The Washington Huskies say that the invitation to the Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl was what they hoped for all along.
Las Vegas was where the Washington Huskies wanted to go all along.
“We were hearing a lot of options,” said quarterback Keith Price, whose team found out it would play Boise State on Dec. 22. “A lot of people wanted to go to the Las Vegas Bowl. Obviously it’s a fun place to be. But we’ve got to kind of channel the team, kind of set certain limitations and make sure that we are focused and ready for the game.”
While Las Vegas as a destination appealed to the Huskies more than, say, El Paso or Albuquerque, the opponent means UW can hardly treat the trip as a vacation.
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In fact, of the eight Pac-12 teams to make it to bowls, only two will face teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25. Oregon plays No. 7 Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, and UW against No. 20 Boise State. The Broncos finished 10-2 this season, their seventh straight season winning 10 or more games, and at 7-1 finished tie for the Mountain West Conference championship.
“Boise has done it for such an extended period of time,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian. “They have been doing this for year after year after year. So for our guys it’s just another opportunity to go play a great football team that is really well-coached on a national stage. That’s why these guys chose to come to the University of Washington to play in these types of games.”
Some of the Huskies also acknowledged that the game has taken on an added importance due to the way the regular season ended — a 31-28 overtime loss at Washington State. A win is necessary to avoid a third straight 7-6 record.
“This past week has been rough for the team,” Price said. “A lot of guys have been down. Obviously you don’t want to finish the season like that. But we have another chance to kind of redeem ourselves.”
Upsetting Boise State, a 7 ½ point favorite, would give the Huskies the opportunity to atone for Apple Cup stumble.
“I think we still believe we are a good football team,” Sarkisian said. “We didn’t play a great game. We especially didn’t play a good fourth quarter when you blow an 18-point lead.
“That eighth win is a big one for us, and it’s something that I think we all want deeply.”
Apple Cup incident
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was unwittingly thrust into the headlines when video surfaced the day after the Apple Cup showing him being knocked to the ground by a fan as the game ended.
Seferian-Jenkins said the punch was “in the past” and he had no interest in pursuing the incident legally.
“I told them not to pursue anything,” he said.
“He was probably intoxicated or something like that,” Seferian-Jenkins said. I’m not really worried about it. I’m over it.”
The WSU police department said it was investigating the incident but no arrests have been made. The WSU athletic department also said it would review its policies on postgame security. UW officials have declined to comment.
Seferian-Jenkins also said he has yet to make a decision on whether he will play basketball this season.
“I’m just worrying about football right now and taking care of football right now,” he said. “We’ll make a decision after the season when I talk to coach Sark and everybody.”
• Sarkisian announced two true freshmen who are redshirting have changed positions — Brandon Beaver from cornerback to safety and Dwayne Washington from receiver to running back.
• The Huskies will take the rest of the week off before returning to practice Friday.
• The Huskies are scheduled to leave for Las Vegas on Dec. 17.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.