Quarterback Cole McDonald and Hawai’i came to Boise averaging 37 points a game, and they left Boise with exactly that in the Broncos’ 59-37 victory. The No.14 Broncos routed the Rainbow Warriors in front of a sold-out stadium of 36,902 fans, their first home sellout since the 2015 game against Washington.
“(There could be) 20,000, 100,000 (fans), we feel it,” said STUD Curtis Weaver. “We feel Bronco nation. We appreciate them and we support them too.”
The Broncos’ offense looked like they have finally found their rhythm. In the second quarter, the Broncos scored 17 points, which is a season-high for points in a quarter. The Broncos took a 31-14 lead going into the half.
The Broncos had five different players take snaps in quarterbacks Hank Bachmeier, Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson. Receivers Khalil Shakier and John Hightower also got their turn at quarterback.
The Broncos had their best first half of the season, but it came with a major loss. Bachmeier took a hard hit to his side in the second quarter on a play where he fumbled the ball, prompting him to leave the game with an injury. Cord relieved him as the starting quarterback.
The 14 points the Broncos’ defense allowed in the first half was the second-lowest Hawai’i has scored, behind their seven points against Washington. The Broncos had three fumble recoveries [safety Kekoa Nawahine, nickel Kekaula Kaniho and linebacker Riley Whimpey], and Weaver forced a fumble.
“Our goal every week is to get three takeaways. So I think we did a good job of doing that tonight,” Kaniho said. “I wish we would have gotten, you know, more interceptions with the amount of times they put the ball in the air, but Khafari (Buffalo) got one at the end. But it was just really good for us to attack the ball and be physical on our finishes”
The second half was just as electric as the first, if not more. The Broncos pushed passed the 50-point mark (59) for the first time since they played Colorado State in 2018. The Broncos ended the night with 518 total yards.
Hightower and freshman George Haloni were making highlight-reel plays all night. Hawai’i did not have an answer for Hightower who finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns. Hightower had three season highs in receptions (seven), receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
When Hightower was on the field, he looked like the fastest player out there. He was constantly able to get behind Hawai’i’s defense.
Holani didn’t have a single touchdown going into the game- he walked off The Blue with three. Two of Holani’s touchdowns were catches. Holani is the first Boise State back to catch a touchdown pass since 2017.
“George is a really good player. We knew that when he got here, we knew that he was gonna light up the field,” Hightower said. “So seeing him do that is really exciting.”
Head coach Bryan Harsin does not think Bachemeir will be out for long, but Boise has solid backups in Cord and Henderson to keep the Broncos on top of the Mountain West. Cord went 12-18 for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson went 6-10 for 82 yards and a touchdown.
“Hank’s going to be fine moving forward here, but those guys are ready to go,” Harsin said. “I think Chase played exceptionally well tonight. Chase has got good command when he gets in there.”
The offense was solid, but the Broncos’ defense still deserves a lot of credit for the win. The defense had three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
The undefeated Broncos (6-0) are back on the road next week to take on rival BYU (2-4). The last time these two teams met up, the Broncos came out on top in a narrow 21-16 home victory in 2017.