3:05 PM ET, November 23, 2002
Mackay Stadium, RENO, NV
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Despite a 10-game winning streak, Boise State is looking at staying home again for the holidays. And that's fine with them.
Brock Forsey ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) shut down the nation's leading receiver to beat Nevada 44-7 Saturday, wrapping up the Western Athletic Conference title.
For the third time in four seasons, Boise State (11-1, 8-0) could play at its home stadium in the Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 31.
School officials said before the game that a victory might open up other possibilities, including an invitation to the Seattle Bowl. But Broncos coaches and players said afterward they're content to play before the home crowd on BSU's blue "Smurf Turf.''
"There's a huge sentiment on this team to stay home,'' Boise State Coach Dan Hawkins said.
"There's a bunch of seniors that have had a tremendous five-year run. They'd like to finish it out on the blue,'' he said.
Ryan Dinwiddie completed 10 of 15 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos, who recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and blocked a punt on their way to a 27-0 halftime lead.
They held Nevada to 87 total yards in the first half, and 38 yards rushing and 125 yards passing in the game.
Nate Burleson, the nation's leading receiver, had seven catches for 71 yards to set a single-season reception record for Nevada (5-7, 4-4), but the Boise State defense held him without a catch until the third quarter.
Burleson finished with 138 catches -- falling short of the NCAA Division I-A single-season record of 142, set by Houston's Manny Hazard in 1989. Burleson finished with 1,629 yards.
"Our defense has stepped up in a big way all year,'' said Forsey, who leads the NCAA in scoring with 29 touchdowns.
"They've been doing awesome against the run and really shutting down receivers. Those guys got some big turnovers and put our offense in really good position,'' he said.
Burleson broke the Wolf Pack's single-season record of 134 Trevor Insley set in 1999.
Nevada had been hoping to finish with a .500 record for the first time since 1998.
"It's disappointing to end the season this way,'' said Tormey, who completed his third year with the Wolf Pack. "The two turnovers in the first quarter really hurt us. ... It's hard to find any positives. We did a good job covering kicks.''
Boise State leads the nation in scoring, averaging 46.8 points per game. But Hawkins agreed the defense took center stage Saturday.
"They've got a good team and a lot of offensive weapons. For our defense to be able to play like that and shut them out for so long is just tremendous,'' he said.
Forsey had 27 carries in the game and scored on runs of 4, 2, 1 and 38 yards. He left the game in the third quarter after he set the school's single-season rushing record with 1,533 yards, breaking the mark of 1,526 set by Cedric Minter in 1978.
"I had to walk off the field with my boys,'' Forsey said. "That's the kind of record the O-line takes a lot of pride in, because I don't get there without those guys.''
Forsey started the scoring on a 4-yard run in the first quarter. Nicheron Flowers fumbled on Nevada's first play from scrimmage and Bobby Hammer recovered on the Wolf Pack's 27-yard line to set up Forsey's second score to make it 14-0.
Dinwiddie threw a 5-yard TD pass to Jay Swillie to open a 34-0 lead before leaving the game with 3:39 left in the third quarter. Nick Calaycay made all three field goal attempts from 21, 28 and 32 yards.
Forsey is among those who'd like to finish his collegiate career at the Humanitarian Bowl.
"We would like to stay in Boise and get a decent team that will give us a good challenge. We'll just have to see what happens, but I'd rather be at home,'' he said.