Hawkins, Boise State aiming for bigger bowl

Broncos want something more than Humanitarian

National notebook

College Football

October 31, 2003|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

Those who accused Boise State coach Dan Hawkins of running up the score in his team's 77-14 win last week over San Jose State probably didn't notice which Broncos were on the field for most of the second half.

"We had our fourth-team tailback and our fourth-team wide receiver," Hawkins said from Boise, Idaho, earlier this week. "Most of our starters were out of there by early in the third quarter."

The same couldn't be said about last night's 50-12 nationally-televised road win over Brigham Young. Hawkins had many of his starters, including quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie and receiver Tim Gilligan, in until the end of the game, and was roundly criticized by ESPN analyst Lee Corso.

The victory gave the Broncos an 8-1 record and brought much-needed exposure to Dinwiddie and Gilligan.

Dinwiddie, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound senior, came out of a high school program in Elk Grove, Calif., that ran the wing-T. Though Dinwiddie threw for nearly 2,000 yards during each of his three seasons, he usually averaged just 10 to 12 passes a game.

"A lot of scouts didn't see me do it enough," said Dinwiddie, who still managed to attract interest from Hawaii, San Diego State and Colorado State.

Did his team wear leather helmets?

"It felt like it at times," Dinwiddie said.

Former Broncos coach Dirk Koetter, now the head coach at Arizona State, had an interesting recruiting visit with Dinwiddie. He had Dinwiddie break down some of his own game films as well as some of the offense used by the Broncos.

"From what Dirk told me, he blew everyone away," said Hawkins, who was then Koetter's recruiting coordinator. "It was pretty apparent early on that, if nothing else, he had an extremely accurate arm. As he's grown, he's another member of the coaching staff on the field."

Dinwiddie is still accurate. He has now completed 185 of 302 passes for 2,856 yards, with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Gilligan, also a senior, didn't exactly come to Boise State by some traditional route. Growing up about four hours away in Elko, Nev., Gilligan had an older sister who graduated from the school, and he went to a couple of football camps there.

When he arrived four years ago, Gilligan decided to walk on as a kicker.

"I kicked a 51-yarder in high school and I once kicked a 60-yarder in practice, but I didn't feel like I could do that in college," Gilligan said. "I wanted to help the team any way I could."

After catching 12 passes his first two years and earning a scholarship, Gilligan caught 23 (with a 15.2-yard-per-catch average) last year. He has a team-high 54 this season, including a school-record 16 for 255 yards against Louisiana Tech.

Gilligan has become a role model for some of the 35 players who have moved up from walk-on to scholarship player in the three seasons since Hawkins took over.

"We kind of have a grassroots program," Hawkins said. "We treat all the kids the same."

Opponents, too. Since Hawkins was elevated to head coach, the Broncos have gone 27-6. Last year, they went 11-1 in the regular season (losing only to Arkansas) and stayed home for the holidays to play in the Humanitarian Bowl on their home field, beating Iowa State.

The only defeat this season was a two-point loss at Oregon State.

Last night's win might help the Broncos get a few more votes needed to get ranked nationally and, perhaps, get something other than a bid to what the locals call "The H Bowl."

"It's huge for us," Dinwiddie said. "We want to show that the last seven [wins] we've had aren't a fluke."

No good neighbor policy

The annual Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game is often played for nothing but local bragging rights, but tomorrow's game has a lot more at stake. The top-ranked Sooners want to stay on top of the BCS standings, and the No. 14 Cowboys want to move into the BCS picture.

"I honestly believe we're both playing for the same thing," said Oklahoma State wide-out Rashaun Woods.

That might not exactly be true, but if there's any team that can play Oklahoma with confidence, it's Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have won five of the past eight meetings, including the past two, and their 16-13 win in Norman in 2001 prevented the Sooners from having a chance at their second straight national championship.

This year's sniping began after Oklahoma State's win last week over Texas A&M. Asked about the matchup with the Sooners, Cowboys coach Les Miles said, "We know we are playing Oklahoma next week and they are the best team in college football, we are told."

Said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops: "It probably means he doesn't believe it. Gauging from the way we played a year ago, I don't blame him for not respecting us very much."

Reality check

UCLA coach Karl Dorrell had a lot more on his mind than tomorrow's game at Stanford. On Tuesday, Dorrell's wife and two young children were ordered to evacuate their Simi Valley home because of one of the devastating California wildfires had come within a mile of their subdivision.

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