Gameballs for Boise State versus Arizona State

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22: Tyler Shoemaker #89 is congratulated by quarterback Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos after Moore threw a touchdown pass to Shoemaker during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 56-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Broncos blew out the Sun Devils on Thursday night in the Las Vegas Bowl, earning the 50th win for the Bronco senior class and setting a record for bowl points in the process. Not a bad way to go out.

Join me after the jump for more accolades from the Broncos' big win, and feel free to share some awards of your own in the comments.

Reader's choice award for player of the game

Doug Martin

Martin was in rare form on Thursday night, bouncing off tacklers, bursting through holes, running angry and wild and with little regard for human life. It was classic Doug Martin in every way. His 100-yard opening kickoff return touchdown was perhaps the game's biggest play and put the Sun Devils immediately behind the eight ball. His 150 rushing yards multiplied that eight ball exponentially. Martin had 31 carries for 151 yards. Arizona State had 21 carries for minus-11 yards. Yikes.

Matt Miller moment of the night

Miller's touchdown pass to Kyle Efaw

The Broncos went up 21-0 on Miller's two-yard pass to a wide open Efaw via an end around pitch from backup quarterback Grant Hedrick. Everyone seemed to know something was up once Hedrick entered the game. Well, everyone but the Sun Devils. Miller's pass to Efaw hung in the air for what seemed like an eon and there were still no Sun Devils in the area when Efaw hauled it in. I hear that the wide open receivers are the toughest ones to hit. Kirby Moore told me this.

Hit of the game

Lee Hightower

On ASU's first drive of the game, poor old Trevor Kohl caught a pass in the flats, broke a tackle, and got steamrolled by the Hightower Express who was on a dead sprint from the secondary. It was almost like Hunter White planned on missing the tackle just to give Hightower a chance to blow things up. What did Trevor Kohl ever do to anyone, asks Trevor Kohl.

Token Kellen Moore gameball

Kellen Moore

I don't really need a reason to give Moore a game ball, so nearly 300 yards passing and two touchdowns is good enough for me. My favorite Moore pass of the night was the back shoulder touchdown to Matt Miller, a pass that Kirk Herbstreit called unstoppable.

And for those of you wondering what Boise State will do without Kellen Moore next year, I have no idea what you're talking about. Denial.

Worst time out of the game

Dennis Erickson's botched T.O. attempt

Erickson tried in vain to get a time out prior to QB Brock Osweiler's ill-fated, 100-yard pick-six, probably because he didn't like the play call or he had a premonition that Osweiler would totally botch the thing. He didn't get the time out he wanted. Replays showed Erickson running down the sideline making some sort of strange hand sign that looked like he was hugging a gerbil. Not sure who taught him how to signal time out. The pick-six was under review for several minutes, perhaps so that referees and the ESPN audience could have an extended chuckle at Erickson's expense.

Classy Coach Pete move of the game

Leaving in his seniors

Bronco fans have long asked for extended playing time for players like Kellen Moore and Doug Martin, and we finally got our wish on Thursday night as Coach Pete let his seniors play all the way to the end. Was it weird to see Moore and Co. in the game with four minutes left and a 32-point lead? Sure. Was it also very fulfilling? You bet.

Technical awards

  • Welcome back gameball: Jamar Taylor. A 100-yard pick-six is not a bad way to return to the lineup.
  • Gameball for best Gatorade: Blue. The Gatorade bath that BSU players gave Coach Pete was an appropriate blue, proving that Nike isn't the only one with a monopoly on color combos.
  • Bounce of the game: Travis Stanaway's fumble recovery. That ball wanted so desperately to be carried into the end zone.
  • Brock Osweiler failed fourth down of the game: The 4th and 4 from the Bronco 39. Though it takes some special kind of awful to turn 4th and goal from the one-yard line into seven points the other way, my favorite Osweiler Fail of the night was his demonstrative waving off of the punt team on fourth down from near midfield, followed by his incredibly poor deep pass to the middle of nowhere. Whatever the opposite of clutch is, that was Osweiler last night.
  • Gameball for strange seating assignments: The Moores. Why couldn't Mr. Moore get a seat beside Moore's wife Julie? Does he always need to be on an aisle? I can get behind that.

Your turn

What players, plays, and performances stood out to you in the Vegas Bowl? Who was your player of the game? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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