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Tharp tosses four TDs as Broncos humble Aggies

BOISE, Idaho -- The Boise State offense rolled up more than
600 yards and scored early and often, the defense pitched a shutout
and special teams blocked a pair of punts.

Everything went the Broncos' way Sunday night in a 58-0 drubbing
of New Mexico State.

Just don't call it a perfect performance.

"I have a hard time using perfect,'' head coach Chris Petersen
said after the Broncos (4-1, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) sent
a strong message in their league opener.

"The nice thing is though it was such a good performance. But
there are some things out there to clean up. There always are. Our
guys won't be patting themselves on the back too long,'' Petersen
said.

But there was plenty to enjoy.

Quarterback Taylor Tharp threw for a career-high four touchdown
passes to three different receivers. Running back Ian Johnson
notched 158 total yards and a touchdown.

The first blocked punt, deep in Aggie territory, led to an early
first-quarter score.

And the defense, stung after giving up 526 passing yards to the
Aggies last year, shut down New Mexico State's wide-open passing
game, allowing just 89 total yards of offense and recording six
sacks. Only once did the Aggies cross midfield in the first three
quarters.

"We were embarrassed last year. We had a whole year to think
about it,'' Bronco safety Marty Tadman said about the 2006 game
Boise State ultimately won. "We put a chip on our shoulder. This
makes us feel a lot better.''

As it should.

The Broncos put the game away early, scoring on five of their
first six drives to build a 35-0 lead at the half.

Tharp twice hit receiver Jeremy Childs for scores, the first
when Childs broke open in the back of the end zone to cap a
10-play, 66-yard drive on Boise State's first possession.

Later in
the first, Tharp threw a 50-yard bomb to Titus Young, then in the
second tossed an 18-yard TD to tight end Ryan Putnam.

"It's always important to come out early and set the tone
because we want to put our defense in good positions,'' said Tharp,
who was 19-of-26 for 251 yards and left in the third quarter with
the game out of hand.

The defense also took advantage of an ailing opponent.

New Mexico State (3-3, 0-1) came into the game with the nation's
seventh best passing attack, averaging more than 340 passing yards
per game.

But quarterback Chase Holbrook, a game-time decision due to
tender ribs, got shaken up again on the first possession and left
the game in the second quarter.

His replacement, redshirt freshman
J.J. McDermott, struggled to get any offense going the rest of the
way.

The Aggies mustered 108 passing yards, but were held to -23
yards rushing. McDermott finished 10-of-19 for 57 yards, two
interceptions and was sacked five times and pressured throughout.

"Things kind of fell apart on us,'' said coach Hal Mumme. "Of
course we're better than this. But we've got to get some guys
healthy and back on the field. We had too many guys trying to go
who were beat up and obviously not playing Chase is a big deal.''

The Broncos' 604 total yards on offense marked the first time
they eclipsed the 600-yard mark since 2004. And their performance
against the run was the stingiest since it held Northern Iowa to -5
in 1990.

After the opening score, Boise State converted the first blocked
punt when Tharp hit Childs' on a screen pass. Childs, who caught
six passes for 102 yards, sprinted 25 yards for a score.

Johnson capped the first-half barrage with a 6-yard TD, putting
Boise State in control at the half with a 35-0 lead.

"We're just going to keep getting better,'' Tharp said.
"That's our goal, to keep improving every week.''