Boise State (11-1) makes its second consecutive appearance in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona State (6-6) in head coach Dennis Erickson’s last game before Todd Graham, Pittsburgh’s’ ex-coach, takes over next year.
The Sun Devils have lost their last four games and will be facing a Boise State team and Quarterback Kellen Moore looking for his record-setting 50th
career win. Last year, after two failed chip-shot field goals cost them a BCS berth, they won the Maaco Bowl over the Utah Utes 26-3. This year, one missed 39 yard field goal against TCU kept them out of the BCS party and has them returning to Vegas for the Maaco Bowl. This is Boise State’s 6th
consecutive 10 win season, tied with Virginia Tech; these groups of seniors are already the 10th
consecutive class to win 40 or more games. With a win over Arizona State, the 2011 Bronco class will have 50 wins.
Here are three things to keep an eye out for during the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl.
1. Kellen Moore’s Final Stand:
Kellen Moore is number one in total career wins with 49, surpassing University of Texas, Colt McCoy’s 45. His .942 win percentage is the best ever. He is second in career TD passes with 140, behind Case Keenum of Houston. Moore is fifth in career passing yards with 14,734. He is the first player in NCAA history to record four seasons with both 3,000 yards of total offense and 3,000 passing yards.
In 2011, Moore had a 74% completion rate, threw for 292.5 yards per game, and averaged 25 completions per game. He was sacked seven times in 2011 in 405 attempts, and has only been sacked eight times in his last 489 attempts dating back to last season at Nevada. Kellen Moore has thrown for a Boise State record sixteen 300-yard games and spreads the wealth. He has completed passes to at least eight receivers in all games this season. He also has 25 consecutive multiple touchdown games, the longest active streak.
The Boise State offense only had 10 drives with negative yards this year which is evidence of the efficiency of the offense under Kellen Moore. Four of those were in victory formation, simply running out the clock.
2. Arizona State MLB Vontaze Burfict against the Boise State running game:
Arizona State needs a big game from their talented middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict. If motivated, he is a difference-maker on defense and will be pivotal in stopping the Boise State running game. Burfict has the tools; his problem is focus, as was highlighted when he was benched against California in the season finale.
If Arizona State struggles against the run, the dual threat at running back for Boise State of Doug Martin and D.J. Harper will open up the play-action passing game, where Kellen Moore is at his best. If Arizona State can contain the run and slow the Broncos down, quarterback Brock Osweiler, who stands at 6 feet 8 inches and can throw downfield accurately, will take a chance against the Boise State secondary, which has some injury concerns that caused safety George Iloka to move to the corner position.
With some deep throws to senior wide receiver Gerell Robinson and wide receiver Jamal Miles, the Sun Devils, with junior running back, Cameron Marshall, who had 18 touchdowns and 1,038 yards rushing this season, will try to pull the upset. Watch Jamal Miles on special teams who has two kickoff returns for touchdowns and a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown this year.
3. Boise State’s motivation after another BCS snub:
Boise has 13 consecutive seasons with eight wins. Since 1997, BSU is 156-33 (.825) which is the best in the country. They have five consecutive wins over BCS teams, including the season opener over Georgia and have won seven of the last eight versus BCS conferences. Despite all this success, once Boise suffered their first and only loss, they had no chance of getting into a BCS game. Head coach Chris Peterson was obviously upset and when asked about the BCS, was quoted:
“Everybody is just tired of the BCS. I think that’s the bottom line. Everybody’s frustrated. Nobody even really knows what to do anymore. It doesn’t make sense to anybody. I don’t think anyone’s happy anywhere. The whole thing needs to be changed, there’s no question about it.”
If motivated, Boise State should roll in this matchup. Arizona State ranks 64th in points allowed per game with 26.3. Boise State, on the other hand, only had 15 turnovers this season, the tenth fewest in the country and when they have 10 or more days to prepare for an opponent, they are 22-2.
Boise State should get Kellen Moore its 50th
win and send him out a winner. How motivated they are will probably determine the margin of victory. Next year, the Broncos join the Big East, hoping to avoid any further BCS snubs due to their conference or schedule.