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October 24, 2011BOISE, Idaho (AP) No. 5 Boise State survived its first big test of the season Saturday, beating Air Force 37-26 in a game Kellen Moore and the rest of the Broncos' starters for the first time all season had to play the full 60 minutes.
Now Boise State gets a midseason breather with an off week.
The Broncos get some time to heal, ponder their march toward another undefeated season and brace for intensified speculation about their national title hopes and future in some other conference.
There are also some personal milestones for Moore to consider.
With Saturday's win, Moore now has 45 career victories, tied for tops in college football with former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. The Broncos' lefty will have a chance to break the record on Nov. 5 when Boise State (7-0, 2-0 Mountain West Conference) travels to UNLV (1-5, 0-1).
Never one to bask in media attention or take much credit for his team's success, Moore says he'll have plenty of time to reflect on individual records when the season ends.
"When you're on a good team, those things happen," said Moore, whose three TD passes Saturday gave him 123 for his career and pushed him past former BYU standout Ty Detmer for fourth all-time.
But just how good is this year's Boise State team? Tune in on Nov. 12 when the Broncos host TCU, which sits atop the Mountain West with a 3-0 record in league play and fresh off a 69-0 thrashing of New Mexico.
Sure the Broncos are undefeated, boast one of the nation's most explosive offenses and a top-10 defense. They opened with an impressive win over Georgia, which has rebounded and is now 5-2, and knocked off a gritty and determined Air Force team that pushed the Broncos to the final minute - the kind of competitive matchup Broncos Nation was bargaining for with the move up to the Mountain West this year.
But those noteworthy wins bookend a string of easy victories over Toledo, Tulsa and Nevada and back-to-back 50-point plus beatdowns over Fresno State and Colorado State.
"Blowouts aren't realistic," offensive tackle Nate Potter said. "It's not real football, especially when you play a team like Air Force that fights amazingly well and has that type of offense and defense. For us to go out there and compete and not let down is a good sign for the future.
"There are going to be games that come down to the wire, and it's going to be how we respond. Today helps that," Potter said.
So will some time off.
Boise State had several players get banged against Air Force, which used its rushing attack to dominate time of possession and wear down the defense with drives of 17, 11, 11 and 18 plays on at least four scores. During the last one, the Broncos lost a handful of defenders, including key starters, tackle Billy Winn and safety George Iloka. Safety Cedric Febis left during an earlier drive and leading receiver Mitch Burroughs left the game early after taking a pop in the sternum.
Defensive lineman Chase Baker has missed the last two games with a calf strain, offensive linemen Thomas Byrd and Joe Kellog have missed some of the last two games.
Coach Chris Petersen said he was relieved the Broncos didn't get penalized for intentionally trying to slow down the game when his defenders kept falling.
"A little bit embarrassing," Petersen said. "I hope they weren't thinking we were trying to fake a cramp or slow the no-huddle down. I know those kids were exhausted. It was harder than they thought it was going to be."