Scores
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL AT HONOLULU HI

Final

Boise State 38

(10-3, 7-1 MW)

East Carolina 41

(8-5, 6-2 C-USA)

8:00 PM ET, December 23, 2007

Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI

1 2 3 4 T
BSU 7 7 10 1438
ECU 10 21 7 341

Top Performers

Passing: T. Tharp (BSU) - 270 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: C. Johnson (ECU) - 28 CAR, 223 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Pettis (BSU) - 9 REC, 89 YDS

ECU edges No. 24 Boise St. for first postseason win since 2000

HONOLULU (AP) -- All Chris Johnson could think about after his record-setting night was how let his team down.

Johnson set an NCAA bowl record with 408 all-purpose yards, and Ben Hartman kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give East Carolina a 41-38 victory over No. 24 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Sunday night.

Johnson ran for 223 yards, caught three passes for 32 yards and returned six kickoffs for 153 yards. But he committed a costly fumble late that almost sent it to overtime. It was his first fumble of the season.

"I let my team down," he said. "But when I got back to the sideline, they told me they had my back and they loved me."

Johnson made up for it with his big night.

"It feels good to end my career like this. I wanted to come out here and show the country that I am the best back in the country," he said.

Hartman's kick gave the Pirates (8-5) their first postseason victory since the 2000 Galleryfurniture.com Bowl.

"I felt good going out there. I felt real confident," Hartman said. "I just knew if I did my thing, it was going to go in."

With East Carolina trying to run out the clock near midfield, Marty Tadman scooped up Johnson's fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 38 with 1:25 left.

The Pirates took possession at their 39 with 1:16 left and drove to the 17 to set up Hartman's kick.

The Pirates stormed the field in celebration and chased after Hartman, who dashed toward the locker room.

Hartman said he took off because he was scared about get squashed underneath a pile of teammates.

The Broncos (10-3), making their sixth straight bowl appearance, almost repeated their last-minute magic from a year ago when they stunned Oklahoma in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0.

But this time, it was the Broncos who fell a little short without any trick plays and an ailing Ian Johnson.

Johnson, who was nursing a sprained left ankle, carried the ball just once for 1 yard in the first quarter and finished with 11 yards on four carries.

It was Chris Johnson who stole the show.

He was selected the Most Valuable Player for the Pirates. Jeremy Avery, who rushed for 68 yards and caught four passes for 43 yards was Boise State's MVP.

Taylor Tharp was 30-of-44 for 266 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for Boise State.

"It was weird for us to start slow," Tharp said. "I think it was a combination of not being ready to go and missed assignments."

Patrick Pinkney threw for 117 yards and also rushed for 53 more for East Carolina.

The Pirates appeared to have the game in hand when they took a 38-14 lead early in the third quarter on Brandon Simmons' 3-yard TD run. The Broncos, however, hung in and reeled off 24 straight points.

D.J. Harper's 1-yard TD plunge cut East Carolina's lead to 38-31 with 7:09 left.

Most of the crowd was headed out of the stadium after Titus Young fumbled the ball, setting up the Pirates at their 39 with 1:45 left.

But East Carolina's star couldn't hang on to the ball as he struggled to add a few more yards to his record, which was previously held by Alabama's Sherman Williams 359 yards set against Ohio State in the 1995 Citrus Bowl.

"I was trying to run hard and get the first down," he said. "I cut up field and I just didn't put two hands on the ball. I had the first down and it just popped out."

Johnson had 181 rushing yards in the first half alone, including a 68-yard TD run that put East Carolina ahead 10-7. He also caught a screen pass from Pinkney and went 18 yards for a score to make it 24-7.

Third-year Pirates coach Skip Holtz said he was proud of his players, especially Johnson.

"What rest of country saw is what we've been watching for three years," he said. "I'm the president of the Chris Johnson fan club. I am his biggest fan. He is one of the hardest workers on this team. He's humble. He works his tail off."

Dominique Lindsay had a pair of 3-yard TD runs in the first half for East Carolina. His second touchdown gave the Pirates a 31-14 halftime lead.

The usually explosive Broncos looked rusty and unprepared in the first half. They went three-and-out on their first four possessions, followed by an interception, touchdown and fumble.

"That first half was very frustrating," second-year Broncos coach Chris Petersen said. "You have to come through when the money is on the line. It is some hard lessons for us, but we will learn and get better."

Boise State, a 10 1/2-point favorite, managed just 3 yards of offense in the first quarter while East Carolina racked up 181 behind Johnson's 106 rushing yards.

The Broncos' lone highlight in the first quarter was Austin Smith's 89-yard kickoff return for a TD. In the second quarter, Ryan Putnam caught a 3-yard pass from Tharp to cut East Carolina's lead to 10.

Boise State was without its top receiver, Jeremy Childs, who didn't make the trip for violating team rules.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BSU
ECU
1st Downs2222
Total Yards368476
Passing270154
Rushing98322
Penalties4-507-50
3rd Down Conversions6-126-15
4th Down Conversions0-01-1
Turnovers41
Possession26:1633:44

Passing Leaders

Boise StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tharp30/442706.122
East CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Pinkney12/191186.210

Rushing Leaders

Boise StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Avery10696.9023
Johnson4112.807
East CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson282238.0168
Pinkney11534.8021

Receiving Leaders

Boise StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Pettis9899.9029
Young7476.7010
East CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bryant67813.0036
Johnson33210.7118

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBSUECU
FG08:22Ben Hartman 36 Yd
Drive: 8 plays, 38 yds, 4:22
03
TD08:10Austin Smith 89 Yd Kickoff Return (Kyle Brotzman Kick) 73
TD04:25Chris Johnson 68 Yd Run (Ben Hartman Kick)
Drive: 1 plays, 68 yds, :11
710
SECOND QUARTERBSUECU
TD12:31Dominique Lindsay 3 Yd Run (Ben Hartman Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 85 yds, 4:25
717
TD08:51Chris Johnson 18 Yd Pass From Patrick Pinkney (Ben Hartman Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 74 yds, 1:26
724
TD04:18Ryan Putnam 3 Yd Pass From Taylor Tharp (Kyle Brotzman Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 69 yds, 2:17
1424
TD00:33Dominique Lindsay 3 Yd Run (Ben Hartman Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 38 yds, 1:48
1431
THIRD QUARTERBSUECU
TD09:02Brandon Simmons 3 Yd Run (Ben Hartman Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 74 yds, 5:58
1438
TD08:10Jeremy Avery 25 Yd Pass From Taylor Tharp (Kyle Brotzman Kick)
Drive: 2 plays, 33 yds, :52
2138
FG03:11Kyle Brotzman 31 Yd
Drive: 9 plays, 40 yds, 2:38
2438
FOURTH QUARTERBSUECU
TD07:09D.J. Harper 1 Yd Run (Kyle Brotzman Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 80 yds, 3:59
3138
TD01:25Marty Tadman 47 Yd Fumble Return (Kyle Brotzman Kick) 3838
FG00:00Ben Hartman 34 Yd
Drive: 6 plays, 44 yds, 1:25
3841