First Look At The Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State Takes On Washington
Coach Pete vs. Coach Harsin
The Las Vegas Bowl got a nice matchup.
When the season started, it is safe to say neither team thought they would be playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Washington began ranked 13th in the preseason polls and thought they would compete for the Pac-12 title, if not a College Football Playoff spot. While the Las Vegas Bowl is the usual landing spot for the Mountain West champion, Boise State eyed a berth in the Cotton Bowl for most of the year but a loss to BYU, and a good year put together by the Memphis Tigers, have landed them in the desert.
Boise State and Washington have only played four times to date, with the last meeting in 2015. While the series is tied 2-2, Boise State won both the last game, 16-13 in Boise, and their 2012 Las Vegas Bowl match-up, 28-26. Washington has won both games in Seattle by an average score of 31-8.
Boise State (12-1, 9-0 Mountain West)
The Broncos won the Mountain West championship game, 31-10, over Hawaii for their second title in the last three years. Boise State had to endure injuries at the quarterback position and ended up starting three different players there on the year. Hank Bachmeier started the year and led the Broncos to a 6-0 start, including the season-opening victory over Florida State in Tallahassee.
Chase Cord stepped in after Bachmeier was injured in the first matchup against Hawaii and was at the helm for the loss at BYU. Bachmeier returned for the victory over San Jose State before Jaylon Henderson took over and finished 5-0, including the title game victory over the Warriors.
Washington Huskies (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12)
The Huskies struggled in close games this season with all five of their losses coming by ten points or fewer. Like Boise State, the Huskies had to replace a multi-year starter at quarterback who was one of the best passers in program history. They turned to Georgia transfer Jacob Eason, who’d started 16 games for the Bulldogs, and played well in his first year at Washington but the team as a whole struggled to convert close games to victories. Last time out, though, Washington beat Washington State, 31-13, to win the Apple Cup for the seventh consecutive year.
Washington head coach Chris Petersen:
Although he wants the focus to be on his players, there would be no justice without a quick bit on Petersen. He led the Broncos from 2006 to 2013, when he left to lead the Huskies, and tallied a 92-12 record with the Broncos, including two undefeated seasons, two Fiesta Bowl victories, and five conference championships.
Since taking over in Seattle, Petersen has led the Huskies to a pair of Pac-12 titles and earned a College Football Playoff berth in 2016. He recently announced he would step down at the end of the regular season, though, bringing everything full circle as his last bowl game at Boise State was the aforementioned 2012 Las Vegas Bowl.