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Although Boise State is known more for a high-scoring offense that has helped lead it to five WAC championships in the last six years, the defense is also gaining recognition for the team's quick start this season.
The No. 15 Broncos try to remain undefeated Saturday when they face Southern Mississippi and its prolific offense in Hattiesburg.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boise State –11.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Boise State –11.5 View College Football bet percentages).
Boise State improved to 4-0 for the third time in five years with a 38-3 win over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 1. Kellen Moore was 20-of-28 for 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while D.J. Harper rushed for two TDs.
High-scoring games are the norm for Boise State, which averaged a nation-leading 42.5 points between 2002-2007 while winning five conference championships. This year, the Broncos rank 19th in the country with 452.2 yards of offense per game while averaging 36.0 points.
What's been just as impressive, however, has been the defense. The Broncos have held opponents to 12.3 points per game this season - 12th lowest in the nation - and that number is inflated by a 37-32 win over then-No. 17 Oregon on Sept. 20.
The Broncos allowed 5.7 points in their other three games.
"You don't have to worry about the defense," Moore told Boise State's official Web site. "They're taking care of business. They've been awesome from the first game to this point and you know they're going to get better from week to week."
The Broncos have allowed opponents to convert only 18 of 64 third-down opportunities - ninth-best in the nation. Last week, Louisiana Tech was 5-of-17 on third-down chances, and at one point, Boise State stopped the Bulldogs four straight times after starting first-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
"When our defense plays the way it did today, it gives us a lot of confidence," Broncos coach Chris Petersen said. "Every defense wants to play like that. But these guys have really been backing it up."
The Broncos might have a more difficult time against Southern Miss (2-3), which ranks just below Boise State offensively at 451.6 yards per game.
After opening its Conference USA schedule 0-2 for the first time in its 13 years in the league, Southern Miss is seeking its first win over a ranked team since 2003. It's lost six straight against Top 25 opponents.
"There is going to be adversity," coach Larry Fedora said. "This shows what kind of character we have, what you do when you are down. You either get up and you fight or you don't, and we will find out."
The Golden Eagles are coming off a 40-37 double-overtime loss to UTEP last Saturday. Britt Barefoot kicked a 22-yard field goal on the final play of regulation and both teams scored on a 4-yard touchdown passes in the first overtime. Barefoot hit a 28-yard field goal to give Southern Miss a 37-34 lead, but UTEP won on a 6-yard TD pass.
The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance by Damion Fletcher, who had 34 carries for 260 yards and a touchdown to become the Eagles' all-time leading rusher with 3,654 yards.
The 260-yard effort was the second-highest single-game mark in school history. Fletcher ranks sixth in the nation at 136.0 rushing yards per game.
"Don't say Damion without saying the offensive line because they did a great job," he said. "Damion made a lot of guys miss also, but the offensive line was very solid."
Southern Miss hasn't had a three-game losing streak since 2004. It's facing a ranked opponent for the second time this season after losing 27-13 at then-No. 9 Auburn on Sept. 6 in its lowest scoring game of the season. The Golden Eagles managed just 37 yards rushing in that contest.
The only meeting between Boise State and Southern Miss came last Sept. 27, a 38-16 Broncos win.
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
BOISE ST is 1-0 against the spread versus SOUTHERN MISS since 1992
BOISE ST is 1-0 straight up against SOUTHERN MISS since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
BOISE ST is 1-0 against the spread versus SOUTHERN MISS over the last 3 seasons
BOISE ST is 1-0 straight up against SOUTHERN MISS over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[DB] Cedric Febis is expected to miss 2 weeks - Knee - 09/28/08
[WR] Vinny Perretta left last game, probable - Concussion - 09/28/08
[LB] Derrell Acrey left last game, probable - Abdominal - 09/28/08
[QB] Nick Lomax is expected to transfer. - None - 08/26/08
[RB] Doug Martin missed last game, probable - Hamstring - 09/28/08
[LB] Korey Williams is out indefinitely. - Jaw - 09/30/08
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