On Saturday, December 22, The Maaco Bowl Las Vegas will feature a battle of two good teams that play great defense. However, the key to the game will be which team's offense is able to overcome the onslaught and put some points on the board.
That could come down to which team gets the best play and leadership from its quarterback. As simplistic as that sounds, it certainly won't be easy for either the Broncos or the Huskies. With so much time to prepare, it bodes well for each defense, and both quarterbacks will have to be ready for whatever comes at them.
With that in mind, let's compare the talent under center that Washington and Boise State will have on the field in Las Vegas for the Maaco Bowl.
Comparing Quarterbacks: Joe Southwick vs. Keith Price
First, the similarities. Neither of these quarterbacks have been dominant players on offense. Both are juniors, and both have the ability to be mobile. However, neither uses their mobility in a consistent and effective way. The stats on these two are also similar.
Southwick has a completion percentage of 66.7, while Price isn't far behind with 61.8 percent. Yards per average throw are also close together with Washington's quarterback at 6.33 yards, compared to Boise's at a little better 7.41.
Price leads in touchdowns thrown with 18 compared to Southwick's 17. However, the Broncos quarterback has thrown just seven interceptions this season compared to the 11 Keith Price has given up.
On the season, Price has attempted 393 passes with 243 completions for 2,486 yards. Joe Southwick is statistically a bit better with a crazy numerical oddity of 333 attempts with 222 completions for 2,466 yards. When all's said and done, the quarterback rating for Southwick is 141.5, and Price is a bit lower at 124.5.
Best Games, Worst Game: Keith Price
The best games Keith Price has had this season were against Utah and Colorado. Facing the Utes, he threw 33 times for 24 completions, 277 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. That is a 72.7-percent completion percentage and a 163.2 quarterback rating.
Against Colorado, a team against which everyone has a good game, Price went 22-of-29 for 248 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions. That was good enough for a 204.6 quarterback rating.
Price had his worst game of the year when the Huskies faced LSU. That should be no surprise. However, in that game he went just 17-of-36 for 157 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. It was good for a 78.3 quarterback rating.
Best Games, Worst Game: Joe Southwick
Joe Southwick had his best two games against New Mexico and Colorado State this season. Against the Lobos, Southwick threw 34 times with 24 completions for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 176.5 quarterback rating.
Against Colorado State, Joe went 17-of-20 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. His quarterback rating in that game was 208.7.
The worst game Southwick had in 2012 would have to be the opener. Against Michigan State, the Boise State quarterback threw 31 times for just 15 completions and 169 yards. He didn't have a touchdown, but he had an interception, and his quarterback rating was 87.7 for that game.
Offensive Line: Boise State vs. Washington
Quarterbacks are usually only as good as the offensive line they play behind. There are exceptions, of course, but not in this case.
Keith Price has been sacked 33 times this season. He has been hurried, rushed, disturbed and interrupted consistently all year long. For the season, Price has 62 rushing attempts for minus-32 yards. That is a very telling statistic.
Joe Southwick, on the other hand, has been sacked just six times in 2012. He has 35 rushing attempts for a a positive total of 82 yards.
The Boise State offensive line has certainly played more consistently, and it should be a big key in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
When you look at these two quarterbacks, you see a very similar story. When you look at the stats, both are close.
However, the biggest advantage the Boise State quarterback has is his offensive line. Even the other talent around these two is comparable, but not on the line.
Southwick should have time to throw. The line should be able to give the same kind of protection they gave the junior quarterback all season long. While the Broncos haven't faced many defenses better than Washington, they have faced a few. In all of those games, the line did a great job protecting Southwick.
The same can't be said of the Huskies offensive line. They have struggled this season, and with the Broncos' relentless pass rush, those struggles may continue in Las Vegas.
The key to this game is defense, but you still have to score points to win a game. Of course, Boise did win a game this year against BYU with no offensive score. However, that probably won't be the case against Washington.
Boise State will need to score, and with Southwick looking much more confident toward the end of the season, and with the outstanding line he plays behind, he should be able to get the job done.
Look for more comparisons of these two teams in the days leading up to the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas here on Bleacher Report.