36,902 Fans lit up the night for Boise State, the largest crowd to pack Albertsons Stadium in school history. Homecoming versus a 4-1 Hawaii wasn’t to be taken lightly, and Bronco Fans acted as such.
A sense of confidence, a sense of belief, pulsed through the stadium like a heartbeat as Boise surged to an early 17-7 lead. Outlets such as the Mountain West Connection and Athlon Sports had predicted a Boise State loss, but the early scoring burst screamed for the opposite result.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Driving down the field with a menace, Boise faced a 3rd and 3 at the Hawaii 22 yard line. The offensive line quickly folded around Bachmeier, and he sprinted forwards in the pocket for an easy three yards.
To understand what happens next, we need to know what kind of player Hank is. On October 4th, the Idaho Statesman’s Chadd Cripe released an article researching why Hank has been hit so much this season. Bryan Harsin had the following to say on the subject.
“And yeah, you don’t see him sliding. And that’s part of the quarterback piece that the guys want to play for him because of that competitor in him. It’s fun to see.”
Back to 3rd and 3 at the Hawaii 22. Instead of sliding and potentially falling short of the line to gain, Hank lowered his shoulder into linebacker Kana’i Picanco, who blasted him to the ground and forced a fumble in the process.
The stadium fell silent. Not because of the fumble, but because number 19 was still on one knee, with trainers huddled around him. After around 30 seconds, he got up and was helped off the field into the medical tent.
Hawaii’s offense took the field, and Albertsons Stadium came alive. Sensing the danger, the crowd noise amped up. Boise forced a quick three and out to send Hawaii off the field.
Yet Boise found much of the same. Backup Chase Cord couldn’t find Akilian Butler on third down, and the Broncos punted.
At this point in the game, the Broncos were in their most precarious position. Hank Bachmeier had exited the field with an unknown (and still is unknown) injury. Chase Cord had come in and looked OK, but nothing spectacular.
Now Cole McDonald had his shot to bring Hawaii back into the ball game. On first and 10 at the Hawaii 20, McDonald took off for a short gain, only to fumble the ball because of Boise’s best player, Curtis Weaver. It was a magnificent play. Boise had the ball back at the Hawaii 23.
Then Chase Cord came alive.
A 33-yard strike to Khalil Shakir put Boise up 24-7. A feeling of warranted relief spread through the crowd. No Hank, no problem, it seemed.
And so it continued, as Hawaii fumbled again on their next drive and Boise responded with a quick touchdown to go up by 24 points. Hawaii tacked on a quick score before the half, but the damage had been done. Boise held a double-digit lead over one of the best teams in the Mountain West at halftime, even without their star Quarterback for the better part of the second quarter.
Many Bronco fans felt that was enough, as the student section hollowed out and gaps appeared in the once packed stands.
Frankly, they weren’t wrong.
Boise hit pay dirt yet again just 2:35 into the second half, as John Hightower added on to his 141-yard night. If Hawaii were to rally, they had to do it on their next drive. But instead, Cole McDonald threw two incompletions and Hawaii punted, sealing the coffin on the Bow’s demise.
16 fourth-quarter points were never going to do the trick for Nick Rolovich and his Warriors, and Boise finished a stunning game with 59 points to Hawaii’s 37, advancing to 6-0 on the season.
After the game, Bryan Harsin alluded to a potential Hip Pointer for Hank Bachmeier. A hip pointer is a deep bone bruise on the ridge of the bone. Extremely painful, but luckily for Bronco Nation, likely nothing permanent.
Either way, Chase Cord looked excellent, and Hawaii was exposed as vulnerable on defense and beatable on offense.
The Broncos will take on BYU in Provo next weekend. BYU isn’t having the best of seasons, but the Cougars will still be a tough matchup on the road in historically a hard-fought rivalry.
Hawaii gets Air Force at home in a must-win game for both teams. If the Bows can hang tough and beat the Falcons at home, they’ll have a decent shot at a rematch against Boise if the Broncos can win out.