Broncos 52, Hawaii 16
Underway in Hawaii, the Broncos started fast. They only needed two minutes and 20 seconds to drive the ball 84 yards and score on a 35 yard pass to Sperbeck. The pass was pretty good, but Sperbeck showed some freakish coordination and control to track the ball and correct to get in the right position to snag the pass and then get into the end zone. Not to be overlooked, McNichols had an excellent 38 yard run to set up the play.
Which is fitting because as soon as Boise State got the ball back, they were forced into 3rd and about an inch. So, McNichols was like “Okay, I’ll see your inch and raise you another 1,295 of them”. 36 yards for the score!
On the ensuing Warriors posession, Hawaii decided to try and go for it on 4th and 5, but Vallejo read the short pass all the way and instantly came in for the kill. It never had a chance.
On the ensuing Bronco drive, Thomas Sperbeck got the ball on a rush attempt and got about 8 yards before planting and cutting infield for another 7. He got the first down and then some, and just looked really dang good doing it. Unfortunately the drive stalled out after an incomplete pass on 3rd and 18. So it was a lost drive. Let’s be honest though; I just really wanted to talk about Sperbeck’s awesome run...and I’m not sorry.
The Bronco defense did their job and got off the field quickly on the next Warrior possession, but the offense was likewise fairly quickly forced into a punting situation. However, they were bailed out by a ‘running into the kicker’ penalty on Hawaii, and capitalized just a few short plays later on a 6 yard pass to TE, Alec Dhaenens, in the end zone. The Bronco offense, to that point, seemed to be firing on almost all cylinders.
The Warriors got the ball back, and even got that first oh-so-critical first 1st down, but then they tried to get cute with a trick play. Unbeknownst to them, only Boise State is allowed to be such with their play selection, and the pass attempt from a wide receiver was picked off by Chanceller James! The Broncos took over on offense and, in short order, McNichols had a phenomenal 35 yard run to get in the red zone and then finished off the drive himself on a 5 yard run. At that point in the game, McNichols had 147 yards, and was averaging 10.5 a carry.
He’s pretty okay, that guy.
The Warriors were finally able to put a halting drive together, starting with about 8 minutes to go before half. They finally got 3 points on a 24 yard field goal, with about 3 minutes to play before intermission.
Once the Broncos got the ball back, the offensive spark continued and the Broncos got chunk play after chunk play. Wilson had been shaken up on the previous drive, but announced his return with a 32 yard catch. This was followed up by a 36 yard reception for Jake Roh, and the drive was capped off when Rypien decided to just tuck it and run in. Touchdown, Broncos!
The Broncos were actually in position to score again before the half, and went for a hail mary, which was thisclose to being caught by Modster, whilst laying on the ground. *sigh*. Next time....next time.
As it was, the Broncos went into the locker room with a commanding lead, 0 giveaways and both Wilson and McNichols already over the century mark.
The Broncos kicked the ball to start the second half, but after a couple of plays the Warriors were tired of being on offense, so they put the ball on the ground. Durrant Miles fell on it to change possession over to BSU. It took three plays for Rypien to find Cedrick Wilson deep for 6.
Apparently Hawaii's coach, Rolovich, wasn’t satisfied with the effort of his team and made them keenly aware of it at halftime. Shortly after the break he ordered all the benches on his sideline to be taken away, so that his players would be forced to stand for the remainder of the game.
I’m not sure the mind games worked, because after the Broncos got first blood of the half off the turnover, they got the ball back again and went up another 3 points. This time on a 52 yard drive that ended with a Rausa 38 yarder.
Not to be outdone, the Warriors took 5 minutes to grind down the field and get 3 more points of their own—really gunning for that comeback. One field goal at a time!
NO BENCHES, NO PROBLEM.
So, to answer, Boise State put together a quick, 4 play drive for 65 yards, highlighted by a 44 yard strike to Thomas Sperbeck. Which was awesome all on its own, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the hard running of backup RB, Alexander Mattison, on that drive. Actually the prior as well. He didn’t have a ton of yards, but he showed some serious tackle-breaking skills. That kid has a BRIGHT future.
After the Broncos scored again, it seemed they were intent on getting the youth some playing time as a healthy dose of backups were brought in. The Warriors were able to creep down the field and eventually score on them, but let’s not lose sight of the real takeaway from that drive: DEANDRE PIERCE KILLED A GUY!
...seriously. Possibly the most beautiful, textbook, soul crushing tackle I’ve seen all year. It’s almost as though he shares genes with a former Pro Bowl linebacker or something. Keep in mind though he’s a corner, and he still laid the smack that hard.
The Warriors got the ball back and drove down for another FG, and it was only a field goal because Chase Hatada got his big, meaty, D-tackle mitt up to block a pass on 3rd down.
That actually ended up being the final score, as the Bronco backups on offense did move the ball (including an AK-81 sighting!), but never quite put one in the end zone.
The game was an old school, dominant, Bronco win. Points at will and defensive skill. Well, aside from letting the Warriors running back get 145 yards...but the Hawaiii touchdowns were limited to one.
As for the Broncos on offense, McNichols had another 150+ yard game, and finished with a 9.6 YPC. Cedrick Wilson and Thomas Sperbeck both went over the century mark and had one and two touchdowns, respectively. Brett Rypien was extremely efficient, finishing with 18/22 for 338 yards and four passing scores, as well as one more on the ground.
This is a perfect time for the Bronco offense to be peaking, as the news out of Las Vegas today gave a shot in the arm to BSU’s championship hopes: Wyoming lost in triple overtime to UNLV. That means that if Boise wins out, they only need one more Wyoming loss to represent the Mountain Division in the Mountain West Championship Game.
In the meantime, that’s. another. Broncooooo...