- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Washington Huskies are the lone underdogs of the seven remaining Pac-12 teams playing in a bowl game. But if we learned anything from the New Mexico Bowl, it's that anything can happen.
Washington takes on Boise State in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 ET) on ESPN. We all remember what happened in last year's bowl game. The offense blew up and the defense faltered. It's been a different story this year for the Huskies. The defense has been much stronger (props to Justin Wilcox) and the offense has sputtered.
So your Thursday poll question is this: Who needs to step up for Washington to beat Boise State?
Keith Price, QB: The star of last year's bowl game against Baylor has had a frustrating season. Touted as a preseason Heisman darkhorse, he's fallen below expectations. But he hasn't lost the confidence of his coaches and teammates. And if he has a repeat bowl performance, the Huskies could cruise.
Bishop Sankey, RB: He's rushed for at least 100 yards in three of the past four games, and if Washington can get him going, it will certainly take a lot of the pressure off of Price to make plays with his arm. Washington is 5-1 this season when Sankey has at least 100 yards on the ground.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: The big guy is a game-changer. No one on the Boise State defense can match up with him (no one in the Pac-12 could, either). He can out-jump any defensive back and out-muscle any linebacker. He represents Washington's best mismatch.
Shaq Thompson, S/Nickel: The hard-hitting freshmen is getting his first taste of the college postseason. And he's been as advertised since Week 1. He's been solid against the run (tied for the team high in tackles for a loss) and the pass (tied for team high in interceptions with three). Washington needs him at his best against a balanced Boise State team.
Desmond Trufant, DB: The Boise State receivers have some size. And Joe Southwick's favorite target -- Matt Miller, is a solid 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. There's a pretty big drop-off in receiver production after Miller, so if Trufant can slow him down, things could sway toward the Huskies.
1dChantel Jennings and David Lombardi