the backfield and we got a little heat,” Kellen Moore said. “But all the credit to him. He made a great play and that was pretty cool.”
With 1:35 left in the half, Moore engineered a six play, 45-yard scoring drive, capped with an 18-yard TD to Mitch Burroughs in the left corner of the end zone, giving the Broncos a 17-7 lead.
One play after the kickoff, Spartans running back LaMon Muldrow fumbled after being hit by safety Jason Robinson, who recovered the ball on the 22 with 23 seconds left.
After two misfires, Moore hit Tyler Shoemaker on a 21-yard pass, then scored on a 1-yard dive on the next play to put the Broncos up 24-7 at the half.
“I think right before half, that was a big swing for us,” Moore said. “We weren’t executing as well as we should have at the time, but we got a couple of touchdowns in there after our defense made some plays and that was a key point for us.”
The Broncos defense, stellar last week in a 54-9 win at Hawaii, held San Jose State to 92 yards rushing, 223 overall and had two sacks.
Early in the third quarter, cornerback Kyle Wilson stepped in front of Jorda LeSecla’s pass and raced 27 yards untouched to the end zone to put Boise State up 38-7.
“Heading into these last few games, we’re definitely trying to turn the dial up and get better as the season finishes,” said Wilson, an all-WAC cornerback who is rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks. “If I don’t get any more picks, but my teammates are taking the benefits, that’s fine with me.”
If there was a bright spot for the Spartans, it was their ability to tighten up their run defense. Coming into the game, the Spartans had been allowing 259 rushing yards per game. But they held the Broncos to 140 yards, most of those coming late with the game out of reach. The defensive line also pestered Moore in the first half, sacking him once and forcing Moore to fumble inside the red zone.
“Credit to San Jose, those guys hit our quarterback more than anybody else has all season,” Petersen said. “So, that’s a little bit of a wake-up call. We’ve got to make sure we protect him better.”
But the Spartans struggled on the other side of the ball.
LaSecla was 10 of 20 for just 79 yards and one touchdown, a 39-yarder to Marquis Avery that tied the game at 7 in the first quarter. But he was ineffective the rest of the way and ultimately replaced in the second half by Kyle Reed, last season’s starter. Reed was 6 of 12 for 52 yards, and he rushed six times for 28 yards.
“We did better than we’ve done this season, but we got to stop the whole team,” Spartans coach Dick Tomey said. “Clearly, we had a chance to be in a really tight game at the half. But we let it slip away right there before the half.”
Austin Pettis led the Broncos with five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, while Kirby Moore had four catches for 80 yards.