The stage was set for an emotional victory on the Arizona State Sun Devils sideline. Recently fired head coach Dennis Erickson, with tears in his eyes, spoke on national television about his time in Tempe while the team huddled together and jumped with great anticipation of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Then, Alex Garoutte kicked the ball to Doug Martin, and within 15 seconds everything changed. Martin ran the ball all the way back from inside his own endzone to give the Broncos an immediate 7-0 lead over ASU.
The Sun Devils were offensively challenged from the onset, struggling to move the chains in an effective manner. Cameron Marshall was stifled on his first three rushing attempts, picking up only four yards. Brock Osweiler's first three passes only went for a total of 15 yards, and the Devils began the game with a 1-for-3 third down conversion rate.
After stopping the Broncos one time, Kellen Moore led his offense down the field quickly, confusing ASU with a five-wide formation and locating a wide-open Tyler Shoemaker on the right side of the endzone to give Boise State a 14-0 lead.
The first quarter showed how big the chasm is between the Boise State program and ASU. The Broncos have a stable coach, an experienced core of responsible seniors which lends itself to focused leadership.
The Sun Devils have turmoil in the coaching ranks, being coached by several staff members who are already fired or signed up to coach at other programs next season. One of their seniors has been benched for his bad attitude (Vontaze Burfict) and can't seem to play defense.
ASU committed a ridiculous amount of penalties on their next drive (3 for 19 yards) which pinned them back deep in their own end. Once again, they were forced to punt, which allowed Boise to start a drive on ASU's 48-yard line. Fortunately, a Moore pass bounced off Shoemaker's hands and was intercepted by Clint Floyd, giving the Sun Devils a much-needed boost.
After moving the ball nicely for several plays, the Devils committed another big mistake -- a third-down snap from Garth Gerhart whizzed by Osweiler which effectively ruined any shot at scoring. After the loss of yardage, ASU was forced to punt.
The first quarter ended with Boise State moving the ball to the BSU 29-yard line, leading 14-0. The Broncos must feel pretty confident after such a lackadaisical display by the Sun Devils.
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