SAN JOSE, Calif (AP) -The past two years, San Jose State has been just a play away from spoiling the BCS dreams of Boise State and Hawaii.
Those losses to the Broncos on a last-second field goal in 2006 and to the Warriors in overtime last season are still fresh on the minds of the Spartans.
Heading into Friday night's game against No. 13 Boise State (6-0, 2-0 WAC), San Jose State (5-2, 3-0) has bigger goals in mind for this season's showdown against an undefeated conference opponent.
``We're trying to compete for the championship,'' coach Dick Tomey said. ``People down here say, 'You got a chance to spoil Boise State's BCS thing.' I say that's the furthest thing from our mind. We don't even think about that. We're trying to compete for the conference championship.''
have a half-game lead over the Broncos thanks to their first 3-0 start since joining the WAC in 1996. They have already won at defending champion Hawaii, and beaten New Mexico State and Utah State.
But now they have to contend with a team that has won 48 of 50 conference games since the start of the 2002 season. While Boise State has often rolled past overmatched competition in the WAC, the last two trips to San Jose have been far from easy.
In 2004, Boise State came into San Jose with an 8-0 record off a 69-3 win at Hawaii to face a San Jose State team that was only 2-6. The Spartans hung tough that day, taking the Broncos to double overtime before losing 56-49.
The two years ago in Tomey's second year in San Jose, the Broncos were 9-0 and ranked 14th in the country when they scored 10 points in the final six minutes to win 23-20 on Anthony Montgomery's 37-yard field goal on the final play of the game. Boise State went on to the Fiesta Bowl that season with its memorable win over Oklahoma.
``It seems like every time we go down there it's a barnburner for whatever reason,'' coach Chris Peterson said. ``They are always tight games, hard fought games. We'll probably have another one Friday.''
That 2006 loss to Boise fuels the Spartans this week as they want to avoid another of those crushing losses, like their 42-35 overtime loss last year to Hawaii.
g back Yonus Davis said. ``We didn't realize that we could beat that team. Toward the end, we let them back into the game which we shouldn't have. We're not going to do that this year.''
The Spartans have shown remarkable improvement in their four years under Tomey, going from a team happy to compete in games to one that expects to win. San Jose State won nine games and a bowl in 2006 before slipping a bit last year.
But with a tough defense led by brothers Carl and Duke Ihenacho and an efficient offense featuring Davis and quarterback Kyle Reed, Tomey feels he has his best team yet in San Jose.
``They just continually get better,'' Peterson said. ``It's no surprise. When he got the job there a few years ago we were all saying 'OK, we know what's going to happen there.' He's as good as they come. He just knows how to coach a team and knows how to win. He knows how to get a program better each year and that's what he's done in all phases of their program.''
San Jose State has been especially tough at home, winning 15 of its last 17 games at Spartan Stadium. The only losses in that span were the near misses against Boise State and Hawaii.
Tomey believes those losses were not in vain and served instead as teaching tools for a team that was still learning how to win.
rters, you have to play all the way, you have to kind of double beat them,'' Tomey said. ``Because they're going to come back if they're behind. It's going to be very difficult to beat. They made all the plays down the stretch to win the game.''
The Broncos' usually high-powered offense has been held in check a bit this year under freshman quarterback Kellen Moore, as their scoring average has dropped from 42.4 per game last year to 32.5 this season.
But the defense has been especially tough, giving up more than seven points only once all season and allowing just 17 points in its past three games.
That's the biggest reason why the Broncos are once again in position to crash the BCS party. They were ranked 12th in the first BCS standings, one spot behind Utah. In order to be assured of a spot in the BCS, Boise State must finish in the top 12 and be the highest-ranked team from outside the six major conferences.
``It just doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot right now,'' Peterson said. ``If we can't go down and do what we need to do at San Jose, we're not even having this conversation next week. We know, any given week if we don't play our best we're going to get beat, and certainly a team like San Jose.''
Associated Press Writer Todd Dvorak in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

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