#13 Boise State Humbles Hawai'i 27-7

The Broncos started slow but finished strong in improving their WAC record to 2-0 with an impressive 27-7 victory over rival Hawai'ii tonight in Boise.

Quarterback Kellen Moore was unshakable in connecting on 25-of-33 passes for three touchdowns and cornerback Brandyn Thompson had three interceptions in a sterling defensive effort as #13 Boise State downed defending Western Athletic Conference Champion Hawai'i 27-7 tonight in Bronco Stadium. 


The Broncos made a strong statement in the ESPN nationally-televised WAC showdown in running their home field record to 48-1 over the last 49 contests.  The photogenic Broncos are now 26-6 in ESPN games.  Coach Chris Petersen's team is now 17-0 at home when they are ranked in the Top 25.  Boise State also avenged a narrow loss to Hawai'i last season in Honolulu that resulted in the Rainbow Warriors making the Sugar Bowl instead of Boise State.  The defensive gem by the Broncos came just two weeks after Hawai'i put up 32 points on nationally-ranked and highly-regarded Fresno State in an upset of the Bulldogs. 


Hawai'i, whose front seven on defense have garnered a great reputation for their emotion, tenacity and physical play, was unable to rattle or affect freshman sensation Moore, who tied his career high with 25 completions and not only notched his sixth consecutive game of hitting 50 percent but burned the Rainbow Warrior secondary for 75.7% tonight.  Kellen has 20 or more completions in four straight games.  He now has 16 TD passes in six games and 11 over the last four.  


When Hawai'i did get near Moore, he was unfazed and would still rifle the ball for a long gain downfield.  The Boise State offensive line gave their quarterback six, seven, eight seconds to throw the ball time and time again and Moore took advantage, finding eight different receivers during the evening. Vinny Perretta led the barrage with six catches for 82 yards, including a 55-yarder that he nearly took in for a score.  Jeremy Childs added five catches to his total (126 career catches), bringing him just one reception away from the all-time Bronco top ten.  Austin Pettis continued his hot play with a highlight reel reception in traffic and one of the Moore TD aerials, with Julian Hawkins and Ritchie Brockel getting the others.


Jeremy Avery (nine carries for 45 yards) nudged out Ian Johnson (12-41) for honors as the top rusher for Boise State.  Johnson moved to sixth on the all-time WAC rushing list in advancing his career total to 3,789.


The storyline for the Bronco team, however, continues to be the stinging, surging play of the defense.  Thompson had three of five interceptions of Hawai'i quarterback Inoke Funaki, and he would have tied the school record of four when he leaped high in the air and nearly came down with another.  When a Warrior receiver did come down with a catch, they were usually punished with a hard hit from Thompson, George Iloka or Jeron Johnson. 


Johnson and Thompson picked off Funaki on Hawai'i's first two possessions of the second half and enabled the Broncos to take control of the game.  Iloka's star seems to rise with each week and he recorded his first career interception as well.  Funaki was 17-34 but for only 188 yards.  The Boise State defensive line contributed mightily to the success, sacking Funaki five times, by far the d-line's best effort of the season.  The line play up front limited Hawai'i to just 56 yards rushing.  Hawai'i was held to just 288 total yards for the game. 


Kyle Brotzman booted two field goals and set a career-high with an incredible 75-yards punt in the fourth quarter.  Brotzman laid two punts down inside the 20, bringing his 2008 total to four and also hit his 90th consecutive point-after-touchdown.


Daniel Libre was the leading threat on the ground for the Rainbow Warriors with 27 yards on seven carries, while Greg Salas (5-75) and Aaron Bain (6-47) led the Hawai'i receiving corps.


The Broncos reached midseason as one of only nine unbeaten teams in the country (6-0) while Hawai'i slipped to 3-4 on the season.  Boise State travels to San Jose State next Friday in what could be a battle for first place in the WAC with the upstart Spartans.


Report Card:


Offensive Line:  One of the youngest offensive lines in the nation continues to make progress.  They opened holes for Avery and Johnson and their pass-blocking was nothing short of superb.  They need to work on consistency, holding their run blocks longer and getting a stronger push downfield.


Grade:  C+


Quarterback:  Kellen Moore sizzled on national television, showing the extreme poise, knowledge of the game and an uncanny ability to see the field in the heat of the moment.  He did have one fumbled snap to prove he's human.


Grade:  A


Running Backs:  Jeremy Avery had some nice runs, knifing his way through the Rainbow Warrior defense or bouncing off a would-be tackler for a big gain.  Ian Johnson began to charge through the line and drag tacklers with him the way he did his first two years at Boise State.


Grade:  B+


Receivers:  The Bronco receivers caught nearly everything in sight, with only a couple of dropped passes.  They ran good routes and generated yards after the catch.  Their blocking was generally solid, especially when it was a key ingredient to a particular play's success.


Grade:  A-


Defensive Line:  A splendid performance in shutting down the running game and harassing Funaki all night.  The five sacks are the most by a Bronco team in quite a while.


Grade:  A


Linebackers:  The linebackers held their ground and were also a big factor in keeping Hawai'i from piling up big rushing yards.  Darrell Acrey, who week-by-week is becoming a monster at the position, made a thrilling sack and Kyle Gingg made a great tackle for loss as well.


Grade:  A


Secondary:  What more can you say about the Bronco defensive backfield and the job Coach Marcel Yates has done?  Yates has the Broncos prepared each week and they've made a name for themselves with their hard-hitting physical style of play and tonight the five interceptions.  This Bronco group is quite possibly the best secondary ever to play for Boise State.


Grade:  A+


Special Teams:  Brotzman was 2-4 in field goals but brilliant punting the ball.  Doug Martin had a career-high 29 yard kickoff return.  Jason Robinson had two consecutive "Boom!" hits on kickoff coverage and could win the Hammer Award.  The kickoff coverage was probably the best of the season for the Broncos.

Grade: B+

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