Here’s usual Facts Box, with news and notes and some breakdowns on the game:
Washington (7-5) Boise State (10-2)
Time: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, at Sam Boyd Stadium
TV: ESPN. Radio: KJR-AM 950, 102.9-FM. The line: Boise State by 4.5.
The setup: For the Huskies, it’s a chance at some redemption for the Apple Cup loss and an opportunity to go into the off-season with some momentum. A win would make UW 8-5, matching its most wins since 2001. But a loss would leave UW 7-6 for the third straight year. Boise State is looking for a third straight Las Vegas Bowl win and a chance to win 11 games or more for the fifth time since 2008.
Key matchup: UW’s passing attack against Boise State’s secondary. The Broncos have allowed just three passing touchdowns this season, fewest in the NCAA while UW’s passing attack has not been as dynamic this season as it was in 2011. Still, the Huskies will pose some matchup problems with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and WR Kasen Williams and need to find a way to take advantage.
What to expect: Probably a defensive battle as each team ranked among the top third in the country this year in scoring defense – Boise State sixth at 14.92 per game and UW 37th at 23.83. Probably also a few turnovers as Boise State caused 33 this season — more than all but two other teams in the nation — while UW caused 32. Also probably expect some trick plays, which are a Boise State post-season forte but also something UW has pulled out in its bowl games under Steve Sarkisian. The team that turns it over less and executes its trick plays will have a big advantage.
Notes: The two teams have played just once, a 24-10 UW win in Seattle in 2007. Boise State has lost just seven games since then, only one other by more than four points. … The two teams will open the season against each other next Aug. 31 in the first game in the renovated Husky Stadium. … UW is 16-15-1 all-time in bowl games and 1-1 under Sarkisian, beating Nebraska 19-7 in the 2010 Holiday Bowl and losing to Baylor 67-56 in the 2011 Alamo Bowl. … The teams share one common opponent — San Diego State. And the transitive property favors UW as the Huskies beat the Aztecs 21-12 in September while Boise State lost at home to the Aztecs 21-19 in November. … UW has never played a game in Nevada. … This is the first time UW has played a bowl game prior to Christmas since the 1987 Independence Bowl, a 24-12 win over Tulane on Ddec. 19. … The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with the crew of Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Tom Rinaldi. It is the first UW game Musburger has done since the 2007 UW-USC game in Seattle. …
Upset brewing? This is the third straight year UW has been an underdog in a bowl game. It beat Nebraska two years ago as a 14-point underdog and led for a while against Baylor last year as an 11-point underdog before falling late. So Sarkisian knows how to get his team ready for the post-season. UW needs to avoid the kind of turnovers that cost it dearly in its losses this season, though.
Injuries: UW — The only new injury for UW is that backup linebacker and special teamer Jamaal Kearse will not play. Out for the season for UW are RB Jesse Callier (knee), DE Hau’oli Jamora (knee), RB Deontae Cooper (knee), WR James Johnson (wrist), OL Erik Kohler (knee), OL Colin Tanigawa (knee), DL Pio Vatuvei (knee) and DL Lawrence Lagafuaina (leg).
Boise State — DT Michael Atkinson and CB Bryan Douglas are out with knee injuries; DT Greg Grimes, S Hazen Moss and OL Jake Broyles are considered questionable with undisclosed injuries.