LAS VEGAS (AP) — It wasn't the bowl Boise State wanted to be in, and for the better part of the first half Wednesday night, the Broncos played as if they were thinking about the one that got away.
Then Doug Martin raced 84 yards up the middle, and suddenly the MAACO Bowl didn't look so bad after all.
Martin shook Boise State out of its brief postseason funk with his long touchdown run midway through the second quarter, and the 10th-ranked Broncos dominated the rest of the way to beat No. 20 Utah 26-3 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
"It was a startup for our team," Martin said. "A momentum changer."
The victory was small consolation for Boise State, which missed out on a possible Rose Bowl appearance on two missed field goals last month at Nevada. But the dominating win against a team that was at one time ranked No. 6 in the country was a reminder why the Broncos rode high in the polls before suffering their only loss in two years.
It may also be a reminder for next year's poll voters not to write off a team that won every game over the last two years except the one that really mattered. The loss to Nevada not only cost the school millions of dollars in a BCS bowl bid, but some of the grudging respect others had finally given Boise State.
Count Utah coach Kyle Whittingham among the believers.
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