Google
Home Top 125 Polls Picks/Scores Feature Picks Odds PreGame PostGame Standings Bowls History Teams Links News Forum Season Preview More...

2011-2012
College Football Season
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
Preview


Bowl Index

MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas Bowl History
Boise State Boise State (11-1)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Arizona State Arizona State (6-6)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date: Thursday, December 22
Time: 8:00 pm EST
TV: ESPN

Game Preview

Courtesy Las Vegas Bowl and CFP
December 20, 2011

LAS VEGAS - The 20th edition of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas will pit the highest-ranked team in its history against a first-time visitor as Boise State meets Arizona State on Thursday, December 22 at 8 EST.

Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said, "We are ecstatic to offer this matchup to help celebrate our historic 20th year," Kunzer-Murphy said. "Boise State fans have shown they love Las Vegas as not only did they help us mark our sixth consecutive sellout a year ago, but they also came down in droves for the Broncos' game vs. UNLV earlier this season. It's also exciting to be the site of the final collegiate game for the sport's winningest quarterback, Kellen Moore.

"We are also thrilled to finally host Arizona State from the Pac-12 side. The Sun Devils are a traditionally marquee program that we know is excited about playing in its first bowl game in four years. ASU has a strong following in Southern Nevada and their campus is just over 300 miles away from Las Vegas so we expect to see a lot of maroon and gold in the stands on December 22."

For the second straight year, Boise State (BCS No. 7) comes into the bowl at 11-1 overall and finished 6-1 in conference play in its first season as a member of the Mountain West. In 2010, head coach Chris Petersen's squad was No. 10 in the final BCS Standings when it filled an at-large spot out of the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State defeated Utah 26-3 in front of the second-largest crowd in the event's history at 41,923.

Despite its close proximity to Las Vegas, Arizona State (6-6 overall, 4-5 Pac-12) will be making its first appearance in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. It will mark the first postseason trip for the Sun Devils since playing in the 2007 Holiday Bowl. It will also serve as the final game for Dennis Erickson as head coach at ASU.

"The goal at the beginning of the year for any college football team is to play in a bowl game," said Erickson. "We are grateful to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and the city of Las Vegas for giving us this opportunity."

Arizona State began the year on fire by winning 5 of its first 6 games and appeared well on its way toward capturing the PAC-12 South title and an appearance in the inaugural conference championship game. The Sun Devils rolled USC 43-22 on September 24, handing the Trojans one of its two losses. But Arizona State did a 180 in the back half of the season with just one victory in the last six games. The Sun Devils limp into Las Vegas on a 4-game losing streak. Erickson was fired after a 47-38 loss at home to Cal in the regular season finale.

For the second straight year, Boise State missed out on a perfect season because of an imperfect kicking game. This year, freshman kicker Dan Goodale missed wide right on a 39-yard field goal attempt on the final play of a 36-35 loss to TCU. Missed field goals also doomed Boise last year in a 34-31 overtime loss at Nevada.

Boise State is 49-3 over the last 4 years and 72-6 since Petersen became head coach in 2006.

This will mark only the second meeting of the two teams as then-No. 5 Arizona State defeated Boise State 56-7 on Oct. 5, 1996, in Tempe. That was Boise State's first season as an FBS member.

The Congrove Computer Rankings project Boise State as a whopping 16.03-point favorite in the contest.

The game will take place at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with an announcing crew of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Tom Rinaldi.