BOISE, Idaho (AP) — D.J Harper rushed for two touchdowns and a dominating defense added one of their own to lead No. 24 Boise State to a 32-7 victory over UNLV on Saturday, the Broncos sixth straight since a season-opening loss at Michigan State.
Harper scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter then again late in the third quarter from 1-yard out to put Boise State (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West) up 32-0 at the time.
Harper rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries and quarterback Joe Southwick was 22 of 30 for 243 yards before heading to the sideline in the third quarter. Matt Miller led Boise State with five catches for 53 yards.
Boise State, in a tie for first place with Nevada, rolled up 394 total yards on offense, but it was another outstanding performance by the defense, one of the best in the nation at forcing turnovers, that helped put the game out of reach for UNLV (1-7, 1-2) early.
The Broncos put pressure on Rebel redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Sherry all day. The Broncos sacked him twice and forced three Rebel turnovers, including a 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown that gave the Broncos a 25-0 lead at the half. On the play, Sherry completed a short pass to Marcus Sullivan, but Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor stripped the ball and Jerrell Gavins scooped it up and ran 16 yards untouched into the end zone.
On the Rebels' previous possession, Gavins picked off Sherry in the corner of the end zone to squelch UNLV's best drive of the half and its best chance at the time for cutting the Broncos lead before halftime. The three takeaways give the Broncos 22 on the season. The defense has also held its last five opponents scoreless in the first half, and Boise State was on track to post a shutout when a mistake by the offense led to UNLV's only score.
Midway through the fourth quarter, backup Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick took off downfield but had the ball jarred loose by Rebel linebacker John Lotulelei. The ball bounced into the hands of cornerback Kenneth Penny, who dashed down the sidelines untouched for the touchdown.
Sherry was 14 of 31 for 71 yards and two interceptions. Bradley Randle led UNLV with 64 yards rushing on 16 carries and Tim Corbett added 61 yards on 16 carries.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.