Boise State cornerback Lee Hightower (29) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona State wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad (4) during the first half of the Maaco Bowl NCAA college football game, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS — 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.
"It spread the word about Boise State," quarterback Kellen Moore said. "We took advantage of opportunities to elevate this program."
Boise State finished seventh in the BCS standings, but wasn't invited to one of its big-money bowl games. The Mountain West and Pac 12 conferences each received $1.1 million for the MAACO Bowl.
Arizona State missed on several opportunities to make the game closer, wasting a bowl-record 241-yard receiving effort by Gerell Robinson, who caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Broncos had already scored 49 points.
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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.
"When you're at a good place with good people, good things happen," Moore said.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen said it was important to put a stamp on the careers of Moore and his fellow seniors.
"These guys took it up a notch or two," Petersen said. "It was extremely important to the coaching staff and this team."
Moore said he's not sure where his future in football.
"I focused on this thing first. (I'm) looking to the opportunities ahead of (me)."