11:35 PM ET, December 6, 2003
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
HONOLULU (AP) -- Boise State may have gotten most of its gaudy offensive numbers through the air, but it was the ground game that won the game against Hawaii on Saturday night.
Donny Heck rushed for four touchdowns to complement Ryan Dinwiddie's 329 yards passing as No. 18 Boise State defeated Hawaii 45-28 in the Western Athletic Conference finale for both teams.
"It was a big game for me," Heck said. "I just had to do the best I could running the ball to try to take a little heat off the offensive line and Dinwiddie."
Heck finished with 87 yards on 25 carries as the Broncos scored all six of their touchdowns on the ground. Boise State (12-1, 8-0) ran its conference winning streak to 10 games, dating to last season.
The game had BCS implications because Southern Cal defeated Hawaii earlier this season.
Hawaii senior Jason Whieldon finished 23-of-44 for 195 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.
"We just weren't able to make the plays we needed to make," Whieldon said. "I take a lot of the blame, I wasn't able to make the plays I needed to make."
Whieldon got the start over Timmy Chang, who's third in the nation in passing average with 326.4 yards per game, after replacing him in Hawaii's victory over Alabama last week.
Chang came into the game in the fourth quarter and threw a 14-yard touchdown to Chad Owens that brought Hawaii (8-5, 5-3) within 38-28, but the junior also threw an interception with 5:31 to play that led to Boise State's final score, a 13-yard run by Heck.
"We didn't play good enough to win," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "We made too many mistakes, a lot of penalties, we didn't cover good and they're a very good football team."
Down 24-14 at halftime, Hawaii scored on its first possession of the second half after a punt by Kyle Stringer gave them the ball at the Boise State 46. Mike Bass capped a five-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown run.
Boise State answered before the quarter was over, eating up more than six minutes with a 91-yard, 12-play drive that ended with an 8-yard run by Heck.
Boise State seemed to put the game away on its next possession after a 68-yard pass from Dinwiddie to Jerry Smith set up Heck's third score, a 2-yard run.
Chang came in to a huge ovation and brought the Warriors within 10 points but couldn't muster another touchdown after the late interception.
Tied at 7-all after one quarter, Boise State's first drive of the second began at the Hawaii 30 thanks to a 27-yard punt return by Brad Allen. After a 20-yard pass from Dinwiddie to T.J. Acree, Heck scored two plays later on a 7-yard run.
Boise State added a 20-yard field goal by Tyler Jones, but Whieldon answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard scoring toss to Britton Komine.
Chris Carr returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards to the Hawaii 43. A 31-yard pass from Dinwiddie to Lawrence Bady set up David Mikell's 7-yard run to close out the first half scoring.
Hawaii's defense set up the game's opening score. Senior defensive end Travis Laboy, who earlier recorded his 13th sack of the season, tipped a pass by Dinwiddie and came down with the interception at the Boise State 33. Whieldon capped a five-play drive with a 4-yard toss to a wide-open Jeremiah Cockheran.
Boise State answered at the end of the quarter after a shanked punt by Hawaii's Kurt Milne went out of bounds at the Warriors' 41. The Broncos scored four plays later when converted cornerback Lee Marks took a draw play up the middle and bounced outside for a 30-yard touchdown run.