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.