Quarterback Jaylon Henderson started the season as the Broncos’ third-string quarterback, but as the season ended on The Blue, he was sitting at the Mountain West Championship podium, humbly thanking God for his opportunity to start.
“Hard work does not go unnoticed,” said head coach Bryan Harsin about Henderson earning the right to start and nose tackle Sonotani Lui walking on.
After falling to Fresno State in the 2018 Mountain West Championship game, the Broncos got to take back the trophy after routing the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 31-10. Henderson won offensive MVP for completing 20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and Lui took home the defensive MVP crown following a dominant performance.
The first half was quiet for both teams. Hawaii’s kicker Ryan Meskell connected on a field goal, and Boise State kicker Eric Sachse answered with one of his own 30 seconds before the conclusion of the first quarter. With a little over a minute to go in the half, the Broncos’ offense heated up.
Boise State’s first touchdown of the game came with 1:07 left in the half when Henderson completed a 36-yard pass to Khalil Shakir. After the Broncos’ defense forced Hawaii to punt, it only took Henderson and the offense three plays to find the endzone again, putting the Broncos ahead 17-3 at the half.
The Broncos’ offensive and defensive domination continued into the second half, holdingHawaii to 10 points. The strong defensive performance was led by Lui who had a strip-sack in the third quarter and accounted for five total tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss.
“We’re able to accomplish things because everyone works together well as a unit, and that’s the best part,” Lui said. “Like when I went for that strip-sack, and Demitri [Washington] and Curtis [Weaver] were playing some really good defense and kept [Cole McDonald] in the pocket.”
The Broncos scored two more times in the second half, and Henderson once again proved that he deserved the starting spot. Henderson’s stat line was impressive, but his most impressive play came in the third quarter when he flew into the endzone, extending his arms for a fourth-down touchdown.
“No matter what the team does, I just want to go out there and get the win,” Henderson said. “Whether that’s another person going out there and starting, or myself or anybody else, as long as we get the win, I’m happy.”
The Broncos were causing problems for Hawaii all game, but the Rainbow Warriors’ biggest struggle may have been penalties. By the start of the fourth quarter, Hawaii had already accumulated eight penalties.
Interestingly enough, Boise State had three different people take snaps at quarterback, but only one actually plays the quarterback position: Henderson. Shakir completed one pass for eight yards and John Hightower went 0-1 on completions as quarterback. Quarterbacks Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord did not see the field.
Following the Broncos’ rout of Hawaii, they will head to Las Vegas to take on the University of Washington Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl to cap off the 2019 season.
“We’ll take anyone, any place in any bowl game,” Lui said during the trophy presentation. “That’s the mentality.”