Kellen Moore doesn’t look like one of the greatest quarterbacks college football has seen in recent years.
The Boise State senior looks pretty average. When he stood next to San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley at Mountain West Media Days in July, the towering Lindley was easy to pick out as the future NFL player. Moore probably can walk through a crowd anywhere outside of Idaho and rarely be identified as a football player, much less one of the best in the nation.
But boy, can he play.
The numbers are staggering. He has 21 touchdowns and four interceptions this season, has completed 75.9 percent of his passes and has 1,729 yards. He has 120 career touchdown passes, one from tying BYU’s Ty Detmer for fourth place all-time, and four behind Houston’s Case Keenum for fourth place. With a win over Air Force, he would tie Texas’ Colt McCoy for most wins by a quarterback in NCAA history. He has 44 wins going into this game.
And the Falcons have to somehow find a way to at least slow him down.
“He is special,” Air Force secondary coach Charlton Warren said. “A lot of guys have certain qualities – and he has ‘it.’ He might not be X, Y and Z, but he’s a winner. When you’re a winner and you’ve proven you win and make clutch plays, that makes you a special player.”
What sets Moore apart is his accuracy.
“I told my guys, he can put a ball on a quarter 40 yards down the field,” Warren said. “His receivers don’t have to move out of their body, they don’t have to reach around to catch a ball. It’s his timing, his anticipation of where his receivers are going to be, and his accuracy throwing the ball.”
Boise State takes advantage of any mistakes a defense makes, so Air Force has little margin for error. Warren said he wants his defense to be on top of its assignments, but not to try to do too much – which might put them out of position.
“You have to be fundamentally sound, but you don’t have to be Superman,” Warren said.
Moore rarely makes a mistake, which puts a lot of pressure on Air Force’s defense. The Falcons want to create some turnovers, and as significant underdogs probably have to make some big plays to pull off the upset, but those opportunities might never come.
“You can’t dwell on his success,” safety Jon Davis said. “You just have to work your hardest to stop him from being successful. We have to frustrate him as a defense to mess up his rhythm. He has a good rhythm in every game.”