Boise State smashed Arizona State 56-24 in the 2011 Maaco Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game was never in doubt, and the Broncos took out their frustrations on the Sun Devils.
The Smurfs, of course, were left out of the BCS for two consecutive seasons, though this time it was much more glaring compared to last season.
Boise State came prepared as expected under Chris Petersen, and next season could be interesting without the likes of Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Nate Potter and and a cast full of defensive stars.
They open the 2012 season at Michigan State, but before I talk about that, we must go over the five things we learned in the Broncos' dominating bowl victory.
Though they blew their BCS National Championship aspirations in their loss to TCU, the Broncos proved they were worthy of an at-large bid in their obliteration over Arizona State. The game got ugly before halftime, and the muscles were flexing in all three phases of the game.
Sure, the Broncos secondary gave up a bunch of yards. However, they were winning from the opening kickoff and they never looked back.
They dominated in all areas, and Kellen Moore ended his illustrious career with victory No. 50!
Coach Pete is arguably the best coach in America. He is currently 73-6 after six seasons at Boise State and he is heading into uncharted territory.
He just finished up his fourth straight season of 12 or more wins, which included a record of 6-0 against BCS opponents (Oregon 2x, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Arizona State).
The perfect example of what he means to Boise State and college football is the fact that he is never seen on the sidelines going bonkers, and he comes up with new wrinkles to an offense every season.
He could have kept it simple against Arizona State, but in a game that had a dozen or more stud seniors playing in their final game, he once again pulled off a few trick plays.
His offense has either averaged 40 points or more per game and/or finished the season in the top five in five of his six seasons at Boise State (scoring offense).
Petersen has seemingly been offered a job from a BCS school for the past few seasons, and he continues to shy away from that and instead talk about the program that he has built into a national powerhouse.
With the move to the Big East in time for the 2013 season, the only remaining question is will he or won't he ever get a crack at the crystal ball?
Kellen Moore will indeed be missed, but nobody may ever accomplish what he has. His 142 passing touchdowns is second all-time in FBS history, and his 50 wins will likely never be touched!
Moore did throw two picks (one was on Shoemaker), but he ended up with 269 yards on 25-of-33 attempts.
No. 11 is a Smurf legend for life, and he has meant so much to the sport. He has carried that Drew Brees-type of mentality where his precision and awareness in the pocket has outweighed his mechanical and height flaws.
Most people were freaked out when Jared Zabransky had to leave Boise State, and yet Petersen found Kellen Moore out of Prosser, WA and it seemed as if the team only improved right out of the gates.
Not saying the Broncos will appear in a BCS National Championship in the immediate future, but they won't become irrelevant next season.
Doug Martin can "bernie" with the best of them, but he is also a superstar back when running downhill. Martin has the perfect frame for a back in the NFL, and has similar build when compared to Jones-Drew, Rice, Gore, Lynch and a few others.
It was helpful that he went insane in the Maaco Bowl, totaling for 301 all-purpose yards. He busted onto the scene by bringing the opening kick back to paydirt from 100 yards out.
He toted the rock 31 times (second most in career) for 151 yards and a touchdown, which were the final offensive plays run for the explosive 2011 Boise State squad. Martin was the workhorse that was arguably the most important player on the team (not named Moore).
It is amazing how the great Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit failed to mention that Martin did miss one game this season (he came in late technically, did not register anything).
It was of course the game against TCU (knee), and the offense received 125 yards from D.J. Harper, but it was not the same without the "Muscle Hamster"—at the end of the day, he was the one stud that has kept the chains moving the past three seasons.
Note: Martin was named the Game MVP!
Brock Osweiler was throwing from behind for the entire game, and he ended up with a nice 395-yard-and-1 touchdown performance. However, the Sun Devils were obliterated at the point of attacks, thanks in part to the most underrated defensive line for the past three seasons.
Billy Winn (Vegas native), Chase Baker, Shea McClellin, Tyrone Crawford, Jarrell Root and Michael Atkinson were beasts this season when healthy.
Only Atkinson will come back next season, but this defensive wall has dominated college football for the past three seasons.
In their 4-2-5 defense, the secondary is very athletic despite the loss of arguably their best corner (Jerrell Gavins). They had some issues in a few of their games this season against the pass (including vs. ASU), but the defense has had the killer instinct for years.
Whenever great teams lose key players, the backups only become that much hungrier and they reload.
Though the Broncos may not become locks to finish next season in the top five or six, we do know that Chris Petersen will be back at it with his continuing success.