Stifling Defense Helps Broncos Crush Hawai'i

The Boise State offense continues to perform at levels not seen since the Kellen Moore Era, continuing to take advantage of the stellar play by the Bronco defense. The two unit combined for a 55-0 shutout over Hawai'i last night.

BOISE, Idaho--Boise State's defense smothered Hawaii like a blanket and true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos pitched a 55-0 shutout last night in Albertsons Stadium.  It was the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams in front of the seventh-largest home crowd in Bronco history (35,907).

Hawaii (2-3), which managed just 100 yards of total offense in the first half against the stingy Bronco defense, finished with 170 yards of total offense.  Boise State registered three interceptions, two by the dynamic duo of cornerback Donte Deayon and safety Darian Thompson and a second half pick by linebacker Darren Lee

Amber Searls, USA Today Sports

Photo Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Deayon and Thompson (shown above tackling Virginia wide receiver Canaan Severin last weekend) continued their individual battle for career interceptions, each now totaling 17.  The pair remain tied for fourth all-time at Boise State, one behind former Bronco great Gabe Franklin (see chart at bottom of story).  Catching #2 Frank Robinson (22 interceptions from 1988-1991) will be difficult, and school record holder Steve Forrey, who had 24 picks from 1968-1970, is relatively safe in keeping one of the oldest records in the Bronco books.

Deayon and Thompson are the most prolific pair of pick men to play together at Boise State since Robinson and Darrin Lyle, who were featured in the same Bronco secondary from 1988-1991.  Robinson had 22 career interceptions while Lyle had 15.  The 37 combined picks are the all-time record at Boise State; Deayon and Thompson are now second with 34.

This season, Deayon has four interceptions to rank seventh in the nation while Thompson's three picks place him at #18; they are the only two ranked in the top 20 to come from the same school (source:  official NCAA football statistics).  

The 170 yards of total offense was the lowest allowed by a Bronco defense since they limited San Jose State to 80 in 2010.  That season, Boise State held four opponents to less than 200 yards.  The 2015 Bronco defense is halfway to that performance, as they also held Washington to 179 yards of total offense in the season opener.

Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hawai'i rushed nine times for 10 yards in the first quarter, and did marginally better with eight carries for 24 yards in the second.  The Rainbow Warriors finished with 82 rushing yards, with the majority of that coming in mop-up duty.  The performance by Steven Lakalaka  in the second half (eight carries for 24 yards on the game) enabled Hawai'i to rush for more yards than any Bronco opponent this season, topping Washington (29 yards), BYU (72 cards), Idaho State (36 yards) and Virginia (40 yards).

The garbage yards allowed in the second half also meant that the Boise State defense gave up its claim of having the nation's #1 rushing defense.  That title now belongs to Boston College with 43.4 yards allowed per game, while Boise State's average went up to 51.8.

The talented 2010 Boise State defense mentioned above finished the season with six games in which they held opponents to less than 100 yards rushing--the 2015 Bronco defense has five such performances in five games.

Boise State's "D" is now ranked third in red zone defense and has allowed opponents to reach the red zone just six times (second in the nation to Duke's 5).  In those six red zone possessions, Bronco opponents have scored just two touchdowns and kicked one field goal.  Boise State is seventh in total defense (260.2 yards allowed per game) and eighth in scoring defense, allowing just 12.4 points per contest.

Amber Searls, USA Today Sports

Photo Credit:  Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports  "Hats off to the defense," Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said.  "Those guys created turnovers, had a shutout.  I thought they played physical tonight; I thought they played fast, they competed."  

In his second start since taking over for the injured Ryan Finley, Rypien connected on 19-of-25 passes in leading the rejuvenated Bronco offense to its third consecutive strong showing.  Boise State (4-1) had 554 yards of total offense on a Hawai'i defense that had limited both #1 Ohio State and Wisconsin to 14 first-half points.  The Rainbow Warriors fell to Ohio State 38-0 and Wisconsin 28-0.  The Broncos went into the locker room with a 49-0 lead.

Running back Jeremy McNichols enjoyed the first 100-yard rushing effort of his career with 108 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.  McNichols is now in 14th place for the most career rushing yards by a Bronco sophomore with 540 (see chart below), and he is tied for second in the nation this season with 10 rushing touchdowns and third in the country in scoring with 14.4 points per game.

Rypien got his team in the scoring column with a 54-yard bomb to Chaz Anderson early in the first quarter. Two possessions later, McNichols powered into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Bronco lead.

"I thought we got into a rhythm; we were able to hit some big shots," Harsin said about his offense.  

On the opening play of the second quarter, Rypien found Thomas Sperbeck, who made a brilliant catch and managed to get a foot down in the end zone before going out of bounds.  On Boise State's next possession, Rypien scrambled to his right and hit Sperbeck with a 51-yard pass play, then on a fourth-and-1, tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Holden Huff on a fake-fumble play.   

Another true freshman, Akilian Butler, scored his first touchdown as Bronco, and with TD runs by Kelsey Young and McNichols, the Broncos held a 49-0 halftime lead, the Broncos' largest halftime lead since they led Weber State by the same score in 2007.

Anderson set career highs with five catches and 95 yards receiving, while the dependable Sperbeck added five catches for 87 yards.

With two catches for 31 yards, Huff passed Del Graven (569 yards in the one season he played tight end for the Broncos--1993) for sixth place on the all-time tight end receiving yards list. Jake Roh also had two catches for 25 yards last night, enabling Roh to pass Dave Deitz (520 yards from 1992-1993) and Jon Cox (514 yards from 1983-1986) into eight place on that same list.

Shane Williams-Rhodes had two nice runs for 25 yards in the game; Williams-Rhodes is by far the school record holder for the receiver with the most rushing yards; SWR now has more than twice the career rushing total of second-place Bronco, Titus Young (see chart below).

Placekicker Tyler Rausa tacked on two field goals; the talented Rausa is now 9-for-10 on the season and ranked 13th in the country in field goals per game and 20th in the nation in scoring with 10.2 points per game.

Since Rypien burned his redshirt against Idaho State, the Broncos have gone on a scoring binge, topping 50 points in all three games in which he has played.

''(Brett) is a poised quarterback and a leader,'' Anderson said. ''Having him under center for us right now is fun, to say the least.'

"I thought tonight we played in that first half our very best that we prepared for," Harsin said.  "I wasn't really happy (with the second half).  I think these guys that have opportunities to come in and play that are in backup positions need to play better.  We have a long ways to go in that area."   

Max Wittek, who started for USC against #1 Notre Dame in 2012 before transferring to Hawai'i, was held in check by a tenacious Bronco front and playmaking secondary.  Wittek completed just 7-of-24 passes before injuring his left leg in the third quarter and making way for backup Ikaika Woolsey.  

''We knew this was going to be a tough game,'' Hawaii coach Norm Chow said. ''But we need to play better. We have to go home and regroup.''

Boise State now must go on the road for its two most crucial games of the season--at Colorado State next Saturday and at Utah State the following week.


Career Interceptions

  1.    Steve Forrey (24) 1968-1970

  2.    Frank Robinson (22) 1988-1991

  3.    Gabe Franklin (18) 2001-2004

  4.    Donte Deayon (17) 2012-current

  4.    Darian Thompson (17) 2012-current

 6.    Darrin Lyle (15) 1988-1991

 6.    Joe Larkin (15) 1971-1972

  8.    Marty Tadman (14) 2004-2007

  8.   Ken Johnson (14) 1968-1970

 10.  Dempsy Dees(13) 1997-2000

 10.  Brandyn Thompson (13) 2007-2010

 12.  Anthony Brown (12) 1988-1991

 12.  Clint Sigman (12) 1972-1975

14.  Rashid Gayle (11) 1992-1995

14.  Korey Hall (11) 2003-2006

14.  Kenny Kuehl (11) 1987-1990

14.  Gary Rosolowich (11) 1974-1976)

14.  Kyle Wilson (11) 2006-2009

19.  Chris Bell (10) 1978-1981

19.  Maury Moore (10) 1983-1986

19.  Wes Nurse (10) 2000-2003

22.  Larry Alder (9) 1978-1981

22.  Gerald Alexander (9) 2003-2006

22.  Greg Frederick (9) 1972-1973

22.  Rolly Woolsey (9) 1972-1974

26.  Julius Brown (8) 2000-2003

26.  Jeron Johnson (8) 2007-2010

26.  Ken West (8) 1974-1977

26.  Clint Sigman (8) 1972-1975

30.  Jamar Taylor (7) 2008/2010-2012

30.  Aaron Tevis (7) 2008-2011

30.  Eric Escandon (7) 1991-1993

30.  George Iloka (7) 2008-2011

30.  Ken McKelvey (7) 1991-1992

30.  Keith Morioka (7) 1987-1988

30.  Rick Woods (7) 1978-1981

37.  Jerrell Gavins (6) 2009-2012

37.  Jamar Taylor (6) 2008/2010-2012

37.  Jeff Davis (6) 1995-1998

37.  Cam Hall (6) 2002-2005

Career Rushing Yards By a Receiver

1.  Shane Williams-Rhodes (540 2012-current)

2.  Titus Young (256) 2007-2010

3.  Kerry Lawyer (209) 1991-1993

4.  Lawrence Bady (154) 2003-2004

5.  Drisan James (124) 2003-2006

6.  Mitch Burroughs (115) 2009-2012

6.  Jay Swillie (115) 1999-2002

Career Receiving Yards By a Tight End

 1.   Kyle Efaw (1,269) 2008-2010

 2.   Derek Schouman (1,009) 2003-2006

 3.   Larry Stayner (937) 1988-1991

 4.   Jeff Lindsley (856) 1985-1988

 5.   Jeb Putzier (824) 2001

 6.    Del Graven (569) 1993

 7.    Holden Huff (531) 2012-current

 8.    Jake Roh (522) 2014-current

 9.    Dave Deitz (520) 1992-1993

10.   Jon Cox (514) 1983-1986

10.   Dave Stachelski (473) 1997-1999

11.   Bernie Zimmerman (469) 1994-1995

12.   Mike Davisson (463) 1996-1999

13.   Jim Brekke (460) 1995-1998

15.   Robby Snelling (427) 1999-2000

16.   Gabe Linehan (395) 2010-2013

17.   Duane Dlouhy (297) 1978-1981

18.   Trent Lundin (280) 2002-2003

19.   Ron Pound (272) 1995-1998

20.   Tommy Gallarda (257) 2007-2010

21.   Chris O'Neill (254) 2007-2008

21.   Sherm Blaser (245) 2004-2005

Career Rushing Yards By Sophomore Year

1.   Cedric Minter (2,403) 1977-1978

2.   Ian Johnson (2,376) 2005-2006

3.   Jay Ajayi (1,973) 2012-2013

4.   Chris Thomas (1,713) 1988-1989

5.   Jeremy Avery (1,286) 2007-2008

6.   Brock Forsey (1,227) 1999-2000

7.   Rodney Webster (1,205) 1980-1981

8.   Terry Zahner (974) 1977-1978

9.   David Mikell (920) 2000-2001

10. Doug Martin (872) 2008-2009

11. Fred Goode (769) 1975-1976

12.   D.J. Harper (641) 2007-2008

13. David Hughes (753) 1977-1978

14.  Jeremy McNichols (540) 2014-current

15.  Ken Johnson (470) 1970-1971

16.  Harry Riener (447) 1972

17.  Eron Hurley (422) 1995-1996

18.  Devan Demas (419) 2013-2014

19.  Bart Hendricks (383) 1997-1998

20.  Donny Heck (398) 2001-2002

21.  Matt Kaiserman (290) 2009-2010

22.  Vinny Perretta (316) 2005-2006

23.  Jared Zabransky (304) 2003-2004

24.  Ron Emry (284) 1972-1973

25.  David Tingstad (235) 1989-1990

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