HONOLULU — After all the historic highs, the Chris Petersen Era of Boise State football ended with a series of lows.
Oregon State stuffed Boise State into its worst first-half deficit in 15 years Tuesday night at Aloha Stadium and won the Hawaii Bowl 38-23.
The Broncos, who were 92-12 under Petersen and 0-1 under interim coach Bob Gregory, finished this season 8-5.
Its their first five-loss season since 1998 (6-5), fewest wins since 2001 (8-4) and first season without a bowl win or conference title since 2007 (10-3).
Their four-game bowl winning streak and five-year run of beating at least one Pac-12 team ended, too.
We went 8-5 this year, and were not used to that, Boise State junior wide receiver Matt Miller said. This program expects perfection, and were striving for that every day.
Oregon State snapped a five-game losing streak to finish 7-6. The Beavers scored touchdowns on three of their four red-zone possessions, and their only turnover was on a pass in the closing seconds of the first half.
It had been awhile since wed won but this team never quit, coach Mike Riley said. We went through quite a bit of adversity through the year, and had some clunkers and some good football ... but we won it today and feel really good about it.
The Broncos outgained the Beavers 538-454, topped them in first downs 28-22 and entered the red zone on four of their five second-half drives.
But they fell into a 38-6 hole thanks to a series of blunders, including two fumbles returned for touchdowns. They trailed 31-6 at halftime the programs worst first half since a 42-0 debacle in 1998 at Louisiana Tech.
You just cant overcome those (turnovers), Gregory said. I dont think our guys gave up. I think they played their fannies off for four quarters. We did not make the plays that we should have made.
The game capped a wild month for the Broncos, who lost their coach to Washington on Dec. 6 and senior quarterback Joe Southwick to a team-rules violation on Friday.
Still, players and coaches said the focus was there.
The execution was not.
There were a lot of distractions for us, but we have a resilient group of guys. I felt we were focused coming into the game, said Miller, the team MVP with 206 receiving yards. Everybody was looking like we were going to come out and play really well, and it just didnt happen.
Oregon State, which was pass-happy all year until the regular-season finale against Oregon, used a balanced attack. Quarterback Sean Mannion was efficient (24-for-33, 259 yards, TD) and star wide receiver Brandin Cooks made some plays (eight catches, 60 yards, TD), but the 195 rushing yards from the Beavers kept the chains moving and milked enough second-half clock to keep the Broncos out of reach.
The Beavers also scored two TDs on the ground, including a 5-yard run by Storm Woods early in the third quarter that gave them that 32-point lead.
The Beavers, who average 34.5 points per game, scored 24 points on offense and only seven in the second half.
I thought we played OK, but it wasnt good enough, said Gregory, who is the linebackers coach. We needed to make more plays.
Senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds provided the two biggest plays for the Beavers, scoring on fumble returns of 3 and 70 yards in the first half, and was named team MVP.
On his first TD, the Broncos were pinned on their own 6-yard line after a couple of ugly plays. Quarterback Grant Hedrick dropped back into his own end zone and was pressured by two Beavers. Defensive end Scott Crichton forced the fumble and Reynolds easily scooped the ball for a 17-3 lead in the first quarter.
The Broncos pulled within 17-6, made a fourth-and-1 stop and were driving midway through the second quarter when Reynolds struck again. Hedrick completed a pass to receiver Troy Ware, who lunged forward to try to secure the first down.
Instead, Larry Scott knocked out the ball. Reynolds grabbed it along the sideline and dashed 70 yards untouched for a 24-6 advantage.
I was Johnny on the spot, Reynolds said.
The Broncos never were closer than 14 points after the first quarter.
Now they head into the offseason with some uncertainty about the programs future. New coach Bryan Harsin continues to build his staff and next month will need to rebuild the recruiting class.
His players get a few weeks off but say theyll return eager to improve.
A big chip on our shoulder, Miller said. Hopefully we have the best offseason weve ever had around here. Change is coming to our program.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat