LOGAN When a Boise State player ritually slammed a sledge hammer near midfield prior to kicking off with Utah State on Saturday, it was just a sign of things to come.
Shortly into the game, the nationally ranked Broncos officially dropped the hammer on the Aggies by scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes early in the first quarter en route to a 52-0 victory in the Aggies' season home finale.
After taking the opening kickoff 72 yards on 10 plays, capped by a Titus Young 8-yard touchdown, the Broncos forced the Aggies to punt, and they blocked it. Ellis Powers scooped in up and raced 16 yards for the touchdown, and for all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Utah State football coach Brent Guy was leery of the Broncos' potent and quick scoring ability and warned his team to watch out for a quick Boise State start. But the Aggies were unable to prevent it.
"I was very disappointed in the way we started the game, played during the game and finished the game," Guy said. "I felt like we got outcoached and outplayed the entire game. They are a very good football team, the best football team we've seen since Oklahoma from top to bottom, including special teams."
Boise State handed the Aggies their first shutout loss since losing to Nevada 42-0 nearly one year ago to the date.
The Bronco offense and defense got it going against San Jose State last week. After the Spartans cut the lead the 14-7, Boise State reeled off 80 unanswered points. Defensively, it was Boise's first road shutout since 1976.
The Aggies (0-10, 0-6 WAC) have now lost a school-record 16 straight games, which is the second-longest losing streak in the nation behind Florida International, which has lost 21 straight. FIU had an open date this week.
Just before the end of the first quarter, the Broncos (9-1, 6-0) added another score a 22-yard Kyle Brotzman field goal to make it 17-0.
By halftime, the Broncos, who have won eight straight games since losing to Washington in the second game of the season, tallied 291 yards total offense to Utah State's 120 and led 31-0.
"They came and frenzied us early just like what happened last week at Fresno, and we could not fight our way out of it at all," Guy said. "We turned the ball over and I said going into the game that turnovers would be a huge factor in this game. We turned it over four times and we didn't get one out of them."
The Aggies, who had just 125 yards total offense in the half, had two scoring opportunities both field-goal attempts. Peter Caldwell's first attempt was blocked, and his 52-yard attempt with the wind sailed wide right.
Boise quarterback Taylor Tharp was 7 for 7 in the first quarter, and finished the half with an impressive 19-of-21 completions for 174 yards, while Ian Johnson added 104 yards rushing.
Tharp played the three quarters and finished the day 26-of-29 for 283 yards and two scores, while Johnson finished with 110 yards in three quarters.
"Our offensive success starts with our offensive line. They are giving Tyler Tharp a lot of time to see things, and he is starting to gain confidence in the receivers," Boise State coach Chris Peterson said. "He is an accurate thrower, and this is a Taylor that we have known about for a long time. It is awesome to see him in such a great groove."
Utah State had the ball six times in the first half, and drives ended with two punts, two field-goal attempts and a fumble inside Boise State territory. The clock expired for halftime on the sixth.
The second half wasn't much better.
On four third-quarter possessions, the Aggies punted each time after managing 26 yards and one first down.
In the fourth quarter, all three Utah State possessions ended on Jase McCormick interceptions.
Utah State tallied just 236 yards total offense to Boise State's 484.
Jackson, before leaving with an injured ankle, completed 7-of-15 passes for 95 yards, while McCormick was 4 of 8 for 57 yards. He led the team in rushing with 32 yards.The Aggies will finish the 2007 season on the road beginning next week at New Mexico State before closing out the season Nov. 24 at the University of Idaho.
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