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No. 8 Boise rolls in MAACO Bowl, 56-24 over ASU

No. 8 Boise rolls in MAACO Bowl, 56-24 over ASU

December 23rd, 2011 by OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press in News

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas might not have been the capper No. 8 Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore wanted for his college career, but the NCAA's winningest passer got to end his run the way he wanted - with one more win.

"You got to finish things off," Moore said after leading the Broncos (12-1) to an easy 56-24 win over Arizona State on Thursday night.

He threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, though he also had two interceptions and lost a fumble. The turnovers won't matter as fans in Idaho remember their greatest star, who's set school records for passing yards, touchdowns, completions and total offense, and finished fifth all-time among NCAA quarterbacks for passing yards while racking up 50 total wins.

"We always talk about finish seasons or finish games," Moore said. "You're talking about finishing careers, so there's no reason to settle or relax."

Boise State was able to rest easy from the game's start.

Doug Martin returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, giving No. 8 Boise State a lead 14 seconds into the game. Martin rushed for 151 yards and another touchdown and was voted the game's MVP.

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

"It spread the word about Boise State," Moore said. "We took advantage of opportunities to elevate this program."

Coach Chris Petersen said the program will miss Moore.

"I have no idea what we're going to do without Kellen Moore - so don't even ask," Petersen said before reporters could ask a question during a news conference after the game.

Boise State finished seventh in the BCS standings, but wasn't invited to one of its big-money bowl games. The Mountain West and Pac 12 conferences each received $1.1 million for the MAACO Bowl.

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.

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.

"When you're at a good place with good people, good things happen," Moore said.

Petersen said it was important to put a stamp on the careers of Moore and his fellow seniors.

"These guys took it up a notch or two," Petersen said. "It was extremely important to the coaching staff and this team."

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.

Boise State finished with a bowl record in points scored by a single team, and the teams combined for the highest scoring game in the bowl's 20-year history.

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 395 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.

"In a game like this, momentum is everything, and we didn't capitalize and they did," Robinson said.

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.

Moore said he's not sure where his future in professional football may go.

"I focused on this thing first. (I'm) looking to the opportunities ahead of (me)," Moore said. "We've been playing well for four years and you want to see where you can go from here."