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August 31, 2007

No. 23 Boise State crushes Weber State

BOISE, Idaho - Ian Johnson ran for 129 yards and three touchdowns and Taylor Tharp was steady in his first start at quarterback, guiding No. 24 Boise State past Weber State 56-7 on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.

Coming off an undefeated season, the Broncos ran their winning streak to 14 games - the longest in major college football - and even dipped into the bag of tricks that helped them upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last season.

Wide receiver Vinny Perretta, who threw for a score in the Fiesta Bowl, lined up at quarterback on third-and goal from the 7, and ran up the middle for the first score of the game.

Boise State took a 49-0 lead into halftime, scoring touchdowns on their first seven possessions and getting stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on their eighth drive with the second quarter winding down.

The overmatched Wildcats picked up just two first downs in the first half, fumbling the ball away on their next play on both occasions.

Boise State has now won 52 of its last 54 games on its home blue turf.

Tharp, a senior, looked poised, smart and tough, throwing the ball away when necessary and hanging in the pocket to deliver a 53-yard touchdown pass to Titus Young just before getting drilled. Tharp was slow getting up after the hit, and Boise State coach Chris Petersen checked on him with a look of concern as Tharp walked off the field.

But Tharp, replacing Jared Zabransky, directed five more touchdown drives before the half for the defending Western Athletic Conference champions.

Tharp directed another touchdown drive to start the second half, making it 56-0 with 10:49 left in the third quarter before leaving the game. He finished 14 of 19 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson, who scored 25 touchdowns last season to led major college football, sat out the second half. On his longest run, he went around the left side and cut up field, easily accelerating away from defenders for a 54-yard touchdown run that gave the Broncos a 28-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

Weber State, out of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) Big Sky Conference, got on the board with 3:40 left in the third quarter when Jimmy Barnes hit Bryant Eteuati with a 21-yard touchdown pass to make it 56-7.

For more coverage of the Boise State Broncos, check out blue-turf.com.

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