LAS VEGAS -- No. 5 Boise State beat UNLV as expected on Saturday night behind five touchdowns from Kellen Moore, but looked little like a national title contender during the first half.
It got better as the Broncos went on to win 48-21.
"We played all right, not spectacular," Moore said after his 46th win, one more than former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.
Broncos coach Chris Petersen said his team would have to do better against next week to beat TCU.
"That's news to me that we threw five touchdowns. We were not clicking," he said.
"It's great. Kellen is a winner," Petersen said. "A lot of guys around here are winners."
UNLV (2-6, 1-2 Mountain West Conference) matched the Broncos' first two touchdowns, but a pass interference call close to halftime set up Boise State's go-ahead score.
Moore, in his fourth year as the Broncos starting quarterback, is 46-2, tops among FBS quarterbacks in career winning percentage (95.8 percent). Stanford's Andrew Luck is second at 85.3 percent (29-5).
"You have a lot of respect for those guys on that list," Moore said. "I'm very fortunate. I'm very fortunate to play at Boise State."
Boise State (8-0, 3-0) pulled away from UNLV during the second half, as Moore found Shoemaker streaking past UNLV's secondary in the middle of the field for a 51-yard touchdown with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
On its next possession, the Broncos faked a punt on fourth-and-8, snapping the ball to J.C. Percy and letting him run 20 yards before he was tackled at the UNLV 31-yard line.
Shoemaker then gave Moore his fifth touchdown, as the fourth quarter began, when he caught a ball that had been deflected in the end zone by a UNLV defender.
During the first half, the Broncos looked nothing like the 41-point favorites Las Vegas casinos thought they were. Two of their three first-half touchdowns were set up by UNLV mistakes.
Early in the second quarter, Boise State blocked a punt and took over needing 40 yards to score. Less than two minutes later, Moore hit Miller for a 30-yard touchdown.
Just before halftime, UNLV was called for pass interference and penalized 15 yards, setting up first-and-goal for the Broncos with just over a minute left. Three plays later, Moore found Miller again for a 5-yard score.
At the break, each team had run 32 offensive plays, but UNLV had 198 yards compared with 161 for Boise State.
UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said he was happier with his team's play in the first half, but it still missed opportunities.
"Certainly (Boise State is) a pretty good football team, and we struggled to keep up in the second half," he said.
The matchup was the first between the teams since the 1970s, and could be their last for a while if Boise State leaves the Mountain West after one year for the Big East Conference.
Athletic department spokesman Max Corbet told The Associated Press before Saturday's game that the school hadn't received a formal invitation from the Big East and hadn't decided the future of its program. He said the school wouldn't be immediately prepared to accept an invite without considering what is best for all its sports.
Linebacker Myles Jack, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, said Thursday he decided to leave UCLA and enter the 2016 NFL draft because he wants to be compensated for his skills.
The tougher tests await down the road for No. 3 Baylor Bears, but coach Art Briles has seen enough of his Bears to know this is his best team.
A decision has been made that Randy Edsall will not be the football coach at Maryland next season, and discussions are taking place about how and when to separate, a source said Thursday night.
Florida State running back Mario Pender has been released from the hospital but could be given a medical redshirt if he cannot return to the field this season.
Tennessee chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has issued a statement amid rumors that alleges coach Butch Jones fought and punched senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during a fall practice session.
With the addition of a few tweaks, UConn football coach Bob Diaco is still planning to bring a rivalry trophy with him to Florida on Saturday when the Huskies play UCF.