The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

Huskies to face Nebraska in Dec. 30 Holiday Bowl

The Huskies look to avenge an early season 56-21 defeat to Nebraska by winning the Holiday Bowl.

The University of Washington will be going to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego to play No. 18 Nebraska on Dec. 30. after an exciting 35-28 victory over Washington State in the Apple Cup on Dec. 4.

The two teams last met on Sept. 18 in Seattle where Nebraska won 56-21 in a dominating fashion. This rematch in the Holiday Bowl will indicate just how far the Huskies have come since that early season defeat. Senior quarterback Jake Locker struggled in the first loss, only completing four of his 20 passes for 71 yards with two interceptions while rushing for 59 yards on 11 carries. Despite one bad game, Locker still holds some of UW’s all-time records for a quarterback including the most rushing yards by a quarterback.

UW has not been to a bowl game since the 2002 Sun Bowl and this will be the 31st bowl game in school history. After starting the season on a seesaw of winning and losing, the Huskies had to win their final three games to even be considered for a bowl game. They won all three, with thrilling wins over California and Washington State that came down to the wire.

Since arriving at UW, head coach Steve Sarkisian has revived the football program, leading the Huskies out of eight years of misery and futility. UW was 0-12 just two seasons ago and last season UW rebounded to a 5-7 record, just missing bowl eligibility. This season’s 6-6 record and bowl appearance is certainly the high point of his coaching career thus far.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off of a 23-20 loss to the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners. Nebraska’s rushing attack is ranked tenth in the country at 259.6 yards per game. Their stout defense is also eighth in the country, only allowing 17.2 a game. UW is ranked 93rd in the country in points allowed and points scored per game but UW is coming off of a strong offensive performance led by sophomore running back Chris Polk’s career high 284 yard rushing game.

The reason UW is playing Nebraska is because of the Pac-10’s contractual agreement with the Holiday Bowl that states they will pick the fifth ranked team from the Big-12 conference and third ranked team from the Pac-10. The Pac-10’s top two teams, Oregon and Stanford, are both already playing in the more prestigious Bowl Championship Series bowl games.

A key matchup to watch will be Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara against UW wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Amukamara is a top prospect for the NFL, as he is 6 feet 1 and a tough matchup for wide receivers who are used to competing against sub-six feet tall cornerbacks. Kearse has been the Huskies’ leading receiver with over 1000 yards on the season.

Locker, currently projected to be a first round draft pick in most NFL pre-draft rankings, played through the Apple Cup with a broken rib that hasn’t helped but fortunately, he has two weeks to recover before the big bowl game. Over the past few weeks, Locker has shown flashes of brilliance that has quieted some of his doubters riding him throughout the season. If the Huskies look to come out on top in the Holiday Bowl, Locker has to play like the Heisman trophy candidate many projected him to be at the beginning of the season.

On the defensive side of the ball, where the Huskies have struggled at times, UW has senior linebacker Mason Foster who is second in the nation with 12.58 tackles per game.  Foster, who has had a fantastic season, will try to convince pro scouts he has the ability to play in the NFL in his final collegiate game.

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