The season didn't go exactly to plan for the Boise State Broncos, who, despite winning a share of the Mountain West Conference, are generally considered one of the nation's biggest disappointments.
But in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl, they get the chance to end the season on a high note. And they get to do it against a BCS-conference school, which is always a treat to watch.
The 7-5 Washington Huskies gained bowl eligibility on the strength of a four-game mid-season win streak. They beat then-No. 7 Oregon State in October, proving that despite their five-loss record, they're capable of stepping up in a big game.
Boise State is favored by five points in Vegas, but this could very well end up being a neck-and-neck game.
Let's take a look at three players Boise State must take care of if they want to avoid the upset:
QB Keith Price
Price came back to earth after a magnificent sophomore season, but he's still the engine that makes Washington go.
He's gotten better as the season's gone on, too. Price threw for 176.4 yards per game in the Huskies' first five games this season, but improved to 229.1 yards per game in the Huskies' final seven.
He's got a big, accurate arm––much more than most of the quarterbacks Boise State has faced in the Mountain West.
The Broncos defense ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense, but if they can't get some pressure on Price and make him feel uncomfortable, it's unlikely they'll be able to keep Washington under 20 points.
RB Bishop Sankey
Price is the engine that makes the Huskies' offense go, but Sankey is by far their most dangerous player.
The workhorse, 200-pound sophomore has been one of the most consistently successful backs in the nation this year. He's topped 100 yards in six different games, and in four of those, he added multiple touchdowns to the stat sheet.
In their highest-profile game of the season, Boise State allowed Michigan State's Le'Von Bell to run for 210 yards. Sankey is two inches shorter and 44 pounds lighter than Bell, but he can do some of the same things the Spartans' bruiser does.
Washington's balance is their greatest asset. Boise can't focus too much on Keith Price, otherwise they might get burned on the ground.
DB Desmond Trufant
Marcus' younger brother has developed into quite a player in his own right. Selected to the All-Pac-12 first team defense, the 6' senior has flashed the ability to lock up opposing receivers on the outside.
Which is unacceptable if the Broncos want to win this football game.
Boise State has been a shell of its former, aerial-inclined self this season. Joe Southwick has done the best he's capable of, but the unit has lacked the spark and fire it was once characterized by.
Receivers like Matt Miller will need to separate from Trufant when he's left on an island. If they can't, Washington can bring a safety into the box and slow down the running game or provide pressure.
If they can get away from Trufant, however, Boise State might be able to light up the scoreboard.
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