GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's defense held star Boise State running back Ian Johnson to 86 yards on 22 carries yesterday.
Boise gives up WAC title with class
Looking in Ian Johnson's eyes and watching his demeanor, you wouldn't know his Boise State Broncos had just relinquished the Western Athletic Conference football title after a five-year run.
Instead of being despondent, a smiling Johnson looked chipper after Boise's 39-27 loss to Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
"You've got to be able to control what you can," he said. "If you do something great, you can't get too excited. If something bad happens to you, you can't mope. You've got to keep that level-headedness. If you mope, then one or two weeks will go by with you moping and not using that time to practice and improve."
Johnson has been to the party, the same party the Warriors are hoping this victory will springboard them into. It's called the BCS, and it was Johnson who was the life of the party last season with an overtime 2-point conversion run for a huge victory over Oklahoma.
That win didn't crimp his plans to immediately propose to his future wife on national TV. And last night's loss isn't going to stop him from taking a long-awaited honeymoon in Hawaii.
"I still get the girl," said Johnson, who scored two touchdowns, but aside from a 50-yard run for the first score of the game was held in check by the Warriors' defense.
Johnson, who finished with 86 yards rushing on 22 carries, plans to stay here with his wife until Wednesday.
Twice, the Broncos were unable to take full advantage of possessions deep in Hawaii territory, and it turned out to be a killer when they came away with one field goal instead of two TDs.
"No question, it worked against us that we couldn't cash in," coach Chris Petersen said.
There were other things working against Boise. The Broncos tried and failed on a trick halfback-option pass on a key third and 2 early in the fourth quarter.
Petersen may also have abandoned the run too soon, by calling three pass plays (and going three and out) when the Broncos trailed 32-27 late in the third quarter.
"Would I have liked to run the ball more, yeah," said Petersen, whose Broncos were held to a season-low 101 yards rushing.
Johnson had a slightly different take.
"They (Hawaii) kept scoring, so we needed to pass more," he said. "We wanted to continue to pound the ball, like we did in the first half. Try to wear their defense down. But all we could come up with (in the second half) was possession runs of 3 or 4 yards, just to keep the chains moving. Maybe we abandoned our game plan a little too early."
Johnson was highly impressed with the Warriors.
"We already knew that Hawaii was amazing at home, but over the last three years, they've done so much," he said. "I have nothing but respect for them. They have intensity and their fans have intensity. They had this place sold out and they've put together quite a season."