Oct. 3, 2009
BOISE, Idaho - Quarterback Kellen Moore threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday night but fifth-ranked Boise State needed a strong performance to hold back visiting UC Davis in a 34-16 nonconference football win before 32,497 fans at Bronco Stadium on Saturday night.
UC Davis, which had never played a team ranked as high in collegiate football as Boise State, got a pair of touchdown receptions from wide receiver Sean Creadick and an inspired defensive effort led by safety Danny Hart and linebacker Mike Morales who had 14 and 13 tackles, respectively.
Receiver Austin Pettis had 10 catches for 129 yards and two scores for the Broncos.
UC Davis fell to 1-3 on the season while Boise State, which is enjoying its highest ranking ever, improved to 5-0.
The Broncos never pulled away in the game as UC Davis turned in a highly competitive performance against one of college football's elite teams. The Aggies held Boise State without a point in the first quarter, were down just 13-0 at halftime, and battled back from a 20-3 deficit to 20-10 in the third quarter and 27-16 in the fourth quarter before the Broncos scored a touchdown in the game's final minute.
"They (Aggies) played hard from the first down to the last down and I couldn't be prouder," said UC Davis coach Bob Biggs. "It's not often you walk away from a game and feel like this is something we could really build on.
"I just thought the effort was unbelievable," he said. "I just thought it was outstanding against a really very good football team."
The game was hard-fought from the beginning.
UC Davis played an impressive first half despite trailing 13-0 at the break. The Aggies' defense - spearheaded by linebacker Morales who had nine tackles before intermission - tightened inside the 'red zone' on several occasions including an early goal-line stand.
The Broncos took their opening possession from their own 29 all the way to the UC Davis five-yard line where it enjoyed 1st-and-goal. However, the Aggies' defense stifled Boise State from there, including two straight running plays from the 1 on third and fourth downs. Morales and Hart combined for the first stop while Morales and Kenneth Brown ended the threat.
"Anytime you get a goal-line stand, it's just like running a kickoff back," said Biggs. "You don't get points but you do get 'points' because you're taking points away from the opposing team.
"It's a momentum boost for everybody," he added. "Particularly at that time in the game, I think it was the energy, confidence-booster that we needed to say, 'Hey, we're in a ballgame, they're going to come battle and you know, keep coming, keep coming, keep coming' and that's kind of what we did."
The Broncos had first downs inside the Aggies' 20 three times in the second quarter but twice were turned away with only field goals from Kyle Brotzman, the first from 22 yards and the second from 34. Boise State, taking over from its own 45 with just under three minutes to play, finally took advantage of its opportunities for a touchdown when Moore found Austin Pettis from six yards to help make it 13-0.
The defense came up big again early in the second half when Brown picked off Moore on a long pass at the UC Davis 26 and returned it up the Aggies' sideline to the Boise State 36. The offense picked up five yards, setting up a career-long 48-yard field goal from Sean Kelley.
The teams traded touchdowns over the next three series with Moore hitting Titus Young for a 42-yarder to make it 20-3 and then later finding Pettis for a two-yard score, but only after the Aggie defense held Boise State from scoring five times from inside the 2. A pass interference penalty helped keep the Broncos' drive alive.
In between Boise State's scores was a strong five-play UC Davis scoring drive that began on its own 22, included a 39-yard strike to a wide-open Carter in front of the Broncos' bench and was capped by Denham's 21-yard touchdown pass to Creadick that helped make it 20-10.
Trailing 27-10 in the fourth, UC Davis rallied again, putting together a 13-play, 72-yard drive that featured three receptions from Bakari Grant for 22 yards. Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the Broncos' 3, the Aggies got another scoring connection when Creadick leaped while crossing the back of the end zone to haul in Denham's four-yard TD pass.
UC Davis held Boise State to a pair of three-and-outs in the fourth quarter while picking up a first down of its own during one of its own drives, but the Aggies weren't able to convert any more scores the rest of the way. The Broncos' Doug Martin ran in from the left side with 38 seconds remaining to provide the final margin.
Denham completed 24 of 36 passes for 206 yards, including seven passes for 64 yards to Grant and four passes for 65 yards to Carter. Creadick had four grabs, netting 53 yards. UC Davis was limited to just 28 yards on the ground with Joe Trombetta gaining 18 on eight carries.
The Aggie defense was particularly strong against Boise State's rushing attack, holding it to just 101 yards, less than half the 214.3 it averaged coming in. The Broncos' 386 total yards were also below their 452.8 average.
Hart's tackles were a career-best while Morales - who was just one off his previous best of 15 - had his seventh double-digit game. Defensive tackle Jacob Maxson had a nine-yard sack while six different players had breakups. Brown's interception was the second in as many weeks for the Aggie senior.
Jeremy Avery rushed for 70 yards to lead Boise State while Martin had 41. Young finished with six catches for 83 yards.
UC Davis will open Great West Conference play next Saturday when it travels to face South Dakota at noon (Pacific).