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Boise strikes early, rips ASU, 56-24

December 23, 2011

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— 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 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas on the way to a 56-24 win Thursday night.

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

Arizona State missed on several opportunities to make the game closer, wasting a 241-yard receiving effort by Gerell Robinson, who caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Broncos had already scored 49 points.

Boise State quarterback Kellen 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 266 yards and two touchdowns, plus two interceptions and a fumble in a game that capped his college career with 50 total wins.

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.

The most costly mistake for Arizona State came in the third quarter, as the Sun Devils tried to capitalize 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.

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