Boise State made the long trip to Honolulu, Hawaii in Week 11 of the college football season to take on the Warriors. The Broncos (8-2, 5-1 MWC) were trying to rebound from a painful loss to San Diego State in Week 10.
Hawaii was 1-7 overall going into the contest and 0-5 in the Mountain West Conference. It was the perfect game in the perfect place to get something right for Chris Petersen and his team.
The Broncos did get many things figured out, but they still had some struggles in very familiar areas.
Let's take a look at the good and the not-so-good for Boise State from Saturday in Aloha Stadium.
The Broncos offense wasn't perfect, but the play-calling was very good.
Give credit to first-year offensive coordinator Robert Prince. His play-calling was creative and he utilized his talent.
On the day, Boise State put up 411 yards of total offense, but if you watched the game you know it could have been much more if needed.
Prince utilized several players during the game. Nine total players caught at least one pass, and seven players had at least one carry.
It was nice to see Prince stretch the field with the long ball as well. That is something that has been missing from the Boise State arsenal, and it makes them much better going forward.
Boise State has struggled this season on third-down execution. Many times it seems a decent play is called, but for whatever reason, it just doesn't get executed.
When you look at the tape, it isn't just one thing. It isn't just one player. It might be a single mindset, but nothing tangible seems to be obvious.
For the game, Boise State converted just four of 16 third-down attempts. They did, however, convert four of five fourth downs. But those shouldn't have had to happen if third down is done right.
It is a mystery, and one that needs to be solved before Nevada and before a bowl game.
"Did you just see that?"
Those were the words many fans probably said or heard on the second play of the game. Hawaii tried some kind of reverse, but Darren Koontz sniffed it out. Not only did he disrupt the play, but he clotheslined the Warrior player and announced his presence in Aloha Stadium.
The play resulted in an 11-yard loss for Hawaii, and made the first possession for them impossible to convert a first down.
Koontz had three tackles in the game, but he made his presence felt early and made quite an impression.
Chris Potter had a good day overall.
First, he did a good job blocking, including one block in the first quarter that got Matt Miller some extra yardage.
Potter also had a catch on the day, but his main contribution was in punt returns. The first touchdown of the game was set up by an excellent return by Potter.
On the day, Potter had four returns for a total of 62 yards.
Sean Schroeder had been sacked 25 times going into the game with Boise State. When he was benched by Hawaii head coach Norm Chow, he had four more to add to his total.
He was chased, harassed, hurried and sacked the entire time he was in the game. It was probably a bit of relief when Jeremy Higgins took over for him.
However, Higgins would end up getting sacked twice himself.
On the day, Schroeder threw 19 times for 10 completions and 100 yards. He didn't have a touchdown, but he had one interception.
Boise State had a field day on defense against the Warriors. On the day the Broncos sacked Hawaii quarterbacks six times and chased them all over the field most of the game.
Demarcus Lawrence had a sack, as did Jonathan Brown. However, Tyler Horn and Sam Ukwuachu had two sacks each.
It was a very dominant performance by the defense and by the Boise State sack attack.
Will Gregory could have played safety for Boise State, but instead he chose to attend Hawaii and play running back.
He didn't have much of a chance to showcase his talent Saturday in an effort to prove that the Broncos coaching staff was wrong.
Early in the game, Gregory threw a punch and was ejected from the game.
When is a punter not a punter? When he decides to be a running back.
Some hate the "rugby style" kick that the Broncos do from time to time on punts. However, it is a very effective tool when utilized correctly.
Saturday against Hawaii, Boise State punter Trevor Harman got to showcase another element of the "rugby style" format. If the defense is napping, you take off.
With a 4th-and-3 at the Boise State 31-yard line, Boise State decided to punt. Hawaii decided to set up a return. However, in doing so the defenders turned their backs way too early, and Harman made them pay.
It was a 21-yard run to the Hawaii 48 before Harman simply strolled out of bounds. It is certainly something future defenses will keep an eye on.
Late in the first quarter on a 2nd-and-3 at the Hawaii 46, Joe Southwick threw it downfield.
On the other end was wide receiver Aaron Burks, and he did what he is supposed to do—he caught it.
A 46-yard touchdown pass from Southwick to Burks made the game 13-7, and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Southwick would then go on to hit Kirby Moore for a 25-yard pass and Holden Huff for 24 yards later in the game. There were also a few passes deep that rolled off the finger tips of Boise State receivers, but it had to be nice for Boise State fans to see footballs flying down the field.
The 49 points the Broncos scored against Hawaii were the most they have put on the scoreboard all season. Yes, it was against Hawaii, but it had to feel good for a team that has struggled at times putting up points.
The true freshman Donte Deayon is no longer going to redshirt. He had to be put on the field because of a thinning defensive secondary for Boise State.
However, it looks like he intends to make the most of it.
Against Hawaii, Donte got his first career interception. He is an exceptional player, and you can be sure it is a sign of more to come.
A game of firsts.
Junior wide receiver Aaron Burks and freshman tight end Holden Huff both got their first touchdown receptions in their career at Boise State.
Burks also caught five passes for 107 yards with an average of 21.4 yards per catch.
Boise State continued its amazing turnover tirade. On the day the Broncos forced five Hawaii turnovers which included three fumbles and two interceptions.
Demarcus Lawrence turned one of those fumbles into a 25-yard touchdown for the Broncos defense. Jerrell Gavins got into the action as well with an interception.
Boise State is now plus-16 in turnover margin.
For the second week in a row the Boise State special teams allowed a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Against San Diego State you can argue it cost them the game. However, against Hawaii it only cost them some embarrassment.
With injuries and suspensions it seems that kickoff coverage is hurting. Boise State can't do that against Colorado State, and they can't afford to do that against Nevada.
Zee the tee dog might need to get involved.