Here's a look at the Washington Huskies' best players as Boise State football team heads for Vegas

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

I’m on my way to Las Vegas this afternoon. The Broncos arrive this evening. The Washington Huskies arrived Monday evening.

In tomorrow’s paper, we have our usual look at the opponent — a scouting report and a player feature, this one on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

For the blog, I’ve put together a list of key Washington players with some quotes I’ve collected about each:

CB Desmond Trufant (6-0, 186, sr.): The younger brother of former Washington State star Marcus Trufant is the Huskies’ only All-Pac-12 first-teamer. “He’s played a lot of football,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “He’s a smart guy who studies tape and knows tendencies and is a big corner. He’s seen a lot of good players and a lot of different routes.” That sounds just like what Petersen would say about his own star corner, Jamar Taylor. … Boise State QB Joe Southwick on Trufant: “He does a great job gloving some receivers up. He’s fast. He fits the mold of that speedy defense.”

Nickel Shaq Thompson (6-2, 225, fr.): Thompson’s role is similar to that of the nickel in Boise State’s defense, since both were installed by Justin Wilcox. The true freshman was a marquee recruit in the 2012 class. “Sometimes you might see a freshman out there who runs around and makes plays now and then,” Petersen said. “This guy makes plays and he’s physical. I guess that’s one of the reasons he was so highly recruited.” Thompson is fourth on the team with 66 tackles. He also has 8.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and three pass breakups. “I thought Shaq had an awesome year,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian told Seattle reporters earlier this month. “His playmaking ability is, I think, contagious. He was a big reason that we started to create the turnovers that we were. … Quite honestly, I was a little surprised he wasn’t defensive freshman of the year in our conference.”

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6-6, 266, so.): He already is being called the best tight end in school history and was a finalist for the Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end). He ranks second on the team with 63 catches and first with 789 receiving yards. He’s tied for the team lead with six TD catches. He also has made a few appearances at defensive end and played basketball last season. “I have no idea (how to deal with big, athletic tight ends),” Petersen said. “No one else does either. That’s what it is in the NFL. No one has the answer there. … We’ll have to certainly be aware of him at all times.” … Sarkisian on his tight end: “He’s got a high football IQ. So he allows us to move him and put him in a lot of different spots on the field and not be so one-dimensional. We can create matchups with him. His willingness to do that and to accept that and excel in those different spots on the field is what makes him dangerous.”

QB Keith Price (6-1, 202, jr.): Price experienced a sharp statistical dropoff this season and was turnover-prone. But he also was dealing with injuries on the offensive line and a lack of production at wide receiver. He’s elusive but doesn’t run much. “He’s a mobile guy but we think of him as a pro-style quarterback,” Petersen said. “His deal isn’t to get out there and run all over. He can run for first downs, but he’s looking to throw the ball.”

RB Bishop Sankey (5-10, 200, so.): Sankey is a strong between-the-tackles runner with 1,234 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns this season. He also ranks third on the team with 27 catches. “He’s got really good feet,” Boise State defensive lineman Darren Koontz said. “He keeps moving through contact and breaks tackles.”

WR Kasen Williams (6-2, 216, so.): Williams, a national player of the year in high school, leads the team with 71 catches for 783 yards and six touchdowns. “He just goes up and gets the ball,” Taylor said. “He can kind of put you to sleep a little bit and the next thing you know he’s jumping over your head. He can just be a big-play guy.”

DE Josh Shirley (6-3, 230, so.): Shirley plays the McClellin/Ukwuachu position. He has 30 tackles and is tied for the team lead with 6.5 sacks (Andrew Hudson, the other end, has matched him). “(Shirley) is an exceptional pass rusher,” Boise State offensive line coach Chris Strausser said. “He’s got good speed. He makes plays. He’s definitely a guy who stands out.”

Note that of these seven players, six are scheduled to return in 2013 when the Broncos open the season in Seattle. The Huskies expect to start just five seniors Saturday.

And another note: The Huskies have forced 32 turnovers this season, ranking right behind the Broncos (33) near the top of the national stats.

•••

Here is some info on the Huskies I ran earlier this month:

About Washington

Where: Seattle (620,778)

Founded: 1861

Enrollment: 40,218

Colors: Purple and gold

Nickname: Huskies

Record: 7-5 overall, 5-4 Pac-12 (fourth in Pac-12 North)

Rankings: Washington is not ranked, but is as high as 24th in the six BCS computers with an average ranking of 33.5. (Boise State’s average is 33.3.)

Key games: Beat San Diego State (21-12), Stanford (17-13), Oregon State (20-17); lost to LSU (41-3), Oregon (52-21), USC (24-14)

Last game: Lost to Washington State 31-28 (OT) on Nov. 23

Coach: Steve Sarkisian (26-24, fourth year)

Offensive stats (FBS rank): 23.8 ppg (88), 137.2 rushing ypg (90), 210.4 passing ypg (86), 347.6 total ypg (99)

Defensive stats (FBS rank): 23.8 ppg (37), 164.3 rushing ypg (67), 188.9 passing ypg (16), 353.3 total ypg (30)

Special teams notes: The Huskies’ punt team has been a liability, ranking 107th in the nation in net average. Their gross average is just 38.3 yards, one punt was blocked for a touchdown and another was returned for a TD. Senior wide receiver Cody Bruns of Prosser (Wash.) High has provided a spark as a punt returner.

Bowl history: The Huskies are 16-15-1. They lost a shootout to Baylor 67-56 in the 2011 Alamo Bowl. Their last win was against Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday Bowl. This is the first appearance in Las Vegas for a program that has played in 14 Rose Bowls, including one in each of the past nine decades (most recently 2001).

Did you know? The Washington State loss ended the Huskies’ 11-game winning streak in close games (decided by fewer than 10 points).

•••

A few resources for this week:

The Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune cover the Huskies closely. Their beat writers on Twitter are @bcondotta and @todd_dybas.

Here are Washington’s updated stats.

Here is the MAACO Bowl schedule of events.

•••

While Boise State senior wide receiver Mitch Burroughs returns to a larger role with a cast to protect his injured wrist, junior receiver Kirby Moore has taken a cast off one of his hands for the bowl, Petersen said.

Moore’s injury was kept quiet. He didn’t miss a game.

“He’s made some clutch, clutch catches,” Petersen said. “We finally got that (cast) off. I wanted him to put the cast back on.”

Catching with a cast, Petersen said, forces the receivers to concentrate more on the ball.

“I see that in Mitch as well,” he said. “… He’s really catching the ball well.”

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1355867938 Here's a look at the Washington Huskies' best players as Boise State football team heads for Vegas Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Don’t forget to add the prestigious academic ranking of UW.....

Kudos to PAC 12 schools, Stanford University. UC Berkely, UCLA, University of Washington, USC, University of Arizona, Arizona state University for their top 25 ranking in the most rigorous of all rankings of Private and public American Research Universities. To University of Colorado, Utah, and Oregon for their top 50 ranking. To Washington State University and Oregon State for their top 50 ranking amoung public American Research Universities.

Pac 12. Conference of Champions.

The Center for Measuring University Performance determines
the Top American Research Universities by their
rank on nine different measures: Total Research, Federal
Research, Endowment Assets, Annual Giving, National
Academy Members, Faculty Awards, Doctorates Granted,
Postdoctoral Appointees, and SAT scores.

The Top American Research Universities (1-25)
identifies the 49 institutions (24 private, 25 public)
that rank in the top 25 nationally on at least one of the
nine measures.

Private Columbia University
Private Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Private Stanford University
Private University of Pennsylvania
Private Harvard University
Private Duke University
Public University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Private Washington University in St. Louis
Private Johns Hopkins University
Private Yale University
Public University of California - Berkeley
Public University of California - Los Angeles
Public University of Washington - Seattle
Public University of Wisconsin - Madison
Public University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Public University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Public University of Texas - Austin
Private Northwestern University
Private University of Southern California
Public University of California - San Diego
Private University of Chicago
Public Ohio State University - Columbus
Public University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh
Private Vanderbilt University
Public Texas A&M University
Public University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
Private Princeton University
Private Cornell University
Private California Institute of Technology
Public Pennsylvania State University - University Park
Public University of Florida
Private New York University
Private University of Notre Dame
Private Emory University
Public University of California - Davis
Private Dartmouth College
Private Rice University
Public Purdue University - West Lafayette
Public Georgia Institute of Technology
Public Michigan State University
Public University of Virginia
Public University of Arizona
Public University of Maryland - College Park
Private Case Western Reserve University
Public University of California - Irvine
Private Brown University
Public University of California - Santa Barbara
Public Arizona State University
Private Tufts University

The Top American Research Universities (26-50)
identifies the 31 institutions (9 private, 22 public) that
rank 26 through 50 nationally on at least one of the
nine measures.

Public University of Iowa
Private University of Rochester
Public University of Colorado - Boulder
Private Boston University
Public Rutgers the State University of NJ - New Brunswick
Public University of Utah
Private Carnegie Mellon University
Public Indiana University - Bloomington
Public North Carolina State University
Public University of Alabama - Birmingham
Public University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati
Public University of Colorado - Denver
Public Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Private Brandeis University
Public Colorado State University
Public Florida State University
Private George Washington University
Private Georgetown University
Public Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis
Private Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Public University at Buffalo
Public University of California - Santa Cruz
Public University of Connecticut - Storrs
Public University of Georgia
Public University of Kentucky
Private University of Miami
Public University of New Mexico - Albuquerque
Public University of Oklahoma - Norman
Public University of Oregon
Public University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Private Yeshiva University

Top 50 Public American Research Universites.
Public Ohio State University - Columbus
Public University of California - Berkeley
Public University of California - Los Angeles
Public University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
Public University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Public University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Public University of Wisconsin - Madison
Public University of Florida
Public University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Public University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh
Public University of Washington - Seattle
Public Georgia Institute of Technology
Public Pennsylvania State University - University Park
Public University of California - San Diego
Public University of Texas - Austin
Public Texas A&M University
Public University of California - Davis
Public University of Maryland - College Park
Public University of Virginia
Public Purdue University - West Lafayette
Public University of Arizona
Public Michigan State University
Public University of Colorado - Boulder
Public University of Iowa
Public Rutgers the State University of NJ - New Brunswick
Public University of Utah
Public University of California - Irvine
Public Indiana University - Bloomington
Public University of Alabama - Birmingham
Public University of California - Santa Barbara
Public North Carolina State University
Public Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Public University of Georgia
Public Arizona State University
Public University at Buffalo
Public University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati
Public Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis
Public University of Colorado - Denver
Public University of Kansas - Lawrence
Public University of Connecticut - Storrs
Public University of Delaware
Public University of New Mexico - Albuquerque
Public University of Oregon

Public Florida State University
Public Iowa State University
Public University of Illinois - Chicago
Public University of Kentucky
Public University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Public Stony Brook University
Public University of Missouri - Columbia
Public Washington State University - Pullman
Public Colorado State University
Public Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge
Public University of Hawaii - Manoa
Public University of Houston - University Park
Public University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Public University of Oklahoma - Norman
Public University of South Florida - Tampa
Public Virginia Commonwealth University
Public University of California - Riverside
Public University of California - Santa Cruz
Public University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Public University of South Carolina - Columbia
Public Auburn University
Public Clemson University
Public Florida International University
Public Kansas State University
Public Oregon State University
Public University at Albany
Public University of Louisville

Φ Perhaps

a link would have sufficed.

What does this have to do with Husky players in the upcoming game?

voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/10/ccripe/boise_state_qb_joe_southwick_keeps_lucky_stache#storylink=cpy

∑ are you suggesting

that we stick to the subject? ∅

Φ Why start

now, huh?

This might be a little more

pertinent to the article.

Kudos to the Boise State football players for being top student athletes.

2011 Football APR

Boise State: 989

Stanford: 977
Utah: 966*
UCLA: 956
Oregon State: 955
Arizona: 951
Washington: 949
Oregon: 948
USC: 947
Colorado: 938*
Arizona State: 937
Cal: 936
Washington State: 933

Φ Couldn't be happy hour?

What "article" are you talking about? I didn't see anything in the links regarding APR.

How about stopping Austin Sefarian-Jenkins?

I said

"more" pertinent :0

That kid is a stud! My obvious choice to stop him would be Renaud, but Blake has trouble with routes over 10 yards. I think they will use a mixture of Blake and Simmons. I also think we will luck-out, because I think our corners will be able to handle their wide outs in man coverage, which could free up Ioane to put some after-catch hurt on ASF.

That's what I think anyway.

Φ Oh, I see.

If you had gone with "pertinenter", no further questions.

BSU is not going to cover AS-J with a linebacker. Forget that. Has to be one of the safeties ... often going hi/lo or i/o with an LB.

No, nobody is going to put the hurt on AS-J. Tom Brady is already drooling.

There you go again

with all those numbers that acctually correlate to college football programs at universities. What are we going to do with you if you keep pointing out the obvious and then backing it up?

Boise State is always high and to the right on every graph when it comes to football. The naysayers have to resort to smoke and mirrors.

Φ He thinks he's

Steve Mizerak.

Per Dr. Kustra’s plan........

Per Dr. Kustra, a truly exceptional University President, keep your eye on the prize. If BSU hopes for an invitation to the PAC 12 in 10 to 15 years per Dr. Kustra’s plan, follow Dr. Kustra’s admonitions to support the school and it’s quest to be recognized as a premier urban research University.

Support public colleges and Universities in Idaho….don’t vote to defund them. APR, while important is not nearly as important as American Research University status for many reasons.

You got Bob's email too!

This new program (not football) is just the latest example of Boise State’s focus on helping to build the community we share. Our university’s relationship with local and state government is central to our mission and identity as a public institution. It accelerates Boise State’s influence as part not only of the region’s political and governmental center, but also as a driver of its cultural, medical, intellectual and commercial sense of being as well. It is an important role for us to play.

This might be relevant

in that the TARU could be a factor in some of the BCS compter rankings. This would help explain why UCLA (9-4), Michigan (8-4), and Texas (8-4) ended up in the BCS top 25.

Thanks!