Lobos brace to tangle with winningest passer in NCAA history
Boise State does not allow its football players to do interviews with media outlets that cover the Broncos’ opponent in a given week, perhaps fearing the athlete might inadvertently provide the opposing team with bulletin-board material.
Certainly, BSU wouldn’t want quarterback Kellen Moore to make the kind of egregious mistake Texas Tech QB Seth Doege made before the Red Raiders played New Mexico on Sept. 17.
Doege went on record that week as saying he thought he and his receivers could have their way with the UNM secondary.
New Mexico at No. 9 Boise State, 4 p.m. TV: The mtn. Radio: KKOB-AM (770)
On Saturday, the Lobos punished him for his disrespect by forcing four incompletions among his 44 passes. Doege completed the other 40, establishing an NCAA record for completion percentage, and Tech won the game 59-13. (Take that, Seth.)
And Doege, as good as he may be, is no Kellen Moore.
The senior from Prosser, Wash., is one of many reasons, but bigger than most, the Broncos (10-1 overall, 5-1 in Mountain West Conference play) are a 48 1/2-point favorite over the Lobos (1-10, 1-5) when the teams meet in Boise, Idaho., on Saturday.
Though the Journal was unable to secure an interview with Moore this week, others on both sides of Saturday’s New Mexico-Boise State game were happy to talk about him.
“He’s the best pocket passer I’ve ever been around,” says Boise State coach Chris Peterson of his star quarterback.
Moore, says Lobos interim head coach George Barlow, is as tough as he is smart. And vice versa.
“(He’s) a competitor, he likes the pressure, and he gets it done in crunch situations,” Barlow says.
“In a lot of situations, you can tell he’s allowed the freedom to do a lot of things on his own. And he does them well.”
In addition, Moore’s statistics and achievements speak for him – in volumes.
His four-year numbers at Boise State read like a bizarre typo: 137 touchdowns, 26 interceptions, more than 14,000 yards passing, a completion percentage of 69.3, an average gain of 8.84 yards per attempt.
Numbers aside, Moore has been the ultimate winner. His 48 victories (and counting) as a starting quarterback are the most in NCAA history.
When Moore came to Boise State as a true freshman in 2007, did Petersen know what he had?
“I don’t think you can predict anybody’s going to be the winningest quarterback in college football,” Peterson says. “… I thought he was gonna be a good player once we had him for a while, but he was obviously better than we anticipated.”
It’s not as if Moore was an under-the-radar kid with no press notices coming out of high school. At Prosser, where he played for his father, Tom, he was the Washington Player of the Year as a senior.
The coach’s kid, Barlow says, plays like one.
“He’s been around the game all his life, and the game has slowed down for him the past couple of years,” the UNM coach says.
Even so, Boise State wasn’t exactly competing with the elite of college football when it signed Moore in 2007.
According to his espn.com recruiting profile from that year, Moore was being recruited only by Boise State, Idaho, Washington, Washington State and Eastern Michigan.
The World Wide Leader’s website ranked him the 162nd best prep quarterback in the nation.
“He lacks speed and athleticism and is not a threat to run the football,” espn.com wrote. “He will have to add bulk and strength to endure the college game. … With some development in his initial mechanics, he can become a solid prospect.”
Five seasons later, NFL scouting evaluations are no less cynical.
Moore, generously listed by Boise State at 6 feet and 191 pounds, generally is viewed as a late-round draft choice.
Still unconvinced, espn.com rates him as no better than the 10th best quarterback available in next April’s draft.
Petersen begs to differ.
“I’ve had the good fortune to be around a few NFL quarterbacks,” says Petersen, who coached future Buffalo Bills QB Alex Van Pelt while an assistant at Pittsburgh in 1992. “I definitely do (think Moore has an NFL future).”
Meanwhile, regarding that bulletin board, it seems the Broncos need not have worried. When available, Moore tends to be cooperative and thoughtful, but reserved.
Last week, at a news conference held before BSU’s 36-14 victory over Wyoming, Moore was asked what he wanted Petersen to remember about him when he’s gone.
“I think one thing we always talk about is just being consistent,” he said on the video, available on the Idaho Statesman’s website. “Hopefully, you’re able to be consistent over the course of time and be a guy that can be relied on.”
There’s consistency, and there’s consistency at a ridiculously high level.
That’s Kellen Moore.
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal