BOISE — Boise State coach Chris Petersen told his team Saturday to “finish this thing with the standards they had set for this program.”
A 45-0 win over New Mexico was one that felt routine for such an accomplished senior class.
The victory Saturday over the Lobos matched the 2009 senior class for the most wins in a four-year span with 49, and a bowl game still ahead.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of big wins — we enjoyed that one just as much, if not more, because it’s your last one,” quarterback Kellen Moore said. “It was very special.”
By anyone else’s standards, Saturday was a big game for the last man honored during introductions.
Of course, Kellen Moore isn’t an ordinary quarterback.
The senior, who received the largest ovation, finished the game 28-of-33 passing for 313 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in 38 minutes of game time.
“He was dead-on — I think the leader of the whole senior class sets the standard, sets the tone,” Petersen said. “That’s about as clean as you can play.”
Moore’s second touchdown pass of the game, to Tyler Shoemaker with 4 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first quarter, broke his own single-season school mark of 39, and was Shoemaker’s 15th touchdown reception of the year, giving Moore’s fellow senior the record. Moore hit tight ends Kyle Efaw and Gabe Linehan for scores in the first and second quarters, respectively.
It was the 16th 300-yard game for Moore, the sixth-best completion percentage in a single game in Bronco history (84.8 percent) and gave him 25 straight games with at least two touchdown passes.
“I think we felt pretty comfortable coming into it, got into a little bit of a groove,” Moore said.
As good as the offense was Saturday, scoring on six of the seven possessions Moore had, the defense put up just as strong of a performance.
With seniors comprising 10 of the 11 starters, the defense held New Mexico to 197 yards of offense and posted the Broncos’ first shutout of the season.
“It meant a lot to us,” said senior safety Cedric Febis, who added that anything less than a shutout would be unacceptable. “We’re a very, very, very good senior class. It meant a lot for us to go out with a bang — and that’s what we did.”
The Broncos’ special teams pinned the Lobos deep early, and the defense kept them cornered, as the Boise State offense had the ball at midfield or in New Mexico territory on its first three possessions.
New Mexico (1-11, 1-6 MWC) managed just eight first downs in the loss and allowed the Lobos to convert just 3-of-15 third downs.
“It was a remarkable game for everybody — offense, defense and special teams,” said senior running back Doug Martin, who ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns for the seventh-ranked Broncos (11-1, 6-1). “We’re glad we could send out our seniors on a good note … it’s kinda normal for us.”
Now the Broncos must await their bowl fate, which could be the Las Vegas Bowl against a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team or possibly that seemingly unobtainable goal just a few weeks ago — the BCS.
In the meanwhile, Boise State’s coach will simply revel in what his crop of seniors has done, and how it will challenge his future teams to match the incredible output.
“These guys might have a chance to win 50 games,” Petersen said. “Those expectations are totally unrealistic, you don’t expect anybody to do that, and that’s what they’ve done. That’s what the standards are now for this program.”