Cornhuskers receiver says UW talked throughout earlier meeting and assures the Huskies will get Nebraska's best shot in Thursday's Holiday Bowl.
The common perception of the Holiday Bowl is that it’s Washington that will have all the motivational edges, seeking revenge against a Nebraska team that beat it 56-21 earlier this year and happy to be in the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Nebraska receiver Niles Paul, however, says the Cornhuskers have motivation enough in wanting to get an 11th win for the first time since 2001 and erase the sour taste of a loss in the Big 12 title game to Oklahoma.
And if that’s not enough, the senior said Nebraska merely has to remember the first meeting with UW and how much he says the Huskies chattered at the Huskers on the field.
“This team likes to talk,” he said of the Huskies. “So I’m pretty sure they will motivate us out there on the field.”
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Asked to elaborate, Paul said: “They talked a lot of trash, a lot of trash. Before the game, during the game, after we led, after we were leading. They were nonstop. They kept going.”
He went on to say that it was “way more than most teams, more than any team I’ve been around. It has to be like a mental thing or something. But we held our mental composure and did what we were supposed to do.”
Asked what the Huskies said, Paul said, “I can’t say, football talk.”
If Paul was hoping to drag UW into a pregame War of the Words, it didn’t work, as Huskies players had little to say about Paul’s charge after practice Monday night.
“I don’t really remember any of it,” said UW linebacker Mason Foster. “That was a long time ago.”
Paul, meanwhile, insisted that the Huskies will get Nebraska’s best shot come Thursday.
“If you come out and watch practice, you see guys with a high level of intensity who can’t wait to play,” he said. “We had a disappointment in the Big 12 championship game, and in this game we feel like we are going to redeem ourselves as a team.”
• UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after Monday’s practice that defensive end Talia Crichton is almost certainly out for the Holiday Bowl. He hasn’t played since the Oregon State game Oct. 16 with a knee injury. He returned to practice after the Apple Cup but tweaked it again on Saturday.
“I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable putting him back out there,” Sarkisian said.
Backup strong safety Sean Parker is also likely to miss the game with a stinger that has sidelined him since before the UCLA game. However, Sarkisian said the injury doesn’t figure to be career-threatening.
• Cody Bruns practiced in pads for the first time since breaking his clavicle against WSU and should be able to handle holding duties, Sarkisian said.
• Paul missed Nebraska’s last two games with a foot injury but said he is optimistic he will play against the Huskies.
• Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez battled an ankle injury the last five games of the season but has been practicing and will start for the Huskers.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org