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September 22, 2010

Oregon St.-Boise St. Preview

(AP) -- Facing another non-conference test, third-ranked Boise State can take solace in the fact it hasn't lost a regular-season game at home in more than nine years.

Oregon State is certainly doing its best to avoid another blowout loss on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium.

The No. 24 Beavers painted one of their practice fields blue to prepare for Saturday's showdown in Boise, where they'll try to spoil the Broncos' home opener and BCS title plans.

"It's the moment you've been waiting for," Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers said.

But the Beavers (1-1) already have come up short in one visit to a potential BCS buster this year, losing 30-21 at then-No. 6 TCU on Sept. 4.

Boise State (2-0) may present an even tougher challenge after beating the Horned Frogs in last season's Fiesta Bowl, then running its winning streak to 16 with victories over Virginia Tech and Wyoming this month.

After coming from behind to beat the then-No. 10 Hokies 33-30 at FedEx Field on Sept. 6, the Broncos cruised to a 51-6 victory in Laramie last Saturday, riding 370 passing yards and two touchdowns from Kellen Moore.

A win over Oregon State would only increase talk about Boise State as a national title contender, with few challenges awaiting the team during its WAC schedule.

"People are excited about us," Moore said. "It means people care about us, they think we're playing good football. But we just take care of our business and let other people deal with that."

Coach Chris Petersen, however, is hoping to limit the hype even though his team outgained Wyoming 648-135 in last weekend's blowout.

"We're still a work in progress," Petersen said. "We need to get through a few more games and see what we have."

The Broncos have won 56 consecutive home games in the regular season since a 41-20 loss to Washington State on Sept. 8, 2001.

That streak includes two lopsided victories over Oregon State, which jumped out to a 14-0 lead there in both 2004 and 2006 but still lost each game by at least 19 points. Boise State finished the more recent meeting with 42 unanswered points.

The Broncos' current offense is capable of similar damage behind Moore, whom Oregon State coach Mike Riley called "probably the most efficient quarterback in the country." The left-handed junior is 28-1 with 69 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in his collegiate career.

Riley's team resorted to an unconventional tactic to prepare for the game - the first on Boise State's newly installed turf, which remains the same unique blue color. Oregon State used hundreds of gallons of blue paint to coat a practice field and give its players a chance to adjust.

"We've got them right where we want them if they're painting their field," Petersen said.

The Beavers also likely must improve their defense, which has allowed 453 total yards in each of their first two games. Although Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28 last Saturday, Cardinals quarterback Adam Froman threw for 288 yards and a touchdown while rushing for two more scores.

"We have got to do a better job of containing the quarterback," cornerback James Dockery said. "We've got to go back to work on tackling."

The Beavers also may need another big performance from Rodgers, who ranked 11th nationally in rushing last year. The junior ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns and added a receiving TD against Louisville.

Sophomore Ryan Katz is still getting comfortable as Oregon State's starting quarterback, but he's thrown for four touchdowns without an interception. He may have to carry more of the load if Boise State focuses on Rodgers.

"They refuse to let people run on them," Riley said of the Broncos, who held Wyoming running backs to 17 yards. "So we have to find our balance. We have to be that team that can punch and counter-punch with them."

Oregon State's defense will have plenty of weapons to contain. While junior Doug Martin leads Boise State's running game, Titus Young and Austin Pettis remain Moore's favorite targets, combining for 28 touchdown receptions since the start of last season.



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