HONOLULU In a tropical paradise where its easy to forget your troubles, Boise States football team found the perfect place and opponent to cure any lingering effects from its loss to San Diego State.
Whatever problems existed for a program that has lost more than one game in a season for the first time since 2007 seemingly vanished in the island breeze during Saturdays 49-14 victory against Hawaii.
The offense looked crisp and balanced, rushing for three touchdowns and passing for three more. Deep balls found their intended targets.
The defense dominated Hawaii, teeing off on quarterbacks (six sacks), stuffing the running game (minus-14 yards) and forcing more turnovers (five).
Save for another kickoff return for touchdown you cant leave all your problems behind you the Broncos looked like a team redeemed, refreshed and refocused.
As disappointing as it was losing to San Diego State, I think our team did a great job putting it behind us, showing up three days and working hard, understanding this trip is going to be hard and then coming out and actually proving we can handle it, quarterback Joe Southwick said.
In the glow of the Pacific sun and against an overmatched Warrior team, the Broncos warts disappeared, their flaws were concealed. All that was visible was the bright spots on this years team, the ones youve needed to squint to see many times this year were in plain sight its promising defensive ends, its turnover-machine of a defense, its emerging big-play capabilities with Shane Williams-Rhodes and Aaron Burks, a confident and capable Southwick.
This is the team fans and coaches have been waiting to see.
An ascendant one, one whose young players are taking on key roles, one whose best players seem to be getting better.
We have a rule around here. We only mope around here for about 24 hours, defensive end Sam Ukwuachu said, referencing the turnaround from San Diego State. We knew we had to bounce back. You cant do anything else but bounce back. That was our goal and we did a good job this week. We have to keep playing and getting better.
Unfortunately, as nearly every traveler realizes at some point on their trip across the Pacific, you do have to return home at some point. To face lifes harsher realities. To return to the routine. To see all the things that didnt change.
These Broncos must return to wintry Boise and, eventually, Reno, for two more regular-season games that will determine the seasons lasting moments.
No longer ranked in the Bowl Championship Series Standings, no longer the most talked about BCS-buster, no longer a topic of conversation on Sundays, the Broncos are aware that things are different than theyve been the past few years.
The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, the Broncos likely bowl destination with two more wins, is at the top of their bowl list. Its not a fallback any longer as it has been in the previous two years.
People dont respect us like they used to, Ukwuachu said.
Even if Saturdays rout contained a whiff of that old Bronco dominance, it was just that a hint, a suggestion, perhaps, a promise.
An alluring proposition. An intoxicating feeling. A glimpse of better days. Its what vacations can do for you, its what this one did for the Broncos.
It left them feeling much better than when they departed. Now they need to carry that feeling forward.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph