Washington’s shaky pass defense goes up against the most efficient passer in the NCAA, Robert Griffin III, who leads Big 12 foe Baylor into the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
GAME: Washington (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) vs. Baylor (9-3, 5-3, Big 12). WHEN: Dec. 29, 2011, Alamodome, San Antonio, 6 p.m. (PT). MEETING: 4th (Baylor leads 3-1.) RANKINGS: UW unranked; Baylor 15 AP, 16 USA Today coaches. LINE: N/A. TV: ESPN HD; RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM
Washington will play a team the Huskies haven’t faced since 1965, in a place it’s never played — San Antonio, in the Alamo Bowl. This will mark Washington’s second bowl appearance in a row — after the Huskies failed to go to a bowl for seven consecutive years (2003-09) — and their first-ever in the Alamo Bowl.
Washington and Baylor have never met in a bowl game.
“We’re excited to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl and to represent the University of Washington and the Pac-12 Conference,” said UW head coach Steve Sarkisian in a press release. “The selection is a testament to the hard work our team has put in, and we look forward to a great trip and exciting game.”
Added quarterback Keith Price: “It’s a big honor for us to be selected. It’s a great reward for the team and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play.”
“I can’t wait to have fun. Two bowl games in three years? After going 0-12?” said defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu. “We’ve come a long ways.”
SERIES: The Washington-Baylor football history began Oct. 16, 1954, when Baylor scored a 34-7 victory over Washington in Waco, TX. The teams have met three more times, Baylor winning 13-7 in 1955, Washington prevailing 35-14 in 1964, and Baylor coming out on top 17-14 in 1965.
UW in 2011: Washington finished 7-5, a one-game improvement over 2010, when the Huskies (6-6) ended the season with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. In 2011, Washington started 5-1, then sustained a 65-21 beating at Stanford, which led to four UW losses in a five-game stretch. The Huskies recovered in the final game of the regular season, defeating Washington State in the Apple Cup, 38-21.
Washington ranks 36th nationally in scoring offense (31.5 points per game), 67th in rushing offense (152.0) and 51st in passing (240.3) . . . The Huskies ranked 94th (of 120 teams) in total defense (426.3), 99th in scoring defense (33.3) and 116th in passing defense (283.7) . . . Sophomore quarterback Keith Price set a school record by throwing 29 touchdown passes and ranks 12th nationally in passing efficiency at 159.9 . . . Junior Chris Polk set a school record (against Washington State) with his 20th career 100-yard game, and ranks 16th nationally at 111.7 yards per game. Polk joined Napoleon Kaufman as the only runners in UW history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons . . . Senior Cort Dennison led the Pac-12 in tackles.
Baylor in 2011: The Bears won their first three games, lost to Kansas State 36-35 in Manhattan KN., beat Iowa State, dropped a pair to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, then ran the table against Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas.
Baylor averaged 43.5 points per game and allowed 35.7, 109th nationally; averaged 571.2 yards per game and allowed 477.5, 114th nationally . . . Quarterback Robert Griffin III, a Heisman Trophy candidate, averaged 386.8 yards per game in total offense, No. 2 nationally, and had a passer efficiency rating of 192.3, which led the NCAA. Griffin threw for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns.
UW IN BOWLS: Washington is 17-13-1 in 31 bowl appearances. The Huskies last played in a bowl Dec. 30, 2010, beating Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday.
BAYLOR IN BOWLS: The Bears have appeared in 17 bowl games, going 8-9. The Bears played in the 2010 Texas Bowl and lost to Illinois 38-14. Baylor also played in the 1994 Alamo Bowl, losing to Washington State, 10-3.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: The Huskies have seen several good quarterbacks this season, but Griffin is probably the best — statistically better than Stanford’s Andrew Luck, whom he probably will beat for the Heisman Trophy.
Griffin been described as the best athlete in college ball, a heady leader that is poised and confident. He has carved up some quality Big 12 defenses, and is the nation’s most valuable player, because Baylor wouldn’t be .500 without him.
Even three weeks’ preparation is not enough time to come up with a defense against Griffin, so the Huskies’ only hope — again — is to outscore the foe. UW showed a flicker of defensive resilience in the Apple Cup, but it wasn’t as if they had new players. Much of the outcome depends on the return to health of Price’s knees. Baylor 54, Washington 45.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: I think I used the phrase “Mt. Sac Relays” to describe an upcoming Washington-Stanford game. If that was the Mt. Sac Relays (Stanford won 65-21), this will one be the Penn Relays, Drake Relays and Mt. Sac Relays rolled into one.
Baylor averages 43 points a game and Washington is allowing 33.3. Baylor is allowing 433 yards a game and Washington is averaging 380. Typical of bowl games, there will be no defense in this one.
The major intrigue for Washington: how the defense will handle Griffin. He’s averaging 386 yards per game in total offense and the Huskies are yielding 426.3, which ranks 94th worst. Baylor 48, Washington 38.
UW COACH STEVE SARKISIAN: Sarkisian is in his third season as head coach of the Huskies. A former USC assistant under Pete Carroll, Sarkisian has an 18-18 record (5-7 in 2009, 6-6 in 2010, 7-5 in 2011) record, 1-0 in bowls.
BAYLOR COACH ART BRILES: Head coach sine 2008, Briles was previously head coach at the University of Houston from 2003-07. In 2010, he led the Bears to a 7-6 record and the school’s first bowl game in 16 years. Briles is a native of West Texas.
PAC-12 IN BOWLS (chronologically): Arizona State will play Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 22; California will play Texas Dec. 28 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego; Washington-Baylor Dec. 29 in San Antonio; Utah will play Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31 in El Paso, TX.; UCLA will play Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Dec. 31 in San Francisco; Wisconsin will play Oregon in the Rose Bowl Jan. 2 in Pasadena; Stanford will play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2 in Glendale, AZ.
ALAMO BOWL: The Alamo Bowl, begun 1993, is played in the 65,000-seat Alamodome. Crowds of at least 60,000 have witnessed eight of the past 10 games. The Alamo Bowl has traditionally been one of ESPN’s biggest ratings grabbers.
PAC-12 IN ALAMO BOWL: Washington will become the fourth member of the Pac-12 (or its predecessor conferences) to play in the Alamo Bowl, following California (1993), Washington State (1994), Colorado (2002) and Arizona (2010).
UW AWARDS: Sophomore quarterback Keith Price won the Guy Flaherty Award, the Washington football program’s oldest and most prestigious team award, for the second straight season, while Chris Polk, Cort Dennison and Greg Walker won MVP honors at the Husky football teams postseason awards dinner Sunday night.
Price started 11 of 12 games for the Alamo Bowl-bound Huskies, breaking the UW record with 29 touchdown passes. He completed 219-of-325 passes for 2,625 yards and is on pace to set new school records for completion percentage (.674) and pass efficiency (157.91). Price, who fought through anumber of injuries during the season, also won the Earle T. Glant Tough Husky Award.
Polk was named the Sports Radio KJR Most Valuable Offensive Player for the third straight season. He rushed for 1,341 yards, making him just the second Husky to rush for 1,000 yards or more in three seasons. He broke school records for career carries and 100-yard games and is currently No. 2 on the Huskies’ career rushing yards list.
Dennison won the Sports Radio KJR Most Valuable Defensive Player. The defensive captain finished the regular season as the Pac-12 leader in tackles with 113.
Walker, won the Sports Radio KJR Most Valuable Special Teams Player for the second year in a row. A regular on virtually every special teams unit, he finished the regular season with 15 tackles.
Senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu won the L. Wait Rising Defensive Lineman of the Year Award for the second year in a row while senior offensive tackle Senio Kelemete (Seattle), won the John P. Angel Offensive Lineman of the Year. He also won it in 2009.
Senior wide receiver Devin Aguilar (Denver, Colo.) was honored with the Chuck Niemi Big Hit Award. The Travis Spring Outstanding Freshmen Award winner was true freshman tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and the Husky Fever 12th Man Award was presented to sophomore safety Sean Parker. Senior long snapper Brendan Lopez (Bellevue, Wash.), a two-time first-team Academic All-Pac-12 selection, took home the 101 Club Academic Achievement Award.
The Bob Jarvis Offensive Scout Squad Player of the Year went to senior wide receiver Cody Bruns (Prosser, Wash.), who red-shirted the season and will return for a fifth year in 2012.
Freshman safety Travis Feeney was named winner of the Mark Drennan Defensive Scout Squad Player of the Year. The Brian Stapp Special Teams Scout Squad Player of the Year Award was presented to freshman cornerback Marcus Peters.
Finally, junior cornerback Desmond Trufant (Tacoma, Wash.) was presented with the Don James Persverance Award and senior wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was named winner of the Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award.
University of Washington 2011 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/3/11||vs. Eastern Washington||—||—||W||30-27||1-0|
|11/12/11||at Southern Cal||—||18||L||40-17||6-4|
|11/19/11||at Oregon State||—||—||L||38-21||6-5|
|11/26/11||vs. Washington St.||—||—||W||38-21||7-5|