Boise State hasnt tried a fourth-down play in the past two games after starting the year 0-for-7.
On Saturday, the Broncos tried field goals on fourth-and-goal at the Fresno State 1-yard line, fourth-and-1 at the Fresno State 2-yard line and fourth-and-8 at the Fresno State 19.
Senior kicker Michael Frisina converted the two 19-yard kicks but missed the 37-yarder, which would have been a career long.
Earlier this season, the Broncos failed on fourth-down tries inside the 5-yard line against BYU and New Mexico.
You dont like to be kicking field goals on the 1, but we just felt like it was going to be that type of game, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. Our defense was playing really well. We need to take the points.
Petersen said he will make fourth-down calls based on the flow of the game and short-yardage situations. The Broncos were 4-of-12 on third down and the fourth-and-goal followed two failed attempts to run it in from the 1.
Its going to be based on the defense that were seeing and what we think of the matchups, he said.
THEY LIKE FRESNO
Boise State senior tailback D.J. Harper and junior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn continued their trend of putting up big numbers against the Bulldogs.
Harper (122 rushing yards, TD) topped 100 yards for the third time in five games against Fresno State. He has rushed for six touchdowns in the rivalry one-fifth of his career total (30) including at least one in each game. He also rushed for 100 yards in 2007 (153) and 2009 (107).
Boldewijn made three catches for 37 yards and a TD (the third of his career, with the other two coming last year at Fresno State).
GOING DEEP OFTEN
Boise State threw at least five deep balls resulting in three incompletions, an interception and a pass-interference penalty.
And weve been working on it, we really have, Petersen said. It would really be nice if Aaron (Burks) could have come down with that deep ball. I know we got pass interference, but were not looking for pass interference. Were looking for a guy to go make a play. Its low percentage. Thats why you dont throw a whole bunch of them. But we have to hit some of those deep-shot passes or its going to be too hard of sledding for us.
Quarterback Joe Southwick said the Broncos wanted to throw deep because the Bulldogs safeties liked to get involved in stopping the run.
We tried exploiting that, he said. We definitely need to hit one. There were a lot of (pass-interference infractions), too. They werent even looking at the ball, some of the guys.
Southwick was particularly upset that a pass-interference flag was picked up in the fourth quarter because the officials determined the throw to Dallas Burroughs was uncatchable.
I cant wait to see it on film, Southwick said. I was a little hot about that one.
Boise State has held its opponent without a point in the first half of four straight games against BYU, New Mexico, Southern Miss and Fresno State.
It also held Fresno State without a first-half point for the third straight year.
The Bulldogs, in fact, hadnt scored a point on offense against the Broncos in 176 minutes, 15 seconds until they kicked a field goal late in the third quarter. They were shut out in 2010 and only scored on a punt return in 2011.
TOO MANY PENALTIES
Fresno State finished with nine penalties for 85 yards, including five that gave Boise State first downs. The most costly was a high hit on Southwick that erased an interception and led to a field goal.
Boise State only had one penalty in the first half but finished with six for 60 yards.
Take away all the penalties, take away all of the mental mistakes and mental lapses, and we have a different outcome we believe, Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas said. Those guys are good over there. They executed and outplayed us and they found a way to win the game. We just know that we could play better.
Boise State forced two turnovers Saturday an interception by senior nickel Dextrell Simmons and a fumble forced by sophomore end Demarcus Lawrence and recovered by senior tackle Mike Atkinson. That gives the Broncos 19 takeaways this season.
Fresno State got one turnover an interception by safety Derron Smith. That gives the Bulldogs 19, too. Fresno State was leading the nation going into the game.
Fresno State wide receiver Josh Harper and defensive end Anthony Williams, both starters, missed the game with injuries. Boise States captains were Southwick, Harper and linebackers Tommy Smith and Blake Renaud. Boise State tight end Hayden Plinke returned to action. Tailback Drew Wright and offensive lineman Jake Broyles have practiced and were in uniform but didnt play. Third-string quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, who didnt make the trip to Southern Miss, was in uniform. Petersen turned 48 on Saturday.