October 3, 2015: For the first time since 1986, the year the blue turf debuted, Boise State posts back-to-back home shutouts with a 55-0 win over Hawaii. The Broncos had blanked Idaho State 52-0 two weeks earlier in Albertsons Stadium. To borrow an offensive term, the defense was balanced, allowing just 82 yards on the ground and 88 through the air. Boise State hounded Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek, a USC transfer, into a 7-for-24 night. He was picked off twice, once by Darian Thompson, the 17th interception of his career on the way to 19, a Broncos FBS era record. And young redshirt freshman Leighton Vander Esch had his first fumble recovery.
Shutouts had become more common for Boise State in the new century after a 12-season spell without one from 1988 through 1999. The victory over the Rainbow Warriors was the Broncos’ 13th blanking of the 21st century. There’s been only one since then, though—the 37-0 win over New Mexico on Senior Day last November. This year’s defense sure seems capable of posting one.
The Boise State offense that night bears mentioning. It was balanced, too, with 279 yards rushing and 275 passing. It was one of the most efficient nights of Brett Rypien’s career, as he went 19-of-25 for 271 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jeremy McNichols added 108 yards and two TDs on the ground.
The offense cherishes those 50-point games. And here’s more perspective. Boise State once had a 24-season slowdown in 50-pointers, with only nine of them between 1975 and 1998. Then Dirk Koetter, Dan Hawkins, Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin, started crankin’ out the 50-point games. How about 65 of them in the new century? There have been 12 since the Hawaii blowout, but the pace has clearly decelerated. The Broncos’ last 50-point game was in the home opener last year versus UTEP.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)