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Boise State made a case; Broncos played like a Top 10 team

Hey, BCS -- No. 8 Boise State wants your attention.

The Broncos see their 56-24 victory over Arizona State late Thursday night in the MAACO Bowl as more than just a win over a middle-tier Pac-12 team.

"I think we made a statement," said Doug Martin, who returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and was voted the game's MVP. "It comes down to players who have a chip on their shoulders. It shows we're here and we're winners."

Boise State (12-1) finished seventh in the BCS standings, but wasn't invited to one of its big-money bowl games -- the fourth time that has happened after the school finished within the BCS' top 10. The Mountain West and Pac-12 each received $1.1 million from the bowl.

Coach Chris Petersen said the Broncos looked at the game as another chance to showcase the program to a national audience.

"There were two things we wanted to do in this game: Start fast, and they did that, and finish strong, and they did that," Petersen said. "We had a chance to be back on ESPN and have a lot of people see our game and our team."

It also gave the Broncos a chance to say goodbye to Kellen Moore, the NCAA's winningest quarterback who led Boise State on a remarkable four-year run.

"You got to finish things off," Moore said.

He threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, though he also had two interceptions and lost a fumble. The turnovers won't matter as fans in Idaho remember the star who has set school records for passing yards, touchdowns, completions and total offense, and finished fifth among NCAA quarterbacks for passing yards while racking up 50 total wins.

"We always talk about finish seasons or finish games," Moore said. "You're talking about finishing careers, so there's no reason to settle or relax."

Along with the return, Martin ran for 151 yards and another touchdown.

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Bowling in Hawaii

HONOLULU -- As if being 5,500 miles from Hattiesburg and having Waikiki beach as a backyard wasn't enough, Conference USA champion Southern Mississippi had to deal with even more distractions.

The 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles (11-2) face Western Athletic Conference runner-up Nevada (7-5) in the Hawaii Bowl tonight (8 p.m., ESPN, Radio 550 AM) in what will be the final game under coach Larry Fedora, who will coach North Carolina next year.

Southern Miss won a school-record 11 games this season en route to capturing its first C-USA title since 2003 by upsetting Houston, 49-28.

While Southern Miss will be making its first trip since 1977, Nevada is no stranger to the islands, or the Hawaii Bowl. Nevada is playing in its seventh straight postseason game.

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