A look at the numbers that mattered in Boise State's 56-24 destruction of Arizona State last night in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
2: Ways in which game MVP Doug Martin scored a touchdown. Boise State's senior running back returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, then did his normal thing. He rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown and threw in three catches for 26 yards, just for good measure. Including returns, Martin touched the ball 36 times (in three different ways) and gained 309 yards. Quarterback Kellen Moore has long been the face of the Boise State program, but he's gotten so much help. Martin might be better than Ian Johnson ever was, and Boise State has fielded some of the best offensive and defensive lines in recent history.
4: Return touchdowns. Four of 11 touchdowns in this game were scored by a unit other than the offense. Martin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, then Arizona State's Rashad Ross did the same to start the second half -- one of the odder feats you will see in any bowl season. Boise State's defense then took over -- Jamar Taylor returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown, then Travis Stanaway scored one of the easiest touchdowns in the history of football when a Cameron Marshall fumble bounced right into his arms and he took a 26-yard, leisurely stroll to the end zone.
5.1: Average yards gained by the Brock Osweiler passes not targeting Gerell Robinson. The Arizona State receiver posted some crazy stats for the game: 17 targets, 13 catches, 241 yards and a touchdown. The problem was, he was the only player even remotely effective. Osweiler's other passes only found their mark 17 of 30 times for 154 yards. And considering Cam Marshall was woefully ineffective -- 12 touches, eight yards -- that made the Sun Devils far too one-dimensional to succeed against a good defense. Despite Marshall's great work, Arizona State was only able to score two offensive touchdowns, the same as Boise State's defense.
10: Receivers who caught a pass from Kellen Moore. Boise State's passing game was the direct opposite of ASU's. Only one player caught more than four passes, and ten caught at least one.
20.8: Value, in equivalent points (as defined here), of Arizona State's two turnovers. This game was a perfect example of why turnover points tell more of a story than simply turnovers. In the box score, ASU was plus-one in the turnover margin, three to two. But both of ASU's turnovers were returned for touchdowns (included the dreaded Notre Dame Special™, the "drive to the 1-yard line, then give up a 100-yard touchdown" maneuver. Meanwhile, Boise's three turnovers were far less costly -- they were worth only 14.0 equivalent points.
50: Kellen Moore's career wins. Again, Moore was not the single reason this team won 50 games, but he was the leader of an incredible group of seniors. The Broncos will almost certainly still be good next year, as Matt Miller, Mitch Burroughs and others catch passes from a quarterback like Joe Southwick or Grant Hedrick and defensive linemen like Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Tyler Horn take their turns at pursuing opposing quarterbacks. But the list of great seniors on this team is jarring: Moore. Running backs Doug Martin and D.J. Harper. Receiver Tyler Shoemaker. Tight end Kyle Efaw. Linemen Nate Potter (tackle), Cory Yriarte (center) and Chuck Hayes (guard). Defensive ends Tyrone Crawford, Shea McClellin (who had three tackles for loss last night) and Jarrell Root. Linebackers Byron Hout and Aaron Tevis. Defensive backs Cedric Febis, Travis Stanaway and George Iloka. Almost none of them were highly touted recruits, but they proved both athletic, talented and disciplined enough to win 50 games in four seasons.
Moore, however, was indeed the face of the program and one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NCAA history. Not bad for somebody who only had offers from Boise State and Eastern Washington. (You blew it, Washington State.)