On the season, the Huskies improved to 7-5 (4-5), which helped them finish the regular season on a strong note, after some tough defeats.
The Huskies continued their domination over the Cougars by completely shutting down their high octane “Air Raid” attack on offense.
Defensively, the Huskies gave up a touchdown on the first drive of the game and then held Washington State to field goals the rest of the way.
On offense, the Huskies had a balanced attack, that kept the Cougars defense on their heels and guessing the entire game.
Boise State is coming into this game feeling a bit slighted, as they were hoping to make the Cotton Bowl, but were glossed over by the Memphis Tigers instead.
“One of the things they have done an unbelievable job of is play three different quarterbacks and won a lot of games.” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said about what stands out to him about Boise State this season.
This matchup has a lot of intrigue to it, as it pits Petersen against his former school that he built into a national power. With this being Petersen’s last game, his players will want to send him out on top with a bowl game victory!
Here are some keys the Huskies must do to put themselves in a good position to win this game…..
Use The “Chris Petersen Factor” As Motivation
Without stating the obvious, the biggest factor and storyline heading into this game has to do with Washington, head coach Chris Petersen. This will be Petersen’s last game with the Huskies, as he will be heading into retirement following the game. What makes this game even more special is the fact that he is facing his former university, that he raised to national prominence before he came to Washington. The Husky players don’t need to muster up any special “motivation” for this game. They need to take care of business and send Chris Petersen out the right way, by winning and watching him ride off into the Nevada sunset! Petersen has given everything to the program and his players, and now it’s time for them to get the job done for their coach and father figure!
Take Shots Down The Field
At the controls, the Huskies arguably possess the strongest arm in program history, with junior Jacob Eason. The good news for the Huskies is they were able to make some headway and have a productive outing during the Apple Cup. They need to build off that performance and try to exploit the Boise State secondary. The biggest weakness of the Broncos is they have given up a lot of yards through the air this season. With a vulnerable secondary, the Huskies should take their shots down the field and make some explosive plays. By gaining big yards on fewer plays, the Huskies will be able to move the ball down the field with less strain. At that point, the Huskies running game can surgically attack the Broncos defense once they are put on their heels early on.
Bring the “Physicality”
Plain and simple, the Huskies need to show the Broncos who is boss from the out start of the game. There is a pride factor involved in this matchup and anytime a Pac-12 team faces a Mountain West team. Pac-12 teams are not supposed to be pushed around the field by teams from inferior conferences. This contest will be no different as the Huskies should be able to impose their will on the Broncos from start to finish. If the Huskies bring the “physicality” early, it will allow the Huskies to dictate the way they want the game to be played. While Boise State surely won’t back down from the Huskies, they will need to feel the Huskies force throughout the game. This all starts with the “trench war” up front, where the Huskies must establish their dominance and presence!
Play Sound Red Zone Defense
This single aspect may decide the outcome of the entire game. Boise State’s biggest strength this season has been on the offensive side of the ball, with their ability to put up points on the scoreboard. This year, the Broncos have punched in 36.8 points per game and have shown their ability to be efficient in the red zone. They have a .891 scoring percentage in the red zone. They rarely come away empty handed when given the opportunity to score. It will be imperative for the Huskies to remain stout at the point of attack and push the Broncos back in the red zone. At certain points this season, the Husky defense has allowed drives into the red zone, but they didn’t break. Forcing the Broncos into field goal attempts instead of touchdowns will limit the Broncos on the scoreboard.
Keep Jacob Eason Upright
With having a full season under our belt, we know that the most vital thing for the Huskies offense is keeping Jacob Eason upright. Opposing teams know that Eason is not a great scrambler and has been known to reverse field while being pressured. The Broncos lead the Mountain West Conference in both sacks and tackles for loss this season. They like to bring pressure and get after the quarterback. With the Boise State secondary being the weak link of their defense, the Huskies absolutely have to keep Eason on his feet. He has proven this season that with time to look down the field and survey his receivers, he can be deadly with his precision strikes. The offensive line needs to take it upon themselves to provide Eason with a “clean pocket” for all four quarters.
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