Let's get to the bottom of this. Kellen Moore has an ideal physique for a quarterback—if that quarterback competed in an adult flag football league. He's listed at 6 feet on the Boise State roster and may very well be that tall, if measured from the crown of the Boise blue ball cap he was sporting last week. He's not very fast. "He runs a sub-five-second 40," says a teammate. "Let's leave it at that." Critics question his arm strength.
Yet this seemingly unremarkable 23-year-old, this laconic, shaggy-haired lefty from Prosser, Wash., this newlywed who looks like the guy at Best Buy trying to hustle two-year warranties, is about to become the winningest quarterback in the history of major college football. If the fifth-ranked Broncos (6--0) get past 3--3 Air Force on the blue rug in Boise on Saturday, Moore will move into a tie with Colt McCoy, who led Texas to 45 victories from 2006 through '09. After a bye week, Moore will likely break the record at UNLV on Nov. 5. What happens in Vegas will make NCAA history.
Even by the prolific standard he has set in four seasons as a starter, Moore had a monster day in the Broncos' 63--13 dismantling of Colorado State last Saturday. In 2½ quarters of work, he completed 26 of 30 passes—including his first 18—for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Boise's 742 total yards set a school record and left the hosts sounding a bit stunned.
"What did he hit—18 in a row?" asked Steve Fairchild, the Rams' coach and former quarterback. "When I played, I couldn't have done that [against] air."
Moore's been doing it for four years. He's the nation's active career leader in pass efficiency (168.6) and completion percentage (69.3) and is second in passing yards (12,596) and touchdowns (120).
What's his special sauce?
"He's just a normal dude who happens to be a football guru," says senior tight end Kyle Efaw.
"It's crazy how smart he is about the game," says Logan Harrell, a defensive tackle at Fresno State. "It seems like he can get himself out of any situation and get the ball where it needs to be."
"He feels the game very well," says coach Chris Petersen, now 67--5 in his six seasons at Boise. "He anticipates better than any of the college guys I've been around. And there's nobody in college football who works the pocket like he does. He slides, he glides, he moves up. He just has a phenomenal feel for avoiding sacks." A tiny silver lining for the Rams: They put Moore down once—just the third sack he has taken in his last 283 passing attempts, going back to Boise's last defeat, a 34--31 overtime loss at Nevada last November.
The Wolf Pack's defensive coordinator, Andy Buh, learned a lesson in the first half of that game. "We tried to fool Kellen with some disguises, and none of 'em worked," he recalls. "It took us a half to realize we were trying to confuse the wrong guy, so we quit and started picking on some other people."