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Southern Miss Falls to Boise State, 38-16

Southern Mississippi running back Damion Fletcher dives over Boise State defender Ryan Winterswky for a touchdown in the first half. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller)

Southern Mississippi running back Damion Fletcher dives over Boise State defender Ryan Winterswky for a touchdown in the first half. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller)

Sept. 27, 2007

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Ian Johnson rushed for 111 yards and three touchdowns to lead Boise State to a 38-16 victory over Southern Mississippi on Thursday night.

The Broncos (3-1) scored on their first two possessions of the game and built a 28-3 lead late in the first half before the Golden Eagles scored a touchdown in the final minute.

Southern Miss (2-2) scored again early in the third quarter when Jeremy Young tossed a 23-yard TD to tight end Shawn Nelson, cutting the Broncos' lead to 28-16.

But Johnson answered on the next possession, taking the ball off right tackle to score from 2 yards out to cap a decisive, seven-play, 79-yard drive.

Young exited with an ankle injury on the Golden Eagles' next possession.

Johnson put together his best game of the season, both rushing and receiving. The junior carried the ball 22 times and caught three passes for 80 yards, including a short pass in the flat that he turned up field for 54 yards to set up Boise State's final touchdown.

Broncos quarterback Taylor Tharp was 19-of-27 for a career-high 307 yards and two TDs. His lone interception was in the end zone as Boise State was driving late in the first quarter.

Boise State finished with 506 yards total offense, converted 10 of 15 third-down situations and only turned the ball over twice.

Damion Fletcher of Southern Miss, who rushed for 1,692 yards last season -- 11th best in the nation -- had 83 yards on 21 carries.

Young finished 13-of-23 for 190 yards and one TD, but missed most of the second half after rolling his right ankle on the turf in open field. He returned to the sideline on crutches and his status for the Oct. 3 game against Rice is uncertain.

The Golden Eagles had 318 yards total offense.

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