No. 8 Boise State to face Arizona State in MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

Boise State seems to have everything except a kicker -- and for that, the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas can be grateful.

Two missed field goals kept the Broncos out of a Bowl Championship Series game last season, and another errant kick cost them again this year.

The Las Vegas bowl benefited for the second year in a row, announcing Sunday that No. 8 Boise State (11-1) will represent the Mountain West Conference against Arizona State (6-6) of the Pac-12 in the Dec. 22 game at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The $1.1 million game has the first selection from the Mountain West and the fifth from the Pac-12.

Boise State will beat its own record for being the highest-rated team to play in the local game. The Broncos were ranked 10th last year, and their 26-3 victory over Utah drew 41,923, the second-largest crowd in Las Vegas bowl history. In 2006, 44,615 watched Brigham Young play Oregon.

Boise State had appeared on its way to a BCS game last year when its unbeaten season ended at UNR thanks to two missed field goals.

A missed field goal against Texas Christian kept the Broncos from perfection this season and a possible appearance in the national championship game, though the system might have put one-loss Alabama over them anyway.

"I know they're disappointed because they had a shot at the BCS," bowl executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. "We're delighted to have them here."

She stressed the significance of being the host for Kellen Moore's final game. He is college football all-time winningest quarterback, having won 49 games.

"We are excited about returning to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas and to again face a tough opponent like Arizona State," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said in a statement. "We had a great bowl experience last year, and I know the hospitality for our team and fans will again be outstanding.

"This senior class is excited about playing in another bowl, and they will work hard in getting the team ready for the game."

On the other side, Arizona State brings a team that was ranked for a while, but the Sun Devils closed the regular season by losing their final four games, resulting in the firing of coach Dennis Erickson last week. He will coach the bowl.

While it's not ideal to host a team with a lame-duck coach, Kunzer-Murphy said it beats two games in which interim coaches took over.

Kunzer-Murphy said she expects a strong turnout by Sun Devils fans.

"ASU has such a big alumni base," she said. "The fact they haven't been here says a lot. I think they'll be ready to play."

Not only is this Arizona State's first game in Las Vegas, it's the Sun Devils' first bowl appearance since the 2007 Holiday Bowl. The Sun Devils' last postseason win was in the 2005 Insight Bowl.

"The goal at the beginning of the year for any college football team is to play in a bowl game," Erickson said in a statement. "I am so proud of our players and my coaching staff.

"We are honored to be a part of it. We are playing one of the nation's top teams in Boise State as well."

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.