SAN JOSE, Calif. - Boise State barely had enough time and poise to keep its unbeaten season and Bowl Championship Series hopes alive.
Jared Zabransky shook off three frustrating quarters to lead two scoring drives in the final minutes, and Anthony Montgomery kicked his third field goal from 37 yards as time expired in No. 14 Boise State's 23-20 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night.
Ian Johnson ran for 149 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (10-0, 6-0 WAC), who got their stiffest test of the season in a stadium where they've had plenty of trouble in recent years. Two years ago, they had to block a field goal as regulation ended in a double-overtime 56-49 victory.
Boise State faced its first halftime deficit of the season this year, then fell behind 20-12 early in the fourth quarter on consecutive TD passes by Adam Tafralis, who passed for 173 yards and three scores.
But Zabransky, who was 14-of-20 for 181 yards, calmly led the Broncos on a 63-yard drive capped by his 1-yard TD sneak and a 2-point conversion pass to Jerard Rabb with 5:22 to play.
San Jose State then stalled, and Marty Tadman's gutsy 44-yard punt return put Boise State at the Spartans 37 with 2 minutes left.
Zabransky and Johnson patiently moved the Broncos to the 20, and Montgomery's kick split the uprights to send Boise State spilling onto the field.
James Jones caught two TD passes for the Spartans (6-3, 3-2), who came agonizingly close to their first win over a ranked team since beating ninth-ranked TCU in 2000. Still, San Jose State's rebuilding program under second-year coach Dick Tomey gained plenty of legitimacy.
Boise State has two games left against Utah State and Nevada. The Broncos need to win out to have a shot at getting to one of the five BCS bowl games.