Saturday night’s Mountain West opener between the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-3) and the Boise State Broncos (4-1) was over before the second half kicked off. Head coach Bryan Harsin’s squad raced out to a 49-0 lead in the first 30 minutes of play. The Broncos were firing on all cylinders in Saturday’s contest, in their defense of their Mountain West crown. In the lopsided 55-0 victory, Boise State outgained Hawaii 554 yards of offense to 170.
"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."
As a non-power 5 school, the Broncos were eager to prove to the College Football Playoff committee that they belong in the nation’s elite. Leading 42-0 with less than a minute left in the first half, the Broncos’ defense forced Hawaii’s offense to turn the ball over on downs. With 51 seconds remaining and starting on their own 39-yard line, most spectators expected Harsin’s offense to run out the clock, but the Broncos had other plans. Freshman quarterback Brett Rypien led a 6-play, 61-yard drive, ending in a 15-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jeremy Mcnichols, his second touchdown of the game. McNichols finished with 20 carries, 108 yards and 2 scores.
Rypien had his way with the Hawaii defense, torching the Rainbow Warriors’ secondary for 271 yards and 3 touchdown strikes on 19 of 25 attempts. Rypien’s performance earned him an outrageous 206.7 passer rating, which included fumblerooski type trick play on 4th and 1, where Rypien appeared to fumble the snap freezing the Hawaii defense, where he found a wide open Holden Huff for a 24-yard score. The senior tight end’s touchdown reception put the Broncos up 28-0 with 9:44 left in the 2nd quarter.
"Brett's limited in his experience, but he's playing within the game plan we give him each week," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. "Each game plan has a theme for the opponent we're playing, and he's going out and executing."
The offensive woes continue for first-year offensive coordinator Don Bailey’s unit. In 3 road games this season, the Rainbow Warriors have been outscored 121-0. Senior quarterback Max Wittek exited the game with a leg injury before the half ended, as he passed for just 66 yards, completing just 7 passes out of 24 attempts. His two interceptions in the first half did not help the Rainbow Warriors’ cause.
"We took advantage of the turnovers and put points on the board early," Harsin said. "Those explosive plays and getting into a rhythm and having some tempo shows we can be effective at times.”
The Rainbow Warriors suffered their worst defeat of the year, and according to Chow how do the Broncos stack up versus their previous opponents? "That's a good football team, and we've played some other pretty good teams this year too." Chow said.
The Rainbow Warriors (2-3) will return home for a 6:00 PM HST kickoff versus San Diego State (2-3) for their first Mountain West western division clash. The Aztecs defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs (1-4) 21-7 this weekend.