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September 30, 2006

Boise State looks convincing in win over Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY -Jared Zabransky passed for 210 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score and No. 22 Boise State turned what was expected to be the Broncos' toughest test this season into a blowout, beating Utah 36-3 Saturday.

Boise State (5-0) backed up early speculation about contending for an at-large Bowl Championship Series berth by handing Utah (3-2) its worst home loss in 17 years.

The Broncos scored 33 straight points, gained 398 yards and shut down Utah, which had just 178 yards of offense.

Anthony Montgomery kicked three field goals, Colt Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown and Korey Hall set up two scores with two more picks on a miserable day for Utah's quarterbacks.

Brett Ratliff completed five of 21 passes with three interceptions and Tommy Grady didn't fare any better after spelling Ratliff in the third quarter. Grady was 3-for-6 with one interception.

If this was the Broncos' biggest challenge left on the schedule, they could be on their way to a second unbeaten regular season in the last three years. Boise State went 11-0 two years ago, but so did Utah and the Utes got the BCS berth.

Maybe the Broncos are BCS-bound this time?

After starting slowly, Boise State started pounding the ball up the middle and scored three touchdowns before halftime. Zabransky threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brad Lau, Vinnie Paretta scored on an 8-yard run after a trick play caught the Utes badly off guard.

Brooks added a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown less than 2 minutes later to make it 23-3.

Montgomery added a 40-yard field goal on the opening possession of the third quarter, then after Hall's interception set up the Broncos at the Utah 2, Zabransky made a 1-yard dive for the score.

Zabransky hurt his wrist on a trick play - a lateral to Paretta, who passed it back to Zabransky, who passed it to Derek Schouman to set up Paretta's touchdown run.

Utah's Eric Weddle hit Zabransky after the throw and hurt his right wrist. Coach Chris Petersen was fuming at the officials during a time out as trainers treated Zabransky, who left the game for a play.

Louie Sakoda scored Utah's only points on a 37-yard field goal with 6:08 left in the first quarter.

Ratliff threw nearly as many interceptions as completions and made one really bad decision that gave Boise State a 23-3 lead. He was about to be sacked inside the Utah 5 and got rid of the ball in time, only to have Brooks intercept it and take it to the end zone.

Ratliff was booed by the home fans when he came out after the kickoff and the discontented fans were even louder when his option pitch on third down was behind Darryl Poston, who had to scramble and dive on the ball for a loss of 7.

It was Utah's worst home loss since 1989, when Colorado State beat the Utes 50-10.

For more coverage of the Boise State Broncos, visit BroncoBlue.com; for more on the Utah Utes, visit UteZone.com.

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