Late Field Goal Gives Boise State Third Straight MBLV Win
Broncos Down Washington 28-26,
Become First To Reach 3-0 In Bowl
LAS VEGAS - The 21st edition of the game had the makings of a third straight Boise State blowout in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas but this time the Broncos' opponent not only rallied but even took the lead in the fourth quarter. In fact, it took Michael Frisina's 27-yard field goal with 1:16 left to give head coach Chris Petersen's squad the victory on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22.
Mountain West co-champion Boise State became the first team to start out 3-0 in this bowl with a 28-26 victory over Washington of the Pac-12 Conference in front of 33,217 fans, which was the eighth-biggest Las Vegas Bowl crowd in history. With a 12:30 pm PT kickoff, the 2012 version was the first day MBLV since UCLA downed New Mexico 27-13 on Christmas Day 2002. It was also the sixth Saturday kickoff in MAACO Bowl Las Vegas history and the first since 2008.
In just the second meeting between the two schools, the victory improved the Broncos to 11-2 while the Huskies, who became the ninth Pac-12 team to appear in the bowl, finished 7-6 overall.
Trailing 18-3 in the second quarter after a couple of BSU touchdown passes and field goals, UW used a 26-yard Bishop Sankey rushing score and a seven-yard run by quarterback Keith Price to make it 18-17 at halftime. After each side added a touchdown in the third quarter, it came down to a kicking contest. With under five minutes left, Washington's Travis Coons nailed a 38-yarder to give his team its first and only lead of the day, 26-25.
However, after the Broncos got a big kickoff return, quarterback Joe Southwick coolly led his squad down field and set up Frisina's game-winner. Boise State later sealed the win when Jeremy Ioane intercepted Price's pass as the Huskies neared midfield.
Southwick was efficient all day, finishing 26-of-38 for 264 yards, two score and no interceptions. It was Sankey, however, who shined brightest. The sophomore tailback became the first player from the losing team to be voted the winner of the Rossi T. Ralenkotter MVP Trophy after he rushed 30 times for 205 yards and caught six passes for another 74 yards. His rushing total was the second-highest in Las Vegas Bowl history.
"There's a lot of mixed emotions going on," Sankey said. "The MVP doesn't mean so much when you come out a loser."
Petersen joined BYU's Bronco Mendenhall in becoming the second coach to win three Las Vegas Bowls and the only one to do without a loss (Mendenhall is 3-2). He said he knew it would be a tougher go this time around.
"We watched a lot of tape and we knew they were a good team,'' Petersen said. ''I don't think all 7-5 records are equal across the board. These guys have beaten too many good opponents and played too much good football that you start to get a gauge and I just knew it would be a really tight game."