Las Vegas Provides Dawgs `Chance to Redeem Ourselves'
Dec. 3, 2012
By Gregg Bell - UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE -There's no place like Las Vegas.
Especially compared to Pullman.
The Huskies (7-5) being in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against 20th-ranked Boise State (10-2) on Dec. 22 not only provides a huge opportunity for UW to restore 2012's progress. It is also providing a chance to erase the bitter aftertaste from the last time Washington played.
After failing to hold a 28-10 lead in the fourth quarter of the Apple Cup Nov. 23 at Washington State, the Huskies will get another try at their first eight-win season since 2001.
Even better, the opportunity will come in a city known worldwide for instantaneous fortune changing.
"We have a chance to redeem ourselves," Price said with a chuckle after Washington's quarterback watched much of Monday's reserves-first practice.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. ... Obviously Vegas is a fun place to be. We were hearing a lot of options, and a lot of people wanted to go the Vegas Bowl."
Yes, the Huskies are still frustrated at not finishing off the Cougars 11 days earlier, even though there was no guarantee that with a win in the Apple Cup they wouldn't still be headed to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
"We lost a game that we shouldn't have lost. I was mad about it, but we can't do anything about it now," tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. "We should have won the game ..."
Price said, "this past week a lot of guys have been down" following the Apple Cup.
"Obviously, you don't want to finish the (regular) season like that," Price said. "You don't ever want to lose to your rival -- especially when you are expected to win the game and being up by 18 points going into the fourth quarter."
Price has rebounding from a shaky midseason to complete 62 percent of his passes for 2,486 yards and 18 more touchdown passes against 11 interceptions.
He enters the bowl game with 53 career touchdown passes, tied with his predecessor Jake Locker and with Brock Huard (1996-98) for second all-time at UW. He needs three touchdown passes against Boise State in Las Vegas to break Cody Pickett's career record at Washington set from 1999-2003.
Yet for all he's done - and still plans to do, beginning in Las Vegas -- he's still stinging from Pullman on Nov. 23. He threw an interception on the first play of overtime in the 31-28 loss.
"Obviously, you still feel it -- especially when we wanted to finish the regular season off 8-4. We didn't accomplish our ultimate goal," he said. "We're disappointed. But we have to move on.
"We have a big matchup, facing a really good team."
No Pac-12 team outside of the Bowl Championship Series is playing a higher-ranked opponent this postseason than Washington is facing.
We have a big matchup, facing a really good team.
To coach Steve Sarkisian, it's a chance to restore the Huskies' national reputation.
"It's a pretty good one. Boise has done it for such an extended period of time, they have been doing this for year after year after year," Sarkisian said. "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.
"It's a really good matchup for both teams and it sets the stage for a really intriguing off-season for nine months before the rematch here (Aug. 31 to open renovated) Husky Stadium. So I think it's pretty cool."
Seferian-Jenkins is looking forward to Sarkisian duplicating the bowl practices and preparation that preceded Washington scoring 56 points in last December's Alamo Bowl against 12th-ranked Baylor.
"What we did last year was very beneficial to how we played in the game. The offense had a great game," said the finalist for the Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end this season. "It's going to be exciting. Our coaches do a great job of setting practices up and getting us right before the bowl game. It's going to be fun. Really exciting."
Seferian-Jenkins will be a large part of that preparation - even when he's not on the practice field.
Like they did last week, the Huskies are taking the next four weekdays off before returning to practice this weekend. The only bowl function this week has Sarkisian coming off the recruiting trail to meet senior cornerback and co-captain Desmond Trufant in Las Vegas Thursday for a pre-bowl press conference. Then the players take final exams for the autumn quarter next week.
That time off may benefit Seferian-Jenkins as much as any Husky. He's been pulling an injured ankle along for his 63 catches, team-leading 791 yards receiving and team co-leading six touchdowns this season.
After UW's finals Dec. 10-14, the Huskies will arrive in Las Vegas Dec. 17 for five days of practice there. The Huskies have a welcome dinner at the Fremont Street Experience off the Las Vegas Strip on Dec. 19; community-service events in the city on Dec. 20; a "Show Night" for the team to see the Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo Resort that night; a kickoff luncheon on the 21st with a pep rally back at the Fremont Street Experience later that Friday: and then kickoff Saturday the 22nd at 12:30 p.m.
"Obviously, Vegas is a fun place to be. But we are out there for a football game," Price said. "I mean, we'll go down there and have fun, but ultimately we are out there to win the game."
INSIDE THE DAWGS: Washington is the visiting team for the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl. ... Pac-12/Pac-10 teams are 5-6 in the 21-year-old game. ... Though UW is further down the Pac-12 bowl pecking order this year, Sarkisian noted his players and coaches get one benefit from playing in a game that is a week earlier than UW's previous two bowls: Being home for Christmas - and beyond. Players will be going home to families immediately following the game and not be due back on campus until winter quarter begins Jan. 7. "We're a young team ... this season's been a grind," Sarkisian said. "Our guys will need it." ... UW has a ticket allotment of 11,000 for the game. Bowl tickets are $55 each and are on sale now at UW Bowl Central and in person at the Husky Ticket Office (3910 Montlake Blvd. NE, Seattle, WA 98195) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Fans can also call the Husky Ticket Office at (206) 543-2200 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Anyone can order tickets now but seat locations will be allocated in Tyee Club priority order. The priority deadline is Wednesday, December 5 at 5 p.m. After that, bowl seat locations will be allocated to the general public. Buyers have the choice to pick up tickets at the Husky Ticket Office on Dec. 13 or have them sent via FedEx to a street address. All UW student tickets must be picked up in person beginning on Dec. 13 at the Husky Ticket Office. The ticket office strongly suggests buyers pick up their tickets in Seattle three business days prior to the Dec. 22 game. After that, will-call tickets will only be available at the UW will-call window at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on game day. Customers must present photo identification for the release of their tickets. They will not be released to other individuals.