BOISE, Idaho -- Jaylon Henderson threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead No. 19 Boise State to a 31-10 victory over Hawaii in the Mountain West championship game Saturday.
Boise State (12-1, No. 19 CFP) won its second conference title in three years, beating Hawaii again this season after winning the Oct. 12th meeting, 59-37. After rolling up 518 yards of offense in the first game, the Broncos leaned on their defense in the rematch.
"Coming into this game the message was about finishing," said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, whose team lost last year's title game to Fresno State 19-16 in overtime. "We started this journey back in January when the question was how do we get back to this game and how do we win it. This one was really special."
The Broncos made two defensive stands inside the 5, once in the second quarter and another early in the third.
Hawaii (9-5) was making its first appearance in the title game. It enjoyed some success through the air with Cole McDonald passing for 241 yards, but couldn't overcome early problems in the red zone.
"We got a few stops early and thought we started to have some control," Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said. "But that fourth down stop near the goal line really shifted things."
The offense didn't seem to miss a beat with him at the helm.
Tied at 3 late in the first half, Boise State scored two touchdowns in a 53-second span on a pair of 36-yard touchdown strikes. Henderson dropped the first one into Khalil Shakir on a streak down the near sideline with 1:07 remaining in the half.
Then after Boise State stuffed Hawaii to get the ball back with 38 seconds remaining, Henderson fired a bullet to John Hightower, who made a leaping catch as he was undercut but used his left hand to maintain his balance before racing into the end zone.
Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors were denied their first 10-win season since 2010 when they finished 10-4. However, Hawaii has continued to improve under fourth-year coach Rolovich after suffering through five consecutive losing seasons before his arrival. With McDonald returning next season along with the team's top two rushers, Hawaii should be in the mix for the Mountain West title in 2020.
Boise State: The Broncos might be left to wonder what could've been if they don't get the nod from the playoff committee for the Group of Five's slot for the New Year's Six bowl game. The lone blemish on Boise State's record came against burgeoning rival BYU, when sophomore Cord made his first start in place of the injured Bachmeier and the Broncos fell short, 28-25.
Bowl games to be determined.