FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The 10th-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs saw their remote chance for a national championship come to an end Friday night when they let a 14-point lead get away and eventually fell to Boise State, 35-30.
Early-season upsets of Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin vaulted Fresno State into the national rankings. The Bulldogs kept winning -- including last week's 25-22 escape in overtime at Colorado State -- while national powers kept losing.
According to published reports, Fresno State would have been seventh in the first BCS standings to be released Monday. But that was before Friday's terrible tumble on national television.
Looking for all the exposure it could get, Fresno State agreed to a 5 p.m. local starting time to accommodate ESPN. Instead, the Bulldogs (6-1, 2-1 WAC) were exposed.
Boise State (4-3, 3-1) took a 35-28 lead with 7:12 remaining on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Dinwiddie to Jay Swillie, who kept his feet following a collision after the catch at the 25 and sped in untouched.
Fresno State was forced to punt, but pinned Boise State deep in its own territory. On third and 22 from the one, Dinwiddie was knocked down in the end zone by defensive end Nick Burley for a safety.
On Fresno State's last drive, Heisman Trophy candidate David Carr twice scrambled for first downs. His fourth and three pass was deflected, but caught by Charles Smith for a first down at the Boise State 11.
Paris Gaines gained six yards on two runs around an incompletion in the end zone, setting up another fourth down from the five with a minute to go. This time, Carr was sacked by linebacker Greg Sasser and his fumble was recovered by the Broncos.
Dinwiddie, who came into the game leading the Western Athletic Conference and ranked fourth in the nation in passing efficiency, completed 20 of 32 for 297 yards and four touchdowns.
Carr collected his fifth 300-yard game, going 30 of 49 for 345 yards.