HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -Steady, efficient and extremely consistent. That's the way Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is described by his coach.
With a 72 percent completion percentage, 1,165 passing yards and only two interceptions against seven touchdowns, coach Chris Petersen's compliments seem like an understatement.
``Whether he has been on the field, off the field, in practice, he just kind of plays his game,'' Petersen said. ``And he has a very good understanding of where his outlet receivers are ... and if he continues to do that, we will feel good about things.''
No. 15 Boise State (4-0) has every reason to feel good heading into Saturday night's game against Southern Miss (2-3).
a Golden Eagles team ranked 97th in total defense. Moore's fast development has made star running back Ian Johnson almost an afterthought. He had 111 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Southern Miss in last year's 38-16 win in Boise.
``They move people around, shift, motion, and they're very, very unpredictable on offense,'' Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. ``They don't lock in on one guy, they don't try to get the ball to one person. They spread it around and do some tremendous things with their offense.''
Moore, a redshirt freshman, has been Boise State's leader.
``I think they might even be a little surprised at how well that kid's playing. He's very talented,'' Fedora said. ``I mean you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg of what this kid's going to do in his career at Boise.''
Moore has a pass efficiency rating of 181.27, which ranks sixth in the nation.
``He has been steady for us in the start and you know he's an efficient player for us and we need him to continue to find open guys and use his weapons,'' Petersen said. ``He's doing what we'd hoped he could do. You never really know till you put the guys in the game. Practice is certainly so much different ... but he's been extremely consistent.''
Moore has a bevy of targets, including leading receiver Jeremy Childs.
na Tech game and is out for the season.
O'Neill had 10 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
``It's a big loss for us. Chris is having a great year and just did so many things for us special teams-wise,'' Petersen said. ``The tight ends are a big part of our offense and on special teams. Losing Chris, his leadership and all those things is a big thing for us.''
It will be Boise State's first trip to Hattiesburg. The Broncos are 24-8 in road games since 2003, and are coming off a 38-3 home win over Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss has lost two straight, including last week's heartbreaking 40-37 double-overtime loss to UTEP.
Moore won't be the only freshman quarterback on the field.
Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis has thrown for more than 200 yards in all five of his starts this season. That's the most ever for a Golden Eagles freshman, not bad considering Brett Favre played at Southern Miss.
``We're proud of where he's at right now,'' Fedora said. ``Overall, he's done a really good job of managing the game, managing the tempo of the offense, putting guys in a position and giving them a chance to win the football game.''
Southern Miss has installed a spread offense under Fedora in his first year and Petersen said the Golden Eagles are much different than a year ago.
uddle style of offense, another one of those.''
Southern Miss fell behind early in last season's game, shifting the offensive focus away from running back Damion Fletcher. But Fletcher is a dual threat now. He has rushed for 680 yards and is the team's third leading receiver.
Petersen says his team should not overlook Fletcher and Davis because of the Golden Eagles' record.
``A very scary opponent,'' Petersen says. ``A lot of speed. A lot of athleticism and it will be a really good challenge for our defense.''
---
Associated Press writer Todd Dvorak in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

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