Hawaii Bowl: Boise State's Hedrick rebounds with big game

The junior QB throws for a career-best 382 yards after fumble.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.com © 2013 Idaho StatesmanDecember 25, 2013 

— Grant Hedrick’s first drive has often been a disaster.

Not on Tuesday in the Hawaii Bowl — it actually was the second.

Boise State’s junior QB led the Broncos to a field goal on their opening drive, but fumbled deep in his own territory on the second, resulting in an Oregon State fumble return for a touchdown that put the Beavers ahead 17-3. Boise State was never within double digits again and lost 38-23.

Hedrick bounced back and finished Tuesday's bowl game 32-of-44 for a career-best 382 yards and a touchdown.

“I think Grant played very well and I think he’s going to be a great quarterback for Boise State in the future,’’ Boise State interim coach Bob Gregory said.

After the fumble, Hedrick did not turn the ball over again. He connected with his roommate and fellow junior Matt Miller 11 times for 206 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown.

Hedrick finished the season completing 167-of-242 passes for 1,825 yards with 16 touchdowns to five interceptions. He wound up as the team’s leading passer in 2013, playing the majority of the final seven games after Joe Southwick broke his ankle Oct. 19 and was sent home prior to Tuesday’s game.

“Going into next season, it’s kind of Grant’s job to lose, which will be nice for him, mentally,’’ Miller said. “This offseason, he’ll be the guy working with the wideouts, getting those timing routes down.’’

The 6-foot, 202-pound Hedrick rushed 11 times for 20 yards, a number lessened by the fact he was sacked five times.

“We probably didn’t do a good enough job protecting Grant,’’ Gregory said.

Playing in all 13 games, Hedrick finished with 277 rushing yards (second on the team), scoring six touchdowns. This spring as a senior-to-be, he’s expected to compete again for the starting job with sophomore Nick Patti and redshirt freshman Ryan Finley.

Hedrick was not made available to the media after the game.

“I like Grant a lot,’’ Gregory said. “He gives us the ability to run. You saw him (Tuesday) where he put the ball down and he went, so I think he gives defenses fits, that’s for sure.’’

New Boise State head coach Harsin was Boise State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when he recruited Hedrick out of Independence, Ore., as a high school senior in 2009 and coached him as he redshirted at Boise State in 2010.

“He’ll have more control, especially in the new system,’’ Miller said. “Coach Harsin was here, he recruited Grant, so he’s going to be familiar with him, and I think he's going to be more comfortable.’’

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

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