- Washington coach Chris Petersen is stepping down following the game
- Boise State end Curtis Weaver is the MWC Defensive Player of the Year
- Washington’s leading receiver, tight end Hunter Bryant, is skipping the bowl
Washington is a 3.5-point favorite over No. 19 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, which will be played at 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday Dec. 21st at Sam Boyd Stadium.
In what could be dubbed the “Chris Petersen Classic”, the Huskies head coach is the main storyline in this game as he will walk away as Washington’s coach following a six-year stint. Before that, he coached Boise State for eight seasons.
Washington vs #19 Boise State Odds
|Washington||+130||-3.5 (-110)||Over 50 (-110)|
|Boise State||+150||+3.5 (-110)||Under 50 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 17th
Boise State (12-1) is on a six-game winning streak since its only loss of the season at BYU, 28-25, on Oct. 19. The Broncos handled visiting Hawaii 31-10 in the Mountain West championship game Dec 7.
It has been a disappointing year for Washington (7-5), which was ranked 13th in the AP preseason poll. The Huskies have lost four of six games since a 4-1 start, though they did finish the regular season by defeating Washington State 31-13 on Nov. 29 at home in the Apple Cup.
The line has stayed steady as it also opened at 3.5 as seen in Boise State vs Washington odds.
Boise State’s Weaver a Handful
Boise State has one of the top pass rushers in the nation in edge rusher Curtis Weaver, and he figures to put plenty of pressure on Washington quarterback Jacob Eason.
Weaver is the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and leads the conference with 13.5 sacks. He is also the MWC’s all-time sack leader with 34 in three seasons.
Eason completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 2,922 yards and 22 touchdowns with eight interceptions in his first season since transferring from Georgia. While Eason is projected as an NFL quarterback, some personnel people in the league believes he needs another year of experience to smooth out his overall game.
Washington Without Top Receiver
Washington will be missing its top receiver, tight end Hunter Bryant, who has declared for the NFL Draft and will skip the game. Bryant caught 52 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season.
The Marathon Continues… pic.twitter.com/OOnGFkYB4N
— hunter bryant (@blackbeast88) December 6, 2019
Offensive lineman Trey Adams, a graduate senior, will also sit out to get ready for the draft.
All of Boise State’s players are planning to take part in the game.
All-Time Series Even
The schools have met four times with each team winning twice. Boise State took the most recent meeting in 2015, 16-13 at home but failed to cover the 12.5-point spread.
Favored in all 12 games this year, Boise State is 6-6 ATS. However, the Broncos have covered in three of the last four games.
Meanwhile, Washington is 7-5 against the spread, though the Huskies have been the wrong side in three of their last four games.
The teams have two common opponents, BYU and Hawaii.
As mentioned earlier, Boise State’s only loss came against BYU while Washington beat the Cougars 45-19 at home. The Broncos defeated Hawaii twice this year, both at Boise, 59-37 in the regular season then again in the Mountain West title game. The Huskies downed the Rainbow Warriors 52-20 at home.
Here is how the two teams stack up in terms of ESPN’s Football Power Index:
|57.1 (48th)||Offensive efficiency||63.4 (32nd)|
|75.5 (14th)||Defensive efficiency||69.2 (26th)|
|68.8 (9th)||Special teams efficiency||55.2 (45th)|
|73.9 (18th)||Overall efficiency||70.7 (24th)|
Momentum in Broncos’ favor
Boise State has all the momentum going into this game as it went undefeated in MWC play for the first time since joining the conference in 2011. The Las Vegas Bowl, on the other hand, figures to be a letdown for Washington following three straight appearances in New Year’s Six bowls.
Yes, Washington has something to play for – the Huskies would like to send off their beloved coach with a victory and build momentum for next season when defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake takes over for Petersen.
However, they will be hard-pressed to beat Boise State, especially without a difference-maker like Bryant not around to bail out the inconsistent Eason.
The pick: Boise State +3.5 (-110)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.