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2011 Las Vegas - Boise St 56, Arizona St 24

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 23, 2011


2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 MAACO Las Vegas Bowl

2011 MAACO Las Vegas

Boise St 56, Arizona St 24

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
A   B
25th Total Offense 9th
88th Total Defense 16th
24th Scoring Offense 7th
64th Scoring Defense 10th
78th Rushing Offense 40th
59th Run Defense 22nd
11th Passing Offense 10th
107th Passing Defense 25th
20th Turnover Margin 15th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
A   B
4.5 Quarterbacks 5
4 RBs 4
4 Receivers 3.5
3 O Line 5
3 D Line 3.5
3.5 Linebackers 3.5
2 Secondary 4
4 Spec Teams 4
5 Coaching 5
Boise State 56 … Arizona State 24
- CFN Thoughts on the Game

Boise State: The Broncos scored three non-offensive touchdowns. … Kellen Moore completed 25-of-33 passes for 269 yards and two scores and two picks. … Doug Martin ran 31 times for 151 yards and a score, and returned two kicks for 124 yards and a score. … WR Mitch Burroughs caught four passes for 59 yards.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils were stopped for -11 yards on 21 carries. … Brock Osweiler completed 30-of-47 passes for 395 yards and two scores with a pick. … Gerrell Robinson caught 13 passes for 241 yards and a score.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Doug Martin rushed for 151 yards and returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, giving No. 8 Boise State a lead 14 seconds into the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas on the way to a 56-24 win Thursday night.

Arizona State (6-7) never seriously threatened the Broncos (12-1), even though Boise State had three turnovers and allowed a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Sun Devils to start the second half.

Arizona State missed on several opportunities to make the game closer, wasting a bowl-record 241-yard receiving effort by Gerell Robinson, who caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Broncos had already scored 49 points.

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore - the NCAA's winningest player at the position - played well enough in his last college game to keep his team scoring, despite some missteps. He finished with 266 yards and two touchdowns, plus two interceptions and a fumble in a game that capped his college career with 50 total wins.

Martin finished with 301 all-purpose yards, breaking a bowl record set in 1997 by Air Force's Pat Johnson. His touchdown return also set a record for the longest kickoff return in MAACO Bowl history. It was the first time the opening kickoff had been returned for a score in any bowl game since Ted Ginn Jr. did it in the 2007 BCS title game.

The most costly mistake for Arizona State came in the third quarter, as the Sun Devils tried to capitalize on a fumble by Moore - his third turnover of the game. The Sun Devils drove 49 yards to Boise State's 1-yard line, but quarterback Brock Osweiler's fourth-down pass was intercepted by Jamar Taylor, who returned it for a touchdown to make the score 35-10.

Moments before the play, Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson tried to call a timeout as his team was late to the line of scrimmage, but his attempts weren't acknowledged by the referees.

"I should have just called a timeout," said Osweiler, who threw for 390 yards with two touchdowns in defeat.

Osweiler said his team had some confusion before the play, with the wrong players on the field and a delay in communicating what they wanted to do.

The Broncos led 28-3 at halftime with Martin's kick return, Moore's passing touchdowns and another by wide receiver Matt Miller on a trick play in the second quarter.

Arizona State didn't score after its first interception and failed to pick off a lofty, poorly-aimed toss from Moore's brother, receiver Kirby Moore, that hit a Sun Devils defender in the chest during a trick play. Boise State scored its fourth touchdown later in the drive.

Erickson was coaching his last game for Arizona State, which let him go in November after the Sun Devils finished the regular season on a four-game losing streak.

Erickson said he doesn't think his career is finished.

"I'll be involved in football some way - I'm not sure exactly what," he said.

Arizona State (6-6) vs. Boise State (11-1) Dec. 20, 8:00, ESPN

Here’s The Deal … People descend upon Sin City for all kinds of reasons. Arizona State and Boise State might just arrive for the express purpose of commiserating.

No disrespect to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl - okay, a little bit - but neither the Sun Devils nor the Broncos counted Sam Boyd Stadium as a must-see venue on the 2011 to-do list. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that both programs had visions of a BCS bowl berth. Since then, an awful lot has changed, especially in Tempe.

Flash back to Halloween, less than two months ago. Arizona State was still ranked, still in control of a toothless Pac-12 South and still being led by Dennis Erickson. And then the wheels came off. The Sun Devils dropped their final four games, squandering that healthy lead in the South Division, and prompting the dismissal of Erickson after five seasons.

The aftermath of the collapse has been equally disturbing, with the administration getting to the altar with, but failing to sign current SMU coach June Jones and former Houston head man Kevin Sumlin before settling on Pitt's Todd Graham.

So where will the players’ heads be at the time of kickoff? Erickson will be on the sidelines, which is going to help in the areas of stability and continuity. However, ASU is a senior-laden team, and it’s fair to wonder where it’ll reside on the motivation meter. Plus, it’s not as if the old staff is going to have any influence on the future of the holdovers. Will the Devils perform with nothing to lose, or as if they’d rather be anywhere else?

Once Boise State defeated Georgia, 35-21, in the opener, a perfect season and a BCS bowl game seemed like a foregone conclusion. Heck, with unbeaten contenders dropping regularly, it looked as if the Broncos might get into the mix to face LSU for a national championship. TCU, however, was working off a different script. On Nov. 12, a day that’ll live in BSU infamy, the Horned Frogs snapped their host’s 35-game home winning streak when Dan Goodale 39-yard field goal attempt drifted wide right. Mountain West title … buh-bye. A coveted BCS bowl bid … gone. Or was it?

The Broncos swept their final three games to go 11-1, and finish an at-large-worthy No. 7 in the standings, but no committee bit at the opportunity to bring the school to its event. In fact, a pair of lower-ranked programs, No. 11 Virginia Tech and No. 13 Michigan, will be squaring off in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3, prompting a rare showing of public dissent toward the system from mild-mannered Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.

The Broncos, which announced on Dec. 8 that they’d be Big East-bound in 2013, will arrive in Las Vegas with a chip on their shoulders, and with something to prove. The squad had hoped to raise the bar higher this fall before bumping its head on a glass ceiling.

Players to Watch: One of the primary storylines for this matchup is that it’ll be the final collegiate game for Boise State standout Kellen Moore, the winningest quarterback in FBS history. He’s gone 49-3, while basically rewriting the University’s record book. The nation’s fourth most efficient passer in 2011 has also thrived without last year’s top pass-catchers, Austin Pettis and Titus Young. The lefty has helped elevate the play this fall of Tyler Shoemaker, Matt Miller and TE Kyle Efaw who have all caught at least six touchdown passes. The sure-handed trio will enjoy an edge on an Arizona State pass defense that ranks 107th nationally, and yielded nine touchdown passes in November.

If Moore is his typical prolific self on Thursday night, the Sun Devils believe they harbor the needed weapons to keep pace in a high-scoring contest. Their answer behind center is Brock Osweiler, the 6-8, 240-pounder hurler with unexpectedly good wheels outside the pocket. He’s thrown for 3,769 yards and 24 touchdowns, while employing a deep and speedy supporting cast. The junior should get a smattering of good looks downfield in the direction of Gerell Robinson, Aaron Plugrad, Jamal Miles and Mike Willie. Boise State has been a beatable bunch up top this year, allowing 10 touchdown passes in a three-game November stretch versus UNLV, TCU and San Diego State.

For Osweiler to have the time needed to check down and locate the open man, he’ll need an average front wall to keep the Boise State D-line under wraps. It’ll be no small request. The Broncos are underrated at the point of attack, birthing four players with All-Mountain West credentials. Ends Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford landed on the first team, DT Billy Winn was a second-teamer and NT Chase Baker earned honorable mention recognition. The quartet, however, has been quiet on the rush since getting to Aaron Murray six times in the opener with Georgia. Boise State has managed just 14 sacks over the last 11 games, signaling a need for the seniors to step up in their final game with the program.

Wither Vontaze Burfict, the star-crossed Arizona State linebacker, who was a microcosm for his team’s fall from grace? He has a world of natural ability, but delivered a disappointing junior year that concluded with him on the bench in the loss to Cal. The junior began the year with four sacks in the first two games, playing as if headed toward an All-American campaign. Instead, he went down with a whimper, getting to the quarterback just one more time over the final 11 games. Burfict has a ton to prove in Las Vegas, particularly to those NFL scouts in attendance. Despite coming off the worst season of his college career, the 6-3, 250-pound enforcer is still a safe bet to leave school early for the draft.

Arizona State will win if … it recaptures its early season form on defense.

Back when the Sun Devils looked as if they’d coast to a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the defense was a significant factor. Remember that this was the team that suffocated Illinois, made USC’s Matt Barkley look like a backup and ranked among the nation’s leaders in sacks and takeaways. That was then, and this is now. Arizona State wilted over the final six games, giving up at least 29 points five different times. If this beleaguered program is to have any chance of slowing down Boise State, it’ll need to elevate its assertiveness, from pressuring the pocket with Burfict and linemen Bo Moos and Jamaar Jarrett to getting a couple of tempo-changing plays from LB Colin Parker and corners Deveron Carr and Alden Darby.

Boise State will win if … Doug Martin is Doug Martin.

Although he gets lost in the canopied shadow of Moore, the Broncos’ two-time 1,000-yard rusher might have a better pro future than anyone on the offense except LT Nate Potter. Hey, Boise State will score without his production, but when he’s clicking, the team is virtually unstoppable. Petersen craves balance within his attack, keeping defenses on their heels as they contemplate whether the passing game or ground troops is the lesser of two evils. Moore is one of the premier play-action passers in America, which gets amplified when the backs are popping off big chunks of yardage between the tackles. D.J. Harper is a terrific backup, but the Broncos operate at peak performance when No. 22 gets a head of steam.

What Will Happen: Boise State wants to prove something in Las Vegas. Arizona State just wants to get the offseason started as soon as possible.

Okay, so the event is less than ideal, but the Broncos are never going to pass up an opportunity to one-up an opponent from a bigger conference. Plus, if the Sun Devils couldn’t get on track when so much was at stake in November, why should they be expected to now? While Boise State won’t exactly school Arizona State, its superiority on both sides of the ball will ensure that the outcome isn’t in doubt in the final quarter. Mixing in the darts of Moore with the running of Martin and Harper, the Broncos will ride the offense to its fourth straight season with at least 12 wins.

CFN Prediction: Boise State 40 … Arizona State 17
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Boise State -13.5   O/U: 67 
 
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Boise State DRILLS an Arizona State team just looking to move on. The Sun Devils might finally wake up for the bowl, but it won't matter. Boise State owns bowl games like this.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Sans a head coach, it’ll be interesting to see how fading Arizona State gets up for a date with Boise State. Heck, the Broncos will have their own problems getting motivated for this trip to Vegas.

By Matt Zemek
See the above statement. If Boise gives a damn, it’s a blowout.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Can we call this the disappointment bowl? Kellen Moore deserves better - say, something more sweet? (Sugar Bowl, I’m looking in your direction)

By Russ Mitchell
You think that Boise State cares that Va Tech is playing in a BCS Bowl Game? Seriously, how does this not suck for CFB? BSU vs. ASU? ASU is in a bowl game?

By Terry Johnson
Boise State faces Arizona State in what promises to be an offensive shootout between two of the nation’s best QB’s in Kellen Moore and Brock Osweiler.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Love this match up. How will Boise play without the moniker of underdog, and with the disappointment of not being in a BCS bowl?
 
Best Bowl Moments

Best Bronco Bowl Moment: Is there really any debate? Boise State arguably delivered the most memorable and thrilling performance in bowl history in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, a 43-42 overtime upset of Oklahoma. A frequent participant in the local Humanitarian Bowl, the Broncos took their inventive brand of football on the road, winning on a Statue of Liberty two-pointer that’ll forever be a part of sports lore. The electrifying finish made the Broncos’ earlier exploits – including a tying hook-and-lateral touchdown at the end of regulation – look almost pedestrian by comparison.

Best Sun Devil Bowl Moment: The 1983 Fiesta Bowl takedown of Oklahoma was fun, but the 1975 Fiesta Bowl win over a mighty Nebraska team is the postseason game that first catapulted Arizona State to national prominence on a particularly large scale. Iconic coach Frank Kush, the best coach in ASU history, outfoxed a young Tom Osborne in a game which hastened ASU’s rise from the Western Athletic Conference to the Pac-10 a few years later.

Las Vegas Bowl History
2010 Boise State 26, Utah 3
2009 BYU 44, Oregon State 20
2008 Arizona 31, BYU 21
2007 BYU 17, UCLA 16
2006 BYU 38, Oregon 8
2005 California 35, BYU 28
2004 Wyoming 24, UCLA 21
2003 Oregon St 44, New Mexico 14
2002 UCLA 27, New Mexico 13
2001 Utah 10, USC 6
2000 UNLV 31, Arkansas 14
1999 Utah 17, Fresno State 16
1998 North Carolina 20, San Diego State 13
1997 Oregon 41, Air Force 13
1996 Nevada 18, Ball State 15
1995 Toledo 40, Nevada 37 (OT)
1994 UNLV 52, Central Michigan 24
1993 Utah State 42, Ball State 33
1992 Bowling Green 35, Nevada 34

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