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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 12:05 AM

It took awhile for Boise State to get some distance on the scoreboard from the feisty Toledo Rockets. But, thanks to 465 passing yards from Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore…and softening up help from the Ohio State Buckeyes last week, the Broncos were able to overpower and outperform the home underdog down the stretch.

Let’s check the numbers…

BOISE STATE 40, TOLEDO 15

  • Total Yardage: Boise State 610, Toledo 349
  • Rushing Yardage: Boise State 145, Toledo 98
  • Passing Stats: Boise State 33-43-1-465, Toledo 20-40-1-251
  • Third Downs: Boise State 54%, Toledo 47%
  • Turnovers: Boise State 1, Toledo 2
  • Yards-Per-Play: Boise State 7.5, Toledo 5.0
  • Las Vegas Line: Boise State by 20, total of 60

An awkward game to watch if you’re a football fan. Toledo turned the ball over twice in scoring position with high percentage plays that shouldn’t blow up in your face. They threw an interception on a screen pass…and fumbled on a quarterback keeper around the end. Boise State missed two extra points, and managed to underachieve their yardage most of the night considering what Kellen Moore was passing for. All the rugby punts were ugly. Jamie Farr’s hometown deserved better!

What’s becoming clear is that Boise State has done a great job of recruiting (and building) size and power…but they’ve lost track of recruiting speed! Moore is constantly throwing passes to slow lumbering guys. Rushes tend to go to muscle rather than speed. The days of finesse and razzle-dazzle may be gone. You need SOME speed to take advantage of open areas in the field. Something to watch for later in the season. As is the hunt for a kicker.

The money goes to Boise backers, and those who took the Under. Toledo is definitely an early favorite in the MAC considering their athleticism…and now their battle-testedness. This would have been a nailbiter in the third quarter if not for the miscues. It’s not like MAC teams are going to wear these guys down the way Ohio State and Boise State did.

In Friday’s other college board game

IOWA STATE 24, CONNECTICUT 20

  • Total Yardage: Iowa State 341, Iowa State 342
  • Rushing Yardage: Iowa State 101, Iowa State 111
  • Passing Stats: Iowa State 19-30-3-240, Iowa State 15-36-1-231
  • Third Downs: Iowa State 35%, Iowa State 29%
  • Turnovers: Iowa State 3, Iowa State 3
  • Yards-Per-Play: Iowa State 5.3, Iowa State 4.4
  • Las Vegas Line: Connecticut by 4, total of 45

Though Connecticut was expected to be around fifth best in the eight team Big East, and Iowa State was expected to be around eighth best in the 10-team Big 12…these two teams were seen as close to even in the big picture. The respected Athlon publication had them within four spots of each other this past summer. Vegas oddsmakers were basically saying Connecticut was one-point better on a neutral field with this line.

Well, Iowa State may be better than expected given that this is their second straight outright upset. They stunned Iowa of the Big Ten last week in overtime. Instead of letting down and playing flat this week at a dangerous site, they battled hard all night and grinded out another win.

Both teams were sloppy in the turnover department. Iowa State won yards-per-play pretty handily. Considering this could easily have been a no-show performance for the Cyclones after such a huge rivalry win…you have to be impressed with the result.  

In baseball’s pennant races

*Boston won a huge game Friday Night in Fenway against the team chasing them for the Wildcard spot.  

BOSTON 4, TAMPA BAY 3

  • Total Bases + Walks: Tampa Bay 15, Boston 17
  • Starters: Shields 7 IP, 4 ER, Beckett 6 IP, 2 ER
  • Vegas Line: Boston -135, total of 7.5

This game definitely had a playoff feel to it, with top-of-the-rotation pitchers rather than somebody like Kyle Weiland on the mound. Josh Beckett returned from his ankle injury to throw a quality start. He did allow two runs in the first inning though, and all three Rays runs were up on the board by the third. So, you can’t say he was sharp. He did settle down after that, and managed seven strikeouts in his six innings.

Boston moves back to four games ahead of Tampa Bay in the race for the Wildcard…with only two games left now in this series. The Rays can’t catch the Red Sox this weekend…and TB’s schedule is tougher the rest of the way based on caliber of opposition. Big win for Boston But, far from an overpowering performance with their ace back on the hill.

The win moved Boston back within 3.5 games of first place New York in the AL East. The Yankees lost on the road at Toronto. No position is safe in that division!

*In the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels suffered a bad loss in Baltimore, falling 8-3 to the Orioles even though Dan Haren was on the mound. First place Texas carried a four-game lead into their late finisher in Seattle.

*In the NL West, San Francisco won big in Colorado to temporarily move within 6.5 games of first place Arizona. The D-backs will finish late out in San Diego.

Back with you Saturday in the VSM blog to talk college football. Look for a preview of the Oklahoma-Florida State prime time battle early in the Network Notebook. Other VegasSportsMasters will check in during the day. Another big football weekend has arrived!

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