Washington and Boise State meet in the 2013 season opener, but will first meet Saturday in the MAACO Law Vegas Bowl.
No. 20 Boise is going for a three-peat in this bowl game after defeating Utah and Arizona State in blowout fashion in each of the past two seasons while aiming for the school’s fourth consecutive bowl win.
Washington had no answer for Robert Griffin III and Baylor in the Alamo Bowl last season and gave up 67 points that led to a shakeup on the defensive coaching staff. New defensive coordinator for the Huskies is Justin Wilcox and will be a familiar face to Boise fans after serving in the same role on Chris Petersen’s staff from 2006-2009
Washington is well aware they are coming off a loss to Washington State in the regular season finale where they blew an 18-point lead, but has made major inroads in one season to a defense that gave up nearly 39 points per game last season.
The Huskies are giving up 23.8 points per game this season, and won’t face the typical high-octane Boise attack that has dazzled college football fans for the better part of the last decade.
The Broncos can still light up a scoreboard, as they do average more than 30 points per game, but defense has been the calling card of the 2012 team.
Boasting a top-10 defense in terms of scoring and yards allowed led by Demarcus Lawrence and J.C. Percy will put the pressure on Huskies quarterback Keith Price and make it difficult for the Huskies to move the chains with much regularity.
Price must look to his security blanket and one of the nation’s elite tight ends–Austin Seferian-Jenkins who led the team with 63 receptions, 791 yards and six touchdowns to get rid of the ball quickly and avoid sacks.
If Price can find ASJ early and often, then Washington can stick with Boise, but I have trust issues with the quarterback who has had his ups and downs this year–including his role in the 18-point collapse vs. the Cougars.
Conversely, Boise’s quarterback Joe Southwick is playing his best football of late in his first season behind center and has seven touchdowns over his last three games without an interception.
I’ll side with the quarterback that has limited turnovers, a defense that has played stellar all season, and a coach that knows how to win bowl games.
Boise State wins 37-24
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