Here's how Boise State beat writer B.J. Rains and sports columnist and KTIK radio host Mike Prater graded a 59-37 home win against Hawaii late Saturday night:
Hard to find anything not to like about Boise State's offensive game tonight, aside from the injury to quarterback Hank Bachmeier. The Broncos scored a season-high 59 points, had five different players take snaps and three different players throw touchdown passes. John Hightower continues to see action out of the wildcat formation, and Khalil Shakir had both a rushing and receiving touchdown. It was maybe the best offensive game of the year.
Boise State scored its most points in 18 games, dating back to UConn last season. Loved the creativity (five different players took QB snaps), and three different QBs tossed TD passes (Hank Bachmeier, Chase Cord, Jaylen Henderson). Running back George Holani caught two TDs and added a late rushing score, and Khalil Shakir added two TDs of his own - a catch and a run. Best overall performance all season; only concern moving forward is Bachmeier's health and a running game that didn't completely click Saturday night.
The final numbers are a bit deceiving because of a few touchdowns in garbage time, but this was a mostly dominant performance by Boise State's defense. The Broncos came in with just six takeaways through five games, but had four Saturday night. They had three fumble recoveries in the first half, all of which led to Boise State touchdowns. Khafari Buffalo added an interception on the final play of the game. The Broncos gave up 37 points, but I thought it was a solid game against a high-powered passing attack.
Hawaii was averaging 37 points coming into the game, and the Broncos held the Rainbow Warriors to one score in each of the first three quarters. Hawaii added two scores in the fourth to finish with the most points against Boise State this season - that will definitely bug players and coaches. Twelve different players had between two and six tackles; a solid team effort against a good offensive team.
There wasn't much that happened with special teams Saturday night, which is a good thing. Eric Sachse made his only field goal attempt from 38 yards, and punter Joel Velazquez dropped two punts inside the 20. Not much to mention in the return game for either team. Overall a decent game on special teams. Didn't win them the game, but didn't cost them the game either.
Nothing special here ... Eric Sachse made his only field goal (38 yards) and Joel Velazquez was OK on three punts (42 average, two inside the 20). Limited opportunities in the return game.
I feel much better about the Broncos after this game than I did against UNLV last week. Despite the injury to Bachmeier and the defense giving up 37 points, it felt like the Broncos took a step forward and played a better overall game than they have in a while. The creativity of the offensive game plan was great, and the defense forced four turnovers. Overall a nice job by Bryan Harsin and his staff.
You can see this football team getting better every week, and Hawaii was supposed to be a tough test. Never happened. The offense was creative, and when Bachmeier went down, Cord looked more than prepared. A lot of weapons on offense - and they shared the load Saturday night. Impressed with depth and bench production. Not impressed with 11 more penalties and only one interception (end of game).
Again there's very little not to like from this one. The injury to Bachmeier dampens some of the excitement, but the offensive was clicking no matter who was in at quarterback. The defense gave up 37 points, but 23 of those came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. Boise State has everything still in front of them, and next week at BYU should be another good test. Nice win - one of the Broncos' best of the season.
Boise State, clearly the most dominant team in the Mountain West, played before a school-record crowd of 36,902. Offense is clicking. Defense survived a tough test. The Broncos entered the game ranked No. 14 - and three teams in front of them lost Saturday. All is well with Boise State football ... except for Bachmeier's health heading into the BYU road trip next week.