Friday, December 13, 2002
Boise State 38, UTEP 23
BOISE, Idaho -- Bart Hendricks never had the chance to play
against the nation's more glamorous quarterbacks. On Thursday,
however, he proved he could be just as effective.
Hendricks ran for two touchdowns, threw for another and caught a
late scoring pass as Boise State beat Texas-El Paso 38-23 in the
Asked about his place in college football's statistical
hierarchy, Hendricks credited his teammates and said he never
thinks of where he ranks against the likes of Josh Heupel, Drew
Brees or Chris Weinke.
"That would be nice to be compared to those guys," he said.
"But it's all the other players who make it happen."
Hendricks was 17-of-29 for 247 yards and ran for another 57
yards. The two-time player of the year in the Big West was selected
the game's most valuable player for the Broncos (10-2).
It was a rousing send-off for Boise State coach Dirk Koetter,
working in his last game before taking over at Arizona State. His
voice broke when he was asked if he realized he had coached his
last game in Boise.
"It's hit me right between the eyes," Koetter said.
It also extended the Broncos' homefield winning streak to 14
games and marked the second straight year they won their hometown
bowl game. Last year, Boise State beat Louisville 34-31.
Hendricks gave the Broncos a 24-10 lead with a 77-yard TD run on
Boise State's first play from scrimmage in the second half. It
started as a keeper to the left, but Hendricks cut into open field
and outraced two defenders.
"It's called running scared," Hendricks said. "You just keep
running until you don't have to run anymore."
He also worked the clock in the closing minute of the first half
before scoring on a 12-yard run with 18 seconds left, giving the
Broncos a 17-10 lead.
UTEP (8-4) was making its first bowl trip since 1988 and only
the second since 1967. After winning a share of the Western
Athletic Conference title, the Miners looked out of place on the
frosty blue turf in Idaho.
A few times, they ran into each other in the backfield. Their
offense, which averaged 32 points a game to rank 22nd nationally,
didn't get moving until late in the third quarter.
"A lot of our miscommunication was a direct correlation of the
crowd noise," UTEP coach Gary Nord said. "It's a great atmosphere
Hendricks capped Boise State's first possession with a 28-yard
TD strike to Jay Swillie. And he capped his career by grabbing an
11-yard pass from receiver Andre Banks with 3:35 on the clock.
"It hung up there in the air for about half an hour," Nord
Coming out of high school in Reno, Nev., Hendricks had only two
Division I scholarship offers: Boise State and Nevada.
But he ended his senior season by leading the nation with 35
touchdowns and a 170.6 efficiency rating, better than Heupel, Brees
of Purdue or Weinke. And he was tough against the Miners, who
pounded him relentlessly all day.
"Bart wasn't as sharp today as I've seen him but he had a gutty
performance, especially with that long run," Koetter said.
Boise State broke it open with a daring fake punt on the first
play of the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-4, punter Jeff Edwards
stepped into a channel on the right side of the line and ran 22
yards for a first down.
On the next play, Brock Forsey went for a 42-yard TD run and a
The Broncos won with defense, too.
They didn't touch UTEP quarterback Rocky Perez in the first
half. But after increasing the pressure in the second half, Boise
State sacked Perez five times in the first 10 minutes of the third
"We changed our protection scheme in the second half to try to
release more receivers and open it up a little bit," Perez said.
"We thought they were going to be in coverage more, but they ended
up blitzing us."
The Miners pulled to 31-23 with 7:45 to play when Chris Porter
scored on a 3-yard run. A face-mask penalty helped UTEP start the
drive at Boise State's 35, and a pass interference call moved the
ball to the 2.
Porter led the Miners with 134 rushing yards. UTEP's
All-American tight end, Brian Natkin, had four catches for 69
|Andre Banks tosses a scoring pass to QB Bart Hendricks, who was named the game's MVP.|