12/07 20:34 CST No. 19 Boise State tops Hawaii 31-10 for Mountain West title
No. 19 Boise State tops Hawaii 31-10 for Mountain West title
BOISE, Idaho (AP) --- Jaylon Henderson started the season third string on the
quarterback depth chart. He finished the year by hoisting the Mountain West
championship trophy after being selected the game MVP.
The senior threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in
No. 19 Boise State's 31-10 victory over Hawaii in the conference championship
Boise State (12-1, No. 19 CFP) won its second conference title in three years,
beating Hawaii again this season after winning the Oct. 12th meeting, 59-37.
Henderson's play-making ability sparked a lethargic offense late in the first
half, though he almost didn't get a chance to make it happen.
Hank Bachmeier, the Broncos' starting quarterback who hadn't played since
suffering an undisclosed injury against San Jose State on Nov. 2nd, was warming
up on the sideline to possibly enter the game late in the half.
But that all changed in 53 seconds when Henderson threw two touchdown strikes
of 36 yards each to Khalil Shakir and John Hightower.
"We have a lot of guys that are in that locker room that are just like
(Henderson)," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. "We say all the time is hard
work does not go unnoticed. There's a lot of other good players that played
really well tonight, but this hard work and staying focused and putting in what
you're asked in your role to go out there and star in it, these guys have done
Henderson harkened back to Nick Saban's famous "rat poison" quote when asked
about his mindset of entering his senior season third on the depth chart behind
a freshman and sophomore.
"When people would ask about my feelings of not playing, all that is pretty
much rat poison to me," said Henderson, who transferred to Boise State after
spending a year at Texas-San Antonio and another at a junior college. "At the
end of the day, I'm a type of guy that no matter what the team does, I just
want to go out there and get the win."
After rolling up 518 yards of offense in the first game, the Broncos also
leaned on their defense more in the rematch.
Nose tackle Sonatane Lui, who entered the program as a walk-on, anchored a
Boise State defense that forced two turnovers and had two fourth-down stops
inside its own 5. The senior also earned defensive MVP honors with two sacks,
two tackles for loss, and one forced fumble.
After the game, Lui held up a sign that read, "We want Bama".
"Anyone we're going to play in the postseason would be a great match-up," Lui
said. "We always go to prove ourselves, and whether it's Bama or whoever else
is in front of us, I think we'll definitely show out and go do what we're
supposed to do."
Hawaii (9-5) was making its first appearance in the title game. It enjoyed some
success through the air with Cole McDonald passing for 241 yards, but couldn't
overcome early problems in the red zone.
POINTS OFF THE BOARD
The old adage is that you never take points off the board, but Hawaii bucked
that in the second quarter---and paid a steep price.
Early in the second quarter with the game still tied at 3, coach Nick Rolovich
elected to take a made 21-yard field goal by Ryan Meskell off the board after
an offside penalty moved the ball to the 1. However, Boise State stuffed
McDonald on a sneak up the middle. And Hawaii didn't score again until the
"I didn't feel like field goals were going to win the game," Rolovich said in
defense of his decision. "We needed to be aggressive right there."
Despite the fact that Boise State entered the game behind Memphis in the CFP
rankings and the Tigers won 29-24 against Cincinnati, Harsin made his case that
the Broncos belong in a New Year's Six.
"Look at the bowl games that we played in," Harsin said. "Boise State has
showed up. I would say for those teams, we've played some exciting football as
well, and we've been very competitive, and we've won most of those games. The
big ones, the New Year's Six---we've won all of them.
"I think this conference, this team, and what we were able to accomplish this
season under the circumstances that we had, it's hard to find another team in
the country that's able to say that. You want an exciting football team? The
Broncos need to be in it. It's really that simple."
Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors were denied their first 10-win season since 2010
when they finished 10-4. However, Hawaii has continued to improve under
fourth-year coach Nick Rolovich after suffering through five consecutive losing
seasons before his arrival. With McDonald returning next season along with the
team's top two rushers, Hawaii should be in the mix for the Mountain West title
Boise State: The Broncos might be left to wonder what could've been if they
don't get the nod from the playoff committee for the Group of Five's slot for
the New Year's Six bowl game. The lone blemish on Boise State's record came
against burgeoning rival BYU when sophomore Chase Cord made his first start in
place of the injured Bachmeier and the Broncos fell short, 28-25.
Bowl games to be determined.