FORT COLLINS, Colo. — One of the biggest questions that Boise State faced entering the 2011 season was who would step up as the Broncos’ deep threat with Titus Young gone?

Geraldo Boldewijn seemed like a good candidate, as did speedy juniors Mitch Burroughs and Chris Potter. Sure, senior Tyler Shoemaker was the top returner, but he’s a solid possession type.

“Why not me?” Shoemaker posed hypothetically Saturday after the Broncos’ 63-13 win at Colorado State. “I don’t know. I ask people that all the time.”

Well, the former walk-on and Mountain View High graduate, proved that he can stretch the field with 180 yards receiving on nine catches Saturday. Shoemaker scored on touchdowns of 52 and 62 yards from Kellen Moore.

“He did a good job,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “… I think that helps you when we have a bunch of different guys that Kellen can throw to, I think the nice thing about it is I don’t think Kellen’s just trying to throw the ball to Shoe, he’s trying to throw the ball to the open guy.”

Turns out, Shoemaker was the open guy more often than not, as his nine catches were a career high, and the most by a Bronco receiver this year in a single game.

“On film we had some looks that we knew they played their coverage a certain way against the formations we had, and we took advantage,” Shoemaker said.

In the Broncos’ two previous games, a 30-10 win at home against Nevada and a 57-7 win at Fresno State, Shoemaker had four combined catches for 44 yards.

“Last game, Shoe didn’t get a lot of looks, but at the same time he was ready for this week and knew he would have plenty of chances,” Moore said. “… Good schemes dialed up and great routes by Shoe.”

Shoemaker also accounted for one of the Broncos’ biggest momentum-turning plays — but it came on the ground.

Facing a fourth-and-6 at their own 41-yard line on the first drive of the second half, Shoemaker, the upback on the punt, took a direct snap and ran untouched up the middle, breaking off to the left for a 36-yard gain.

“We needed that,” Petersen said. “We needed to go down and score.”

The Broncos punched it in three plays later on a 14-yard Doug Martin touchdown run, but it could have been bad for Boise State — Shoemaker fumbled when he was hit from behind, but it went out of bounds.

“It feels good, it’s a lot different,” Shoemaker said. “Gotta work on some ball security, obviously.

“We had it coming in from the sideline. It was kind of a check, we had our options to check in or check out of it. They lined up for it and it worked well.”

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