The Boise State football team plays its first ever game as a member of the Mountain West on Saturday at Hughes Stadium.
And they are already the headliners of the conference, due in large part to their Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback.
Kellen Moore leads No. 5 Boise State into Fort Collins as one of the most decorated players in NCAA history and one of the most feared quarterbacks in the nation.
â€œIt almost looks like he’s playing a video game sometimes,â€ defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said. â€œWhen you try to do something different, he sees a piece move and bang, he’s doing something.â€
Interview requests for Moore were denied by the BSU media relations department, but the numbers speak loud enough.
The 2010 Heisman finalist has 116 career touchdowns and only 23 career interceptions.
He has a 69 percent career completion rate, and has raised that number to 74 percent in his senior year.
Moore holds a head-turning 43-2 record in his career, needing only two more wins to tie former Texas QB Colt McCoy for most career wins.
And now in his final season, Moore has No. 5 BSU 5-0 and poised to crash the BCS party once again with an offense that is averaging almost 41 points per game.
His stats are so staggering that even his coach has difficulty finding any flaws.
â€œIf you just look at his numbers from his freshman year until now, they’ve just always been good,â€ saidBSU coach Chris Petersen. â€œHe has a better command of the system, there’s no doubt about that. For the most part, I think he’s throwing the ball really, really well and putting the ball on the receiver’s numbers and those type of things, but really, with Kellen, we’re splitting hairs because he’s played so good for us for a long time.â€
The question then for CSU is how do you stop this guy?
The easy answer is pressure on the quarterback. But how you do it is key.
Blitzing rarely works on Moore because of his ability to read the defense and quickly get rid of the ball.
Disrupting the offense with the front four defensive linemen could make the difference. Lots of sacks is unlikely; BSU has given up only two on the season, but forcing quick throws without sending extra defenders could allow the secondary a chance to slow Moore.
â€œItâ€™s critical,â€ cornerback Momo Thomas said of d-line pressure. â€œBut I think weâ€™ve got the front guys to do it. If anybodyâ€™s going to do it, weâ€™re going to be the guys that do it. Iâ€™ve got confidence in our d-line. I think theyâ€™re going to help us a lot, getting that pressure on him, trying to make him make throws that he doesnâ€™t want to make.â€
The Rams know that Mooreâ€™s combination of skill and the weapons around him gives CSU its toughest test of the season.
â€œSmart. Accurate. Tough,â€ Fairchild said. â€œYou add all that with experience, heâ€™s been playing for a long time, heâ€™s one of the best weâ€™ll ever face here.â€
_Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _
Kellen Moore Bio
Hometown: Prosser, Wash.
Stats: 12,258 yards, 116 TDs, 23 INTs
Accolades: Two-time All American, 2010 Heisman Trophy finalist