2011 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas
Arizona St Sun Devils vs #7 Boise St Broncos
Sam Boyd Stadium – Las Vegas, Nevada
Thursday, December 22, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Boise St -11 1/2
Current Line: Boise St -14
Opening Total: 65
Current Total: 66 1/2
Opening Money Line: Boise St -520 / Arizona St +420
Current Money Line: Boise St -550 / Arizona St +450
Though there are worse places to be than Las Vegas the week before Christmas, neither Boise St or Arizona St expected to be playing in this bowl as of last month. Heading into November, Arizona St was 6-2 under coach Dennis Erickson and looked to be cruising to the Pac 12 South Division title. However, the Sun Devils lost their last 4 games by a total of 24 points to fall to 6-6 and were barely bowl eligible. Erickson was fired but will coach the Sun Devils in this game. He was replaced by former Pitt coach Todd Graham for next season.
The Sun Devils have road losses to Illinois 17-14, Oregon 41-27, UCLA 29-28, Washington St 37-27, and home losses to Arizona 31-27, and California 47-38. Arizona St has wins over Missouri 37-30 in overtime, USC 43-22, and Utah 35-14. Arizona St is 12-11-1 in bowl games. The last bowl game for the Sun Devils was the 2007 Holiday Bowl, where they lost 52-34 to Texas.
Boise St is 11-1 this season under coach Chris Peterson and ranked #7 in the BCS Standings. The only loss came at home to TCU 36-35. The Broncos had a chance to win but kicker Dan Goodale missed a field goal as time expired. The Broncos thought they might get an at large bid to a BCS bowl game but the Sugar Bowl selected Virginia tech and Michigan instead. Boise has wins against Georgia 35-21 in Atlanta, at Toledo 40-15, at home versus Tulsa 41-21, Nevada 30-10, Air Force 37-26, Wyoming, 36-14, and at San Diego St 52-35. Boise St is 7-5 in bowl games in their history, and is playing in their 10th straight bowl game. Last year, the Broncos beat Utah 26-3 in Las Vegas. Arizona St beat Boise St in the only previous meeting 56-7 in 1996 in Tempe. That was the first year the Broncos moved up from Division 1-AA.
Arizona St is averaging 451 yards a game including 310.2 passing yards and 140.8 rushing yards. The passing game is #10 in the country. The Sun Devils are scoring 33.9 points a game. Arizona St is in the top 25 in total offense and scoring offense. ASU has 21 turnovers and has allowed 24 sacks this season. The Sun Devils are 76/182 on third and fourth down conversions and 45/55 scoring in the red zone with 34 touchdowns. Arizona St is giving up 419.5 total yards a game including 148.6 rushing yards and 270.9 passing yards. The pass defense is #107 out of 120 teams. The Sun Devils are allowing 26.3 points a game on defense. ASU has forced 29 turnovers and 26 sacks this season. Sun Devil opponents are 68/184 on third and fourth down conversions, and 38/47 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns. ASU averages 8 penalties a game for 79 yards. The Sun Devils have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler is 296/469 passing (63.1% completions) for 3,641 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 75 carries for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Cameron Marshall has 219 carries, 1,038 yards, and 18 touchdowns, along with 23 catches for 192 yards. Jamal Miles and Kyle Middlebrooks also get significant carries. Receiver Gerell Robinson has 64 receptions, 1,156 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Aaron Pflugrad has 40 catches, 620 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Mike Willie has 36 catches, 455 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Miles had 60 catches, 361 yards, and 6 touchdowns along with 29 carries for 237 yards. He also has a touchdown pass in his only attempt of the year. Miles has 2 kick returns and a punt return for touchdowns, and has over 1,200 all purpose yards. The dangerous Miles will miss the Maaco Bowl due to undisclosed personal problems. Kicker Alex Garoutte is 49/50 on extra points, and 14/21 on field goals with a long of 49 yards. ASU has 9 players listed on the injury report that are out for the season including 6 defensive players.
Boise St is averaging 483.1 total yards and 43.2 points a game, both are in the top 10 nationally. The Broncos throw for 309.5 yards and rush for 173.6 yards a game. The Broncos have 15 turnovers and have allowed 8 sacks this year. Boise is 99/188 on third and fourth down conversions, and 53/65 scoring in the red zone with 47 touchdowns. The Broncos are allowing 315.6 yards and 18.2 points a game, both are in the top 16 nationally. Teams are rushing for 120.1 yards a game against the Broncos and passing for 195.5 yards. The pass defense is ranked #25 in the country, and the rush defense is #23. Boise has forced 24 turnovers and 20 sacks so far this season. Bronco opponents are 62/186 on third and fourth down conversions, and 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns. The Broncos have two defensive touchdowns this season.
Boise St quarterback Kellen Moore is 300/405 passing for 3,507 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions this year. He wraps up a brilliant college career in this game where he set the career record for wins by a quarterback and is second in yards and touchdown passes. Running back Doug Martin has 232 carries, for 1,148 yards, and 15 touchdown runs, along with 25 catches, 229 yards, and 2 touchdowns. D.J. Harper has 114 carries, 553 yards, and 8 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Drew Wright has 43 carries, 218 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Tyler Shoemaker has 59 catches, for 959 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Matt Miller has 58 catches, 647 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Mitch Burrows has 45 catches, 441 yards and a touchdown along with 16 carries for 84 yards and 2 touchdown runs. Gabe Linehan has 23 catches, 252 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Efaw has 26 catches, 226 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Kicker Dan Goodale is 50/56 on extra points and 3/5 on field goals with a long of 32 yards. Michael Frisina is 13/15 on extra points and 3/4 on field goals with a long of 30 yards. The Broncos are banged up with 7 players listed as questionable or out including 3 running backs and 3 defensive players.
Boise St is 4-8 against the spread and the total is 7-5 this season. Arizona St is 3-8-1 ATS and the total is 10-2 in those games. The Sun Devils are 8-2-1 ATS as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, 6-2-1 after allowing 40 points or more, 6-2-3 as an underdog, 7-3-2 after a straight up win, 2-5 after failing to cover, and in bowl games, 1-3-1 against teams with winning records, and on field turf, 1-5 in December games, and 0-4 overall. The Broncos are 5-0 ATS in neutral site games, 6-1 in Thursday games, 8-2 in bowl games, 5-2-1 against Pac 10/12 teams, 25-12-1 in non-conference games, 2-5 in December, 1-4 after scoring 40 points or more, and after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 0-5 after failing to cover, after a straight up win, and on turf, 0-6 as a favorite, as a favorite of 10.5 points, and overall.
If Boise St is motivated they will destroy a mediocre Arizona St team. That is a big if, as the Broncos were disappointed they weren’t selected for a higher profile bowl. Publicly, the Broncos players are saying all the right things about how they are happy to be here, but they might go through the motions once the game starts. Strangely, Arizona St might have even less motivation as they have a lame duck coach and have lost 4 straight games. Arizona St struggles to say the least against the pass, and I could see Kellen Moore shredding the porous ASU secondary.