2012 MAACO Las Vegas - UW vs. Boise St

Posted Dec 22, 2012

2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 MAACO Las Vegas

2012 MAACO Las Vegas

Boise State 28, Wash. 26

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central 

- MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Analysis & Breakdown

National Rankings
W   B
99th Total Offense 76th
30th Total Defense 9th
88th Scoring Offense 6th
37th Scoring Defense 6th
90th Rushing Offense 51st
66th Run Defense 39th
86th Passing Offense 79th
16th Passing Defense 4th
31st Turnover Margin 5th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
W   B
4.5 Quarterbacks 3
4.5 RBs 3.5
2.5 Receivers 3.5
2.5 O Line 4
4 D Line 4
3.5 Linebackers 4
4 Secondary 5
3.5 Spec Teams 4.5
3.5 Coaching 5
(AP) LAS VEGAS -- The last two times Boise State played in the Las Vegas Bowl, there were other places the Broncos wanted to be. Not so on Saturday, when the smallest player on the team came up big in a 28-26 victory over Washington.

After two straight blowouts in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Broncos had to work hard for a win sealed by a 27-yard field goal by 5-foot-5 Michael Frisina with 1:16 left. It left them feeling good about a game and a season when, unlike the last two years, there was hardly any talk about Boise State being in a BCS game.

"The most satisfying thing about this season was each week you'd see us get just a little bit better," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "These guys, they don't go through the motions. They have a chip on their shoulder."

The win capped another strong year for the No. 20 Broncos (11-2), who had to overcome a 205-yard rushing game by Bishop Sankey against their normally stingy defense. Sankey also had 74 yards receiving, giving him 279 of Washington's 447 yards from scrimmage.

But it was Frisina who came up with the biggest game of his career in his final game. He kicked three field goals, including the first game winner he could ever recall booting.

"It's every kicker's dream to win a big game with a field goal," Frisina said. "For this one to come on the last game of my career, you couldn't ask for anything more.'

Washington (7-6) had taken the lead for the first time on a 38-yard field goal by Travis Coons with 4:09 left when Boise State (No. 19 BCS, No. 20 AP) got a big kickoff return by freshman Shane Williams-Rhodes to the Washington 42. Joe Southwick guided the team to the 12 before Frisina hit the winning kick.

"I was just focused on what I had to do," Frisina said. "I'm there as the insurance guy, I guess you'd say."

Boise State sealed the win when Jeremy Ioane intercepted Keith Price's pass as the Huskies neared midfield.

"To their credit they found a way to win the game in the end," said Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. "Our inability to finish is pretty blaring."

Sankey, who was third on the depth list when fall practice began, rushed 30 times and caught six passes in the biggest game of his career. He scored one touchdown and was the MVP of the game, despite being on the losing side.

"There's a lot of mixed emotions going on," Sankey said. "The MVP doesn't mean so much when you come out a loser."

Frisina was only 12 for 17 on field goals coming into the game, but kicked three of them, including a 34-yarder to open the scoring that was his first field goal over 30 yards for the year.

Southwick, meanwhile, had another efficient game, completing 26 of 38 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns for a Boise State team that struggled offensively through much of the season before improving over its last three games.

"All year I knew I could play at this level," he said. "It's just a lot of work, a lot of moving parts to put the puzzle together. The last three games it's really showed. We've just been executing at a high level in the offense."

Southwick, a junior who took over from the departing Kellen Moore, also ran for 39 yards and had a punt that pinned Washington by its goal line in the fourth quarter.

Boise State, which outscored Utah and Arizona State 82-24 in its two previous Las Vegas Bowl wins, looked headed for a third straight blowout when Holden Huff scored on a 34-yard pass with 5:25 left in the second quarter for an 18-3 lead. But Sankey scored on a 26-yard run on Washington's next possession, and Price scrambled for another score with 3 seconds left to make it 18-17 at halftime.

The teams traded long drives in the third quarter, with Boise going 74 yards in 15 plays to open the second half, and Washington responding with a 75 yard, 12 play drive. The Huskies went for a 2-point conversion that would have tied it, but the pass was incomplete.

Sankey kept Washington in the game almost by himself in the first half, scoring the first touchdown for the Huskies and gaining huge chunks of yardage against the normally stingy Bronco defense.

Of the 238 yards Washington gained in the half, Sankey had 178 of them. He ran 16 times for 130 yards and stretched out two short passes for another 48 yards.

Boise State was playing without starting defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, the team's sack leader. Lawrence was sent home Thursday for violating unspecified team rules, his second suspension of the season.

The two teams had met only once before, but they won't have to wait long to meet again. They will play in the opener of Washington's new stadium next August.

Washington (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2) Dec. 22, 3:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Washington and Boise State, separated by 500 miles, have met just one time in history. They'll become quite familiar, though, over the next eight months.

Not only are the Huskies and Broncos meeting this weekend in Las Vegas, but also in the 2013 opener on Aug. 31 that will re-open newly-renovated Husky Stadium and again in 2015 in Boise. The Broncos know their way around Vegas and Sam Boyd Stadium, having beaten a Pac-12 opponent in this event in each of the last two Decembers.

Boise State has already won at least 10 games for the tenth time in the last 11 years, but this was not your typical Chris Petersen team. Yeah, it begins the postseason at No. 19 in the BCS standings, but this first team of the post-Kellen Moore era was never a serious threat for a BCS bowl game since dropping the opener to Michigan State. The Broncos were able to earn a share of the Mountain West title in their final year before heading to the Big East, but hit a wall with a 21-19 home loss to San Diego State on Nov. 3.

It's been an up-and-down fourth season at U-Dub for Steve Sarkisian. The program made waves with a nationally-televised upset of No. 8 Stanford on Sept. 27, but couldn't sustain in consecutive losses to Oregon, USC and Arizona. And while Washington rallied with a four-game winning streak, even briefly cracking the Top 25, it closed out the regular season with an epic fourth-quarter collapse to rival Washington State for the Apple Cup.

After using just a couple of seniors, Washington is treating the bowl game like the start of 2013. And why not? The ink is almost dry on 2012, but next year could be the one that the Huskies finally compete for a Pac-12 title. Rebounding from the loss in Pullman, and gaining a little momentum for the offseason are top priorities for a school that could be in the early stages of a special season next season next fall.

Players to Watch: The most important matchup of the afternoon—by far—will occur in the trenches when Washington has the ball.

The Huskies have had problems all season at the point of attack, ranking 101st nationally in sacks allowed. Injuries and poor pass protection skills have been a particular headache for harried QB Keith Price, who has gone from No. 7 in the country in passing efficiency a year ago to No. 77 today. The junior must now evade a terrific pass rush led by DE Demarcus Lawrence, a budding star in Boise. An explosive athlete coming off the edge, Lawrence leads the Mountain West with 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and four fumbles.

The Broncos have gone with Joe Southwick as Moore's successor. And he's starting to pay dividends.

The junior has modest physical ability, but has saved his best play for the end of the regular season. He won't stretch a defense or do much with his legs, but he has thrown seven touchdown passes without a pick over the last three games. He'll be going up against a defense that has improved markedly for first-year coordinator Justin Wilcox. The Huskies are littered with pups, such as underclassmen Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson, Travis Feeney, John Timu and Shaq Thompson, who were all named honorable mention All-Pac-12. However , Southwick's biggest worry will be finding an open receiver if next-level CB Desmond Trufant negates top target Matt Miller.

The Broncos are light on stars at the skill positions. The Huskies don't have that problem.

Bishop Sankey has rushed for 1,234 yards and 15 scores in his debut as Chris Polk's successor. WR Kasen Williams will create matchup problems on the outside. And TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was a Mackey Award finalist. The challenge for Price, though, will be to complete passes on an air-tight secondary that's allowed a nation's-low three touchdown passes all year. With Jamar Taylor sticking to Williams, it'll be up to someone other than Seferian-Jenkins to make plays in the passing game.

Washington will win if … Boise State RB D.J. Harper struggles to find running room.

The Huskies are confident that they can shut down Southwick on Saturday with a talented and active back seven. However, U-Dub has gotten in trouble this season when the linemen and linebackers are unable to adequately fill running lanes. This has been the Broncos' worst offense in years, a situation that really unravels when Harper is bottled up, and the field compresses on Southwick. Despite its preponderance of offensive talent, Washington's biggest wins of 2012, like Stanford and Oregon State, have come when Wilcox's unit was playing at its highest level.

Boise State will win if … it wins at the line of scrimmage.

Not only must the Broncos create space for Harper and time for Southwick, but they have to exploit Washington's fractures along the O-line. Regardless of what's transpired this year, Price has enough talent to provide the Huskies with balance when he has time to survey the field. Boise State must thrive in the pass rush, even if Lawrence ends up getting double-teamed. Tackles Mike Atkinson and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe can penetrate from the inside, while speedy rookie end Sam Ukwuachu takes full advantage of the attention Lawrence receives on the opposite side.

What Will Happen: Give Petersen and his staff three weeks to prepare, and they'll find a way to bring home a W in the postseason.

This may not be a memorable Boise State squad, but it has enough talent, especially on defense, to gut out a victory over an erratic Washington squad. The Huskies are brimming with young talent, but still haven't been able to put it all together on a consistent basis. Neither offense will sustain many long drives, sputtering out and punting often. The Huskies will be frustrated by the no-name Broncos D, falling short on third down and in the red zone. A mistake-free game out of Southwick will help Boise State eke out a third straight victory in this game.

CFN Prediction: Boise State 26 … Washington 23

ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Boise State -6 O/U: 46

Las Vegas Bowl History
2012 Boise State 28, Washington 26
2011 Boise State 56, Arizona State 24
2010 Boise State 26, Utah 3
2009 BYU 44, Oregon State 20
2008 Arizona 31, BYU 21
2007 BYU 17, UCLA 16
2006 BYU 38, Oregon 8
2005 California 35, BYU 28
2004 Wyoming 24, UCLA 21
2003 Oregon St 44, New Mexico 14
2002 UCLA 27, New Mexico 13
2001 Utah 10, USC 6
2000 UNLV 31, Arkansas 14
1999 Utah 17, Fresno State 16
1998 North Carolina 20, San Diego State 13
1997 Oregon 41, Air Force 13
1996 Nevada 18, Ball State 15
1995 Toledo 40, Nevada 37 (OT)
1994 UNLV 52, Central Michigan 24
1993 Utah State 42, Ball State 33
1992 Bowling Green 35, Nevada 34