In another weird game in a weird season, Boise State survived on the Island. In a game that couldn’t find its rhythm, Boise State was able to pour on the points late in the second quarter and into the third and do just enough to stop a Hawaii team that refused to quit. The game wasn’t good in a traditional sense, but it was highly entertaining for a game that sure looked like it would be canceled earlier in the week.
Boise State was able to reverse the trend of ever-increasing positive COVID tests. After a warped travel schedule was established the Broncos flew to Hawaii a day late, hung out in their hotel rooms for hours on end, and then made the trek to Aloha Stadium. Factoring in the itinerary changes, it is no surprise that the Broncos got off to a slow start on Saturday night.
Ultimately, even with a slow start and a rocky finish, Boise State was able to overcome adversity and a gutty effort from the Warriors to improve to 4 – 1 on the season and continue their Mountain West Conference dominance in a 40 – 32 victory.
After trading three-and-outs, Hawaii and Boise State traded field goals. The Broncos kicked another field goal (a career long 42-yarder for Jonah Dalmas). The slow start continued until Boise State finally broke the touchdown drought with five minutes remaining in the half. The score came on a beautiful 38-yard pass From Hank Bachmeier to Khalil Shakir:
Bachmeier to Shakir for the much needed TD pic.twitter.com/pDQdJG19eO— Boise Edits (@boise_edits) November 22, 2020
Just before halftime the Broncos struck again on a trick play where CT Thomas found Shakir wide open in the back of the endzone to push the Bronco advantage to 19 – 3 at the half:
Boise State and trick plays.— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 22, 2020
Name a more iconic duo. pic.twitter.com/1aABMJwuwk
The third quarter was filled with excitement as Hawaii scored 14 points and Boise State added 21 of their own. Hawaii got the scoring started with a 13-play 87-yard touchdown drive. The Broncos took the opposite approach. Avery Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown:
After the Boise State defense forced a three-and-out, Avery Williams continued his takeover of the game returning the Hawaii punt 43 yards setting up a three-play drive where Andrew Van Buren ran three times culminating in an 11-yard touchdown (this drive was inexplicably missed on the CBS Sports broadcast).
Hawaii responded with another long touchdown drive, but Boise State finished off the scoring in the third quarter with another 11-yard Van Buren run set up by a 43-yard completion from Bachmeier to Stefan Cobbs:
Beauty by Cobbs. Starting to show that speed ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Y5lpW1Sl5Q— Boise Edits (@boise_edits) November 22, 2020
The Broncos entered the 4th quarter with a 40 – 17 lead and allowed the Warriors to pull with one score with nearly five minutes remaining in regulation. Fortunately for Boise State, Bachmeier completed a 32-yard pass to Shakir on one 3rd and 5 and just barely scrambled for the game sealing conversion on a second 3rd and 5.
Boise State punted on four of their 12 drives, Bachmeier threw his first interception of the year, and the Broncos only managed 127 rushing yards on 3.5 yards per rush against a Hawaii team that gives up 250 yards/game on the ground. Still, given the hectic nature of the week leading up to the game, scoring 33 points on the road is good enough for a solid B. Overall, Boise State gained 408 yards, had a 100-yard rusher, and Shakir was the best player on the field. As seems to be a theme this season, it was a solid effort that left plenty of room for improvement.
The Bronco defense was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Boise State gave up just three points and only allowed the Warriors one drive over five plays. They were as dominate as they’ve been all year. Unfortunately, Boise State gave up 29 points in the second half including touchdown drives of 13, 12, 9, and 8 plays. After giving up 100 yards in the first 30 minutes, the Bronco defense surrendered 294 yards in the last 30 minutes. Let’s give the defense an A in the first half and an F in the second and settle on a C for the week.
Special Teams: A+
Outside of a blocked extra point, the Bronco special team unit was fantastic. Joel Velazquez averaged 42 yards on four punts. Dalmas was 2-2 on field goals and 4-5 on extra points. Everyone was solid, but the reason the Broncos get a perfect mark is because of Avery Williams. The special teams extraordinaire was incredible on Saturday.
On top of a 99-yard kick return, Williams added 72 yards on three punt returns. Williams is having his best year on special teams and should receive All-American honors in this truncated season.
The Broncos host the undefeated San Jose State Spartans at 2:00pm on Fox. The Broncos opened as a 14 point favorite, but the betting markets have moved the line to Boise State -11.