ASU looks to send Erickson out a winner

slider dennis_ericksonDennis Erickson and Arizona State football have only one night left together.

Thursday under the lights at Sam Boyd Stadium on what is expected to be a chilly Las Vegas night, ASU (6-6) will try to send Erickson out a winner when they face 7th-ranked Boise State (11-1) in the MAACO Bowl.

It has been a turbulent couple weeks in Tempe as new coach Todd Graham was hastily ushered to the Valley, leaving Pitt after just one season. Just days later, the Sun Devils announced starting defensive end Junior Onyeali will not play against the Broncos after a reported heated exchange with Erickson at Monday’s practice. The Devils may also be without the services of versatile Jamal Miles who missed a team function over the weekend.

“The goal at the beginning of the year for any college football team is to play in a bowl game,” Erickson said. “I am so proud of my players and my coaching staff. We are playing one of the nation’s top teams in Boise State.” 

For Boise, this is an opportunity to take out three weeks of frustration after being passed over for an at-large BCS bid. Chris Petersen’s team always performs well in bowl games and is led by senior signal-caller Kellen Moore and a host of gifted skill players.

“We are excited about returning to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas,” Petersen explained referencing their 26-3 win over Utah last year. “This senior class is excited about playing another bowl game.”

Each school will look to their quarterbacks and talented receivers to exploit the others secondaries who have had their issues, especially at ASU where the Devils back half has been routinely torched during their current four-game losing streak. In the Broncos lone loss, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw for 473 yards and five scores.

Kickoff is set for shortly after 6:00 on Thursday with television coverage on ESPN.