ASU misses chances in Boise’s 56-24 MAACO Bowl win

Arizona State wasted a record-setting game for receiver Gerell
Robinson and repeated chances to hang with No. 8 Boise State
Thursday night in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, falling 56-24 and
failing to send off outgoing coach Dennis Erickson on a winning
note.

”In a game like this, momentum is everything, and we didn’t
capitalize and they did,” said Robinson, who had 241 receiving
yards and caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the
Broncos had already scored 49 points.

”If you aren’t able to score off turnovers, you will pretty
much lose,” Robinson said.

The heavy underdogs – Las Vegas sports books had the Sun Devils
as two-touchdown underdogs – forced three turnovers, but punted
each drive after two interceptions and misplayed the drive after a
fumble recovery into a 100-yard touchdown for Boise’s defense on an
interception.

”We kind of had some momentum there going a little bit,”
Erickson said. ”We score there and that’s a 14-point turnaround
and maybe we can make it a football game. It didn’t happen – a guy
made a great play and that’s football.”

Boise State’s 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 game.

Arizona State (6-7) never seriously threatened the Broncos
(12-1), even though Boise State 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,” quarterback Kellen
Moore said. ”We took advantage of opportunities to elevate this
program.”

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. He finished with 293 yards and two
touchdowns, plus two interceptions and a fumble in a game that
capped his college career with 50 total wins.

”When you’re at a good place with good people, good things
happen,” Moore said.

Boise State coach Chris 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, when the Sun Devils tried to capitalize on a fumble by
Moore. 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, 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.

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.”

Follow Oskar Garcia at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia .