MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State Broncos vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Dec. 22, 8:00 pm ET
Sam Boyd Stadium (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The MAACO Las Vegas Bowl matches two teams who appear to be heading in opposite directions. Boise State - sans a loss to TCU, could have conceivably been preparing for a national championship game right now- enters as winners of four in a row and are 11-1 overall. Arizona State – fresh off the firing of head coach Dennis Erickson – went into a tailspin and lost its final four games, after getting off to a 6-2 start.
Making This All Possible
What is a cooler name: MAACO or King of Prussia? Personally, I would choose the latter but people far more business-savvy than myself decided to call the auto painting and collision repair shop chain MAACO (originally AAMCO). Of course, I highly doubt King of Prussia was ever considered, since…well…that is where the headquarters for MAACO is located.
Get to know: Boise State
Ranked No. 7 in the BCS, I am intrigued to see how Chris Peterson has his Boise State team prepared for a 6-6 battle against Arizona State.
Boise State will be sending out its 10th consecutive senior class to win 40-or-more games during their careers. A win in the Las Vegas Bowl will give the Boise State senior class win number 50.
All 49 of the victories have been with the same quarterback (a record), Kellen Moore. Moore and his 41 touchdowns and 300 completions this season are both Boise State season-records. The list of Moore’s records goes on and on from there.
Getting to Kellen Moore is no easy feat either; Boise State has only allowed eight sacks the entire season, tied for fewest nationally.
Outside of Moore, Boise State is led by running back Doug Martin (1148 yards, 15 TDs), receivers Tyler Shoemaker (959 yards, 15 TDs) and Matt Miller (647 yards – eight TDs). As for the defense, it's ranked 16th nationally, allowing 5.13 yards per play in 2011.
Get to know: Arizona State
Though Arizona State will be playing in its 25th bowl game in school history, the only member on the current ASU roster that has played in a bowl is Omar Bolden (2007 Holiday Bowl). Befitting of the season, Bolden will not play in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl due to injury.
Much to the chagrin of the Arizona State season, is the record-setting year by junior running back Cameron Marshall who is tied with Woody Green (1972) and Terry Battle (1996) at 18 single-season rushing touchdowns. (Marshall is 10 rushing TDs shy of Woody Green’s career mark)
Brock Osweiler who- as you may know- is tallest quarterback in the country, did enjoy many successes in his inaugural season as starter for Arizona State. Distinguished marks from Osweiler’s first as a starter: 3,641 passing yards (2nd all-time), 469 pass attempts (2nd all-time), 296 completions (1st all-time), 24 TDs (5th all-time).
Offensively Arizona State is 25th-best in the country; that obviously has not been the problem. Defensively however, the Sun Devils were just offensive. Arizona State's 89th-ranked defense progressively worsened as the season went along . Three times Arizona State opponents went over 500 yards and for the season they allowed 419.5 per contest. (Throw out the UC Davis opener and that number jumps to 435.54)
You Should Know…
Two years deposed from losing to Youngstown State – coached by Jim Tressel – in the Division I-AA championship game, Boise State barged into the Division I-A ranks in 1996 without the coach who lead the Broncos there. Shortly after the 1994 championship game, Boise State head coach Pokey Allen was diagnosed with rhabdomysocarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer. Allen returned in 1995, though a relapse sidelined the coach in 1996, when Boise State and Arizona State would meet for the first, and only time. Boise lost to the Sun Devils 56-7. Arizona State would finish the 1996 regular season undefeated with a Pac-10 championship, before losing 20-17 to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Pokey Allen would succumb to cancer on December 30, 1996; three weeks after Boise State’s final game in 1996, which he returned to coach.
Remember Boise State’s 2007 Fiesta Bowl come-from-behind win? It came 10 years to the day after Allen’s burial. A fitting tribute to the man who helped build Boise State into the program you see today.
If You’re Going
Las Vegas being Las Vegas, there obviously is plenty to do in the city that never sleeps.
If you are making your first trip to Las Vegas and you are not appealed to gamble your hard-earned money away, I will suggest a restaurant that you must visit before you leave. If you make reservations at Joel Robuchon, for starters, you get a free limo ride to the once-in-a-lifetime 16-course tasting menu. At nearly $400 bucks a head, it is pricey, but where else can you get rice pilaf with frog leg fricassee?
If You’re Watching At Home
There are several breweries in the city of Las Vegas. If you are watching this game from your abode and can find anything from Big Dog’s, Gordon Biersch, Triple 7 or Sin City Beer that will be your ticket to the flavor of the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.
Boise State will be itching for a statement versus an Arizona State team that has disappointed in 2011. One side has one of the hottest commodities in the coaching business, Chris Peterson, the other; Dennis Erickson has been fired and replaced by the now hated former Pitt head coach Todd Graham
Boise State will revenge the 1996 loss and if Pokey Allen has anything to do with it, trickeration will be involved.
Does anyone think Kellen Moore is losing his final game as a Bronco? I don’t.
Boise State 34, Arizona State 21