It was a wild west shootout on Saturday night, but one team clearly had the better weapons. That was Boise State. The Broncos overcame some early adversity with true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier going down with an injury. But, the Broncos didn’t miss a beat en route to a 59-37 victory in front of a sold out Albertsons Stadium. Let’s take a look at the questions that I had entering the game and how the Broncos did in those areas.
1. How will the Bronco defense respond to the tempo of Hawaii’s offense?
On the surface, giving up 37 points looks bad, and I thought the Broncos would need to keep Hawaii in the 20s. Boy, was I wrong. Hawaii was dominated on both sides of the ball, and the game was well in hand by the third quarter. Hawaii was able to tack on a couple of late touchdowns and two point conversions during garbage time. Penalties are still a major issue for the defense. Hawaii was able to score after a couple of questionable, pass interference calls.
2. Can the Broncos establish the run to set up the passing game?
It wasn’t perfect by an stretch of the imagination, but the Broncos had over 200 yards on the ground with a balanced attack. There were not a lot of tackles for loss and most of the runs went for three or four yards, with an occasional run of ten or more yards. Boise got creative in the run game with John Hightower and Khalil Shakir in the wildcat.
3. Will this be the game where it all comes together? Or will this be the game where the little mistakes become too much?
There were still some needless penalties that cost the Broncos, but this was a complete performance. Don’t let the final score fool you. Boise State dominated this game from the opening kickoff, and the outcome was never in doubt. Zak Hill and Jeff Schmedding called beautiful games, and the electric atmosphere of Albertsons Stadium was too much for this Hawaii squad. It will be interesting to see how this Hawaii squad responds moving forward. The West Division is not as deep this year, and the Rainbow Warriors still have an excellent chance of winning the division.
My Prediction: Boise State 31-Hawaii 24
I really thought this was going to be one of those games where the defense was going to have to win the game for the Broncos. Ultimately, timely turnovers and great field position were the deciding factor. The defense was great for three quarters, and it was the most complete performance of the year for our offense, despite the injury to Bachmeier. I sold the Boise State offense short in this prediction, and I gave the Hawaii defense too much credit.
The Broncos are now 6-0 and bowl eligible for the 22nd consecutive season. The Broncos will travel to Provo, Utah this weekend to take on a depleted, BYU Cougar squad in a rivalry game. You never know what to expect when these two teams face off.