Fresno State keeps BCS hopes alive with 41-40 victory over Boise State

Dr. Saturday

It's still September, but when you're in a non-qualifying conference, it's never too early to talk about the BCS.

For Fresno State, a team that entered the season as a popular pick for a BCS bowl, an undefeated season would be a must. And to do that, it'd have to beat Boise State for the first time in eight seasons. And it did.

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The Bulldogs went to 3-0 with a 41-40 victory that turned from an epic choke into a great comeback in the span of one fourth quarter drive.

With less than two minutes to go in the third quarter, Fresno was up 34-19. Halfway through the fourth, it trailed 40-34.

But after Boise QB Joe Southwick's sneak into the end zone for the lead -- and a subsequent end-around to wide receiver Matt Miller, who threw for the two-point conversion in the most Boise State of fashions -- Derek Carr led Fresno State down the field in a 15 play drive that took just 3:30 and Joe Quezada scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Boise, now 2-2 after a loss to Washington, had one last opportunity, but turned the ball over on downs.

Both teams combined for a staggering 184 plays, including 100 by Boise State, who ran 60 in the first half. That accumulated fatigue was evident on the Fresno State defense in the second half, which was chewed up for 21 points in seven and a half minutes. Though we'll admit that fumbling a kickoff in the middle of all of that doesn't set your defense up for success.

It's now been two close calls for Fresno State at home in their three wins, but there's a reason the talk of a BCS berth can intensify: the toughest part of the schedule is over. There's always the possibility that the Bulldogs will see Boise again in the first Mountain West title game as the two are in different divisions, but until then, the road is has a lot fewer bumps.

And while beating Rutgers and a Boise team that got throttled at Washington may not be the most sparkling of resumes, an undefeated season can be, especially if BCS conference craziness takes over in October and November. Fresno's not BCS material yet. But if they keep on winning, who knows what will happen.

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