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December 6, 2012
Expect a well-prepared U-Dub team
The 2012 MAACO Bowl can serve two ends for the Huskies: to bring closure to an inconsistent 2012 season and preparation for next year.
The Huskies will travel to Sin City believing they will beat one of college football's winningest programs in the BCS era.
The Huskies, who received a higher-ranked bowl opponent than any other Pac-12 team not in a BCS game, are hoping to erase their memories from a not-so-delightful Apple Cup loss. The Dawgs have had their struggles away from Century Link this season. However, the neutral site may not be an advantage for Boise State.
The Broncos, who are usually in the conversation for a BCS appearance, have fallen off a bit this season. Their offense isn't the typical high-flying act that it once was, but their defense has improved substantially and is one of the nation's best. The Broncos are coming in on a high note, winners of their last three games.
Since Steve Sarkisian has taken over the program he has done an excellent job when it comes to bowl preparation. In the 2010 Holiday Bowl, the Husky defense was dominant over a Nebraska team that tromped the Dawgs earlier in the year. In the 2011 Alamo Bowl, Sarks' offensive game plan was a huge reason the Huskies were able to put up such gaudy numbers.
The Huskies need to establish Bishop Sankey early on in order get their offense jump-started. Even though the Broncos are ranked sixth nationally in points allowed they do give up a decent amount of yards on the ground and through the air.
The Broncos give up an average of 173 rushing yards per game, and if Sankey can reach that total the Huskies have a good chance at upsetting the Broncos.
The Husky defense should be fully healthy and be able to disrupt Joe Southwick. If Andrew Hudson and Josh Shirley can bring pressure of the ends, the Husky defensive backs should have their ways with the Broncos receiving core.
The Broncos don't have the explosive players that they've had in previous years, but Chris Peterson is known for finding ways to put up points. No matter how crazy those ways seem.
The MAACO Las Vegas Bowl has all the ingredients for a lot of fireworks. The two teams match up well and it should be interesting to see how they compete. They are set to face off next September to open up the new Husky Stadium.
As for the Huskies, a win can redefine their season and land them at the eight-win plateau for the first time since 2001, and make it a successful season. A loss can lead to much skepticism and scrutiny. Whatever the result is, the Dawgs will be in position to make a strong push for the Pac-12 North in 2013.