Boise State did its part to make a strong case for a Cotton Bowl bid, scoring two touchdowns in less than a minute of both halves en route to a 31-10 win over Hawaii on Saturday in the Mountain West Conference championship game on the Broncos’ blue turf.
Senior Jaylon Henderson passed for two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the No. 19 Broncos (12-1) to their third win in conference championship games. Khalil Shakir had a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown.
Miles Reed rushed for 87 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown for Hawaii, which also lost to Boise State 59-37 in the regular season.
Either Boise State or No. 17 Memphis is expected to land the Cotton Bowl bid when the College Football Playoff committee reveals its final rankings on Sunday.
The Broncos’ first touchdown came with 1:07 to go before halftime on fourth-and-4, and after a timeout. Henderson threw deep to Shakir for a 36-yard score and a 10-3 lead.
After Hawaii punted, the Broncos got the ball back with 38 seconds and needed only two plays to make it 17-3. Henderson threw to John Hightower, who leaped for the catch and had open field to the end zone for a 36-yard score with 14 seconds left.
Hawaii (9-5) only got a field goal out of its first three drives, all reaching into Broncos’ territory. After Ryan Meskell hit from 47 yards, the Rainbow Warriors turned the ball over on downs at the Boise State 1-yard line on their next drive.
Then Hawaii’s Cole McDonald was intercepted in the end zone from the Broncos’ 36-yard line with 3:44 to go in the first half, with Boise State’s Kekoa Nawahine making the pick.
The Rainbow Warriors had chance to cut into the lead early in the third quarter, but were thwarted again on fourth down deep in Boise State territory. McDonald threw four straight incomplete passes from the 5, and the Broncos took over.
Shakir scored on an end-around from 4 yards out for a 24-3 lead with 1:09 left in the third quarter. After a Hawaii fumble, Henderson scrambled and reached the ball over the goal line on a 5-yard run for a 31-3 lead with 18 seconds left in the third.
Henderson passed for 220 yards and rushed for 51 more.
McDonald threw for 241 yards for Hawaii.
–Field Level Media