If there was any doubt these two programs are moving in different circles it was quickly dispelled this afternoon as No. 22-ranked Boise State routed Hawaii 52-16 before a sparse Aloha Stadium crowd of 18,286.
From the opening kickoff to the final snap, the Broncos showed how it’s done with offensive and defensive units that were clearly better than anything the Rainbow Warriors could put on the field.
The loss dropped Hawaii to 4-7 overall and 3-4 in Mountain West Conference play. Boise State is 9-1 overall and 5-1 in league action. This win, combined with Wyoming’s stunning loss to Nevada-Las Vegas, puts the Broncos back into the conference championship picture entering the final two weeks of the season.
For Hawaii, postseason play is still a possibility if the Warriors win their final two games: on the road next weekend against Fresno State and the home finale vs. Massachusetts.
But given how the Warriors are playing on both sides of the football, it might prove difficult even against two teams that are struggling as much as they are at this point in the season.
Up 39 to start the final period, Boise State kept pressing the issue, this time on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien to Thomas Sperbeck. It was the second such hook-up of the game for the two, and Tyler Rausa hit the PAT to make it 52-6 with 14:51 left in the game.
Rypien hit 18 of 22 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Jeremy McNichols added two more scores and 153 yards on 16 attempts. It was the eighth 100-yard rushing game of the season for McNichols. Wideouts Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson had stellar afternoons as well. Wilson caught seven passes for 141 yards and one score. Sperbeck had five receptions for 114 yards as the Broncos racked up 603 yards of total offense.
But don’t forget about the Boise State defense. Hawaii didn’t score a touchdown until early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Dru Brown to John Ursua, who caught it in the back of the end zone to end a six-play, 65-yard drive. Rigo Sanchez added the PAT to cut the lead to 52-13 with 12:05 left in the game.
Hawaii scored again late in the game against Boise State’s second unit, as Sanchez hit a 35-yard field goal to make it 52-16 with 3:48 left. It was the third field goal of the game for Sanchez, who also averaged 49.5 yards on four punts.
Leading 35-3 at intermission, the Broncos kept up the pace with 10 more points in the third quarter.
On Hawaii’s first possession of the second half a fumbled exchange between Brown and Paul Harris eventually led to a 35-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to Wilson. Rausa added his sixth PAT to make it 42-3 Boise State with 12:04 left in the quarter.
Boise State kept piling on the statistics en route to scoring again, this time on a 38-yard field goal by Rausa to make it 45-3 with 6:31 left in the quarter. At this point, the Broncos had 496 total yards to UH’s 176.
Hawaii cracked the scoreboard again later in the period, this time on a 32-yard field goal by Sanchez, his second successful kick of the game, to make it 45-6 with 1:28 left in the quarter. Hawaii had a first-and-goal from the 8, but never threatened to score a touchdown.
The Broncos started the second period the same way they began the first one — with another touchdown en route to a 35-3 halftime advantage.
Continuing a drive that began in the opening period, Boise State ended it with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rypien to Alec Dhaenens as Boise State extended its advantage to three touchdowns. Rausa added the PAT to make it 21-0 with 13:35 left in the quarter. The drive was 64 yards and took 12 plays.
Hawaii picked up a couple of first downs on its next possession, but it ended on an interception that gave Boise State the ball at its own 45. The Broncos wasted little time turning the turnover into points.
Facing a third-and-goal from the 5, McNichols took it in for his second score of the afternoon. Rausa added the extra point to make it 28-0 with 8:33 left in the quarter. The drive went 55 yards on six plays as Boise continued to dominate in all phases of the game.
Dating back to the fourth quarter of the New Mexico game, Hawaii was outscored 90-0 before finally ending the drought with a 25-yard field goal by Sanchez that made it 28-3 Boise State with 3:24 left in the half. The drive was 11 plays for 68 yards, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Broncos.
They responded with a long drive of their own, going 80 yards on five plays to punctuate their dominating first-half performance. Rypien took it in from 4 yards out and Rausa knocked through the extra point to make it 35-3 with 1:07 left in the half.
Hawaii could do nothing with the ball offensively and was forced to punt with 30 seconds left. The half ended with Boise State just missing a touchdown on a Hail Mary pass that was deflected into the hands of Sean Modster, who dropped it.
Boise State got off to a fast start to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
The Broncos took the opening kickoff and quickly moved down the field for the first score of the game. The Broncos needed only five plays to go 84 yards, including a 38-yard run on third down byMcNichols and a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rypien to Sperbeck. The PAT by Tyler Rausa was good to make it 7-0 with 12:40 left in the quarter.
After forcing Hawaii to punt on its first offensive series, Boise State started its second drive at the Broncos 45. Four plays later, they were in the end zone again, this time on a 36-yard run by McNichols on third-and-short. Rausa tacked on the PAT to increase Boise State’s advantage to 14-0 with 8:51 left in the first. It was the third week in a row UH trailed by as many as 14 points to start a game. The Rainbow Warriors lost the first two to New Mexico and San Diego State, and this one to Boise.
Hawaii had a chance to cut the lead in half on its second series, but Brown’s perfect long ball was dropped by a wide open Marcus Kemp, who ran through the end zone in frustration for the missed opportunity. Hawaii went for it on fourth down at the Boise State 45, but failed, giving the ball back at its own 46.
The Hawaii defense held on the next series and took over at its own 13 for its third offensive set of the afternoon, but a quick three-and-out led to Boise State getting the ball back again, this time from its own 36. The Warriors forced a punt, but ran into the kicker, giving Boise a first down at the UH 43 that eventually led to a touchdown in the second quarter.
Brown wound up hitting 16 of 31 for 125 yards and one score. Harris carried the ball 14 times for 145 yards as Hawaii finished with 359 yards for the game. Brown also had 61 yards rushing on 11 attempts.