The only thing sharp about Hawaii on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium were its vintage rainbow uniforms. On the other hand, Boise State looked razor-sharp in another rout, dominating again like vintage Broncos.
Boise State controlled every facet of the game in the 55-0 demolishing, posting its second straight home shutout. The Broncos have scored 163 points in their past three games, their first stretch of 52 or more points in regulation in three consecutive games since 2002.
In front of 35,907 fans, the seventh-largest crowd in the stadium’s history, the Broncos picked up their 17th consecutive home victory.
“That was quite a game tonight by our guys,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
Once again, Boise State (4-1 overall, 1-0 Mountain West) true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien was strong, completing 19-of-25 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns in his first home start, taking a seat late in the third quarter with the game well out of hand. His first pass attempt of the game was a harbinger of the crushing to come — he hit junior wide receiver Chaz Anderson on a perfectly-thrown deep ball for a 54-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead 4:35 into the game. Anderson had a career-best 95 receiving yards.
Rypien added scoring strikes to junior receiver Thomas Sperbeck, a 21-yarder, and senior tight end Holden Huff, a 24-yarder, during a 35-point second quarter. In his young career, Rypien is 51-of-69 for 718 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
“He’s a poised quarterback,” Anderson said. “He’s a leader, and having him at the head of our offense is fun, to say the least.”
Since Rypien first entered Sept. 18’s game in the second half against Idaho State, Boise State has outscored opponents 132-14 with him in the game. After a punt on their first one, eight of the Broncos’ next 10 possessions with Rypien at the helm resulted in points Saturday.
“He’s being stingy with the football, which is what you want,” Harsin said. “... if it’s there, he’s going to take advantage of it, if there’s option B, he’ll take advantage of it ... .”
Hawaii (2-3, 0-1) still has yet to score any points this season away from Oahu, getting shut out at Boise State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Broncos have not allowed a defensive touchdown at Albertsons Stadium since there was 5:31 left against Fresno State in last year’s Mountain West championship, a span of 185 minutes, 31 seconds — and counting.
“It just shows us that when we talk about being dominant, it’s possible,” senior safety Darian Thompson said.
The defense terrorized Hawaii quarterbacks all night, as they combined to complete just 11-of-38 passes for 88 yards and were intercepted three times. Starter Max Wittek was a paltry 7-of-24 for 66 yards with two interceptions, the second of which set up a short two-play, 12-yard scoring drive for Boise State. It is the first back-to-back home shutouts for a Boise State defense since doing so to Humboldt State and Montana in 1986, the first two games after Boise State installed the blue turf.
Thompson, senior cornerback Donte Deayon and junior linebacker Darren Lee had the Broncos’ interceptions, while redshirt freshman linebacker Leighton Vander Esch had a fumble recovery. During the Broncos’ three straight wins, they have created 10 turnovers while yielding none.
“It’s been fun,” Deayon said. “We’ve been preaching on how early in the season we were a couple of plays away from being a dominant defense, a couple plays away from doing what we came out to do.”
The Broncos outgained the Rainbow Warriors 554-170, allowing Hawaii to convert only four of their 17 third-down attempts and creating four turnovers. Hawaii’s longest gain of the night was 16 yards. Boise State was nearly perfectly balanced with 279 rushing yards and 275 passing yards. Fourteen players were credited with either a rushing attempt or a reception in the win.
When asked if anyone will come close to the Broncos in Mountain West play, Hawaii coach Norm Chow said “I don’t think so. That’s a very good football team.”
In addition to Rypien, a few new fresh faces made their mark during the Broncos’ 49-point first half. Receiver Akilian Butler, the only other true freshman playing on offense beside Rypien, scored on a 10-yard touchdown run with 6:46 to halftime that made it 35-0 on his first-ever touch. Senior Kelsey Young, the Stanford transfer, added a 9-yard touchdown on the next possession for his third score as a Bronco. Young had 12 carries for a career-high 69 yards. All of Boise State’s seven scoring drives in the first half covered 3:33 or less.
Next up for the Broncos is the first of two consecutive road games, heading to Colorado State next Saturday. The Rams (2-3) lost 33-18 at Utah State on Saturday. The Broncos’ lone loss, Sept. 12 at BYU, has seemed to spark a team seeking another big bowl berth.
“In the last three games, I think a lot of good has come from that game,” Harsin said.