Hawaii's Nate Ilaoa tried to get past Boise State's David Shields, left, and Marty Tadman during the first half.
UH’s offense shows up
BOISE, Idaho » Boise State came away from last night's WAC opener with two things -- a victory and a newfound respect for the University of Hawaii football team.
The Broncos, ranked 25th in the nation, saw their staunch defense shredded by coach June Jones' run-and-shoot offense to the tune of 34 points and 476 yards. BSU still managed to grab a 41-34 win to earn its fifth consecutive victory over the Warriors.
"I give them a lot of credit," Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. "I think they're a very good team and have very good players. They executed very well. It's a great win because it's over a great team."
Hawaii, which never has won in Boise, started the game in familiar fashion, digging itself a two-touchdown hole against the Broncos in front of a sold-out crowd of 30,642. But unlike past seasons, when the Warriors essentially played dead (remember 2002's 58-31 loss and 2004's 69-3 shellacking?), Hawaii fought back and had chances to pull even late in the game.
"It was a little different from the past Hawaii teams," Boise State linebacker Colt Brooks said. "Usually you get 21 points up and they're done and want to go back to the island or whatever. They stuck through it, they kept fighting with us."
BSU quarterback Jared Zabransky agreed.
"This team didn't give up," he said. "They played hard until that last first down. We put it on them here two years ago and they just folded. That's a big compliment to their coaching staff."
Boise State had all kinds of trouble contending with Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and the rest of the Warriors' offensive weaponry. Hawaii became the first team to achieve any kind of success against a Boise State defense that hadn't given up more than 10 points or more than 263 yards in any game this season. Hawaii had 14 points and 267 yards by halftime.
"He's the best quarterback we'll see and that's not a knock on anyone we play because he is very good," Wilcox said. "The receivers are very quick, their O-line has an NFL center and probably two NFL tackles. But our guys were battling."
Brooks said Hawaii's offensive game plan was the key in slowing down the Boise State defense. The Broncos were confused by some of the adjustments Hawaii made in its passing game -- Brooks mentioned the Warriors adjusted some of their routes and protection schemes.
"Their protection made it hard for us to get to him," Brooks said. "They also switched up some of their routes. It's difficult to play when you're thinking a lot. When you're thinking a lot, it really affects you. We just weren't playing full speed like we usually do."
Hawaii receiver Davone Bess became the first receiver against the Broncos to reach the 100-yard receiving mark. He caught six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Nate Ilaoa also was effective. He ran for 68 yards and caught four passes for 96 yards.
"We didn't tackle well at times," Wilcox said. "Some of it had to do with us needing to be better tacklers and some of it had to do with him being a 250-pound guy with really good feet."
Boise State's defense did make three huge plays -- two fumble recoveries and an interception that led to 18 points.
"That's kind of great resolve and great fight on the part on our defense," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "It can get frustrating out there. They basically have six offensive linemen out there with those backs being that big. It is hard to get to that quarterback, and when you do, Colt can move so well. It can be a frustrating situation."