Welp. That could have gone a lot worse.
The Broncos faced a banged-up Hawaii defense that had allowed over 250 yards of rushing and walked into halftime with, you guessed it, 59. Which was only slightly worse than Hawaii’s 69 yards rushing.
After both teams traded punts to start the game (Broncos punted their first two series) the Rainbow Warriors broke that stalemate by putting up three on the board first.
Which is actually a testament to the Broncos’ first half defense. They held the Warriors to three points when they were cruising down the field on Cordeiro’s mix of passing an runs (he led both teams with 50 yards rushing in the first half). The Bronco ‘bend-don’t-break’ defense would take that as a rallying point.
The next possession for the Broncos would prove to be “better” in that they showed they could move the ball. Hank Bachmeier hit CT Thomas for a fantastic 55-yard play (after losing five yards on the previous play). The CBS Sports announcers had touted the Broncos’ nation-leading 12-for-12 rate of scoring touchdowns in the redzone. After the Broncos made it to said redzone, two chopblocks (on the same play) would push Boise State too far back to make a touchdown happen. So the Broncos settled for three to knot the game up. Walk-on kicker, Jonah Dalmas would be 4-for-4 on FGs on the season.
The ensuing possession for UH would amount to nothing as the Broncos defense force the second (of four) three-and-out possessions.
The Broncos would travel another 55 yards for, you guessed it, another field goal by Jonah Dalmas.
The Warriors did intercept Hank Bachmeier on a 50-50 ball to Khalil Shakir. Fortunately that possession amounted to nothing for the Warriors.
The Broncos would turn the final two possessions of the half into touchdowns (missing one PAT) and take a 19-3 lead into the half.
Notable: both touchdowns were TO Khalil Shakir, one from Hank Bachmeier the second from, you guessed it, CT Thomas (which was more like a weird shotput).
Opening the second half, the Warriors made an absolute march down the field that took 13 plays, 87 yards to score.
Not to be outdone future Special Teams Player of the Year winner, Avery Williams, housed the ensuing kickoff for 99 yards and a touchdown. Why they even let that guy field the kick is somewhat laughable.
After Hawaii punted on their next series, the Broncos took three plays, a little over a minute, to go 26 yards and score a touchdown. Though you would be confused by that as CBS Sports Network was in commercial for the entirety of the drive only coming back to see Dalmas’ successful PAT to put the Broncos up 33-9.
Of course, that’s when the wheels fall off.
In the first half the Broncos forced four punts in a row. The Warriors were able to take that luck and turn it on its head. Forcing the Broncos to punt twice in succession (after scoring 21 points in the third quarter) and capitalizing with two touchdowns of their own.
The final touchdown came off some very questionable officiating. A holding penalty on a Walker interception. Roughing the passer on Shane Irwin. Both of these calls extended the series for Hawaii and actually helped bring the Warriors back within eight, 40-32.
To wit: the tackling throughout the game by the Broncos didn’t help anything. The tackling throughout the fourth quarter was something to behold, and not in the good way.
What should have been a cruising win turned into a frustrating nail-biter.
The Broncos would get their final possession with 4:52 left in the game. Interestingly enough, in trying to grind the clock down, the Broncos would open with two Andrew Van Buren runs, two and three yards respectively.
Then Bachmeier would hit Khalil Shakir for a 32 yard pass to keep the possession going.
Then follow up with, you guessed, two more AVB runs. Then, to end it, a Hank Bachmeier run on a broken pass play that took forever for the officials to sort out. But, alas, Hank ran for four yards and got the first down for the Broncos to seal the game.