UH clicks after halftime
They were 15 minutes that ultimately decided the Western Athletic Conference championship.
With the outcome of last night's showdown between Hawaii and Boise State in the balance, the team that established control in those 15 minutes after halftime would likely leave Aloha Stadium with the title.
In Boise State's previous 11 games, that team had been the Broncos, outscoring its opponents 111-27 coming out of halftime.
That changed last night, and so did ownership of the conference crown.
With a defense agitated by comments from a national pundit and an offense that delivered the decisive blows, the Warriors claimed control of the third quarter and eventually the program's first outright WAC championship.
"When we went into halftime the momentum shifted to Boise and we just calmed everybody down and we just took over," senior offensive lineman Hercules Satele said, clutching a WAC Championship sign.
"We had to prove that we could fire on all cylinders. They were a second-half team, but after those (road wins this season), we're a second-half team also."
Hawaii went into halftime protecting a 19-17 lead and took command by outscoring the Broncos 20-10 in a period replete with momentum swings.
The Warrior defense came out of the locker room incensed after defensive coordinator Greg McMackin played an audio tape of ESPN analyst Mel Kiper's less-than-complimentary comments regarding its unit.
After giving up a touchdown on Boise State's opening possession of the second half, the defense responded by holding Boise State running back Ian Johnson to 8 total yards in the third quarter and came up with a stop late in the period that set up a Warrior touchdown.
"They called us a cupcake defense," said linebacker Blaze Soares, who recorded a key third-down sack that forced that Boise State punt. "We ain't no cupcake defense, we showed it right here."
Said McMackin: "The guys played their responsibilities and played hard. They were throwing the ball a little bit (in the first half) and we made some adjustments in the second half, blitzed more, tried to put more pressure on (BSU quarterback Taylor Tharp) and our guys made plays. It's not schemes, players make plays."
The Warrior offense started the quarter strong, driving 70 yards on its first possession. But Boise State answered with a score, and when Bronco linebacker Dallas Dobbs intercepted a Colt Brennan pass, Boise State took over at the UH 22. The Broncos managed a field goal for a 27-26 lead.
"When they went back down and scored and I threw that pick I just remembered saying, 'This is Boise, there's a reason why they've done what they've done for the last six years,' ' Brennan said. "And if we want to win tonight, it's going to take all four quarters."
Brennan would throw three of his five TD passes in the third quarter, the first two to Davone Bess and Jason Rivers and the last a 38-yard rainbow to C.J. Hawthorne down the right side to give the Warriors the 39-27 margin that would hold up through the wild on-field celebration with the fans.
"I walked to the line and said, 'We've got a touchdown here, block it up. C.J., this is me and you,' " Brennan recalled. "And sure enough, touchdown."
And when the stadium exploded as Hawthorne clutched the pass ...
"There was just joy in my heart," the senior receiver said. "I'm so thankful."