TicketCity Cactus Bowl Preview: Washington vs. Oklahoma State

Ahhh, January in Seattle; homes are still redolent of roasted chestnuts, bars are still redolent of Seahawks Division Championship hangovers (I know I helped), and the Oklahoma City Thunder are having a mediocre season that they could have had right here. Seattle fans also are treated to the UW Huskies fifth straight post-season bowl appearance.

This year we’re slated for the Ticketcity (just shoot me) Cactus Bowl against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This is our first, under new head coach Chris Petersen (formerly of an impressive Boise State system) and we’re hopeful that it’s simply the beginning of positive trajectory for the Dawgs.

Kickoff is tonight at 7:15 pm (PST) from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. While the Vegas bookies are spotting us 6.5, I’m a little concerned that the five weeks off has invited a little mold into our otherwise gleaming and surging team. Hopefully I’m just feeling the nerves of a fan who’s seen defeat snatched out of the jaws of victory one too many times by the Huskies. After all, it’s our defense that’s leading the way.

We’re tied for second in the country for sacking our opponents’ Qbs 49 times this season (3.77 per game).

The OSU offensive line was the most generous in the Big 12, allowing 3.08 sacks per game.

Oh yeah, and the UW ended a 12 year drought in any defensive players being selected to the AP Press All America First Team this season.

In fact we did it with three (!!!) player selections, a first in UW history; senior Hau’oli Kikaha (at linebacker), senior Danny “Scion of Emtman” Shelton (defensive tackle), and junior Shaq Thompson (all-purpose player). Full breakdown of their selections here.

That said, the Cowboys of OSU are coming off a dramatic comeback victory over their rivals at Oklahoma University where they showed a good ability to capitalize on mistakes… the re-kicked punt by OU which OSU’s Hill returned 92 yards for a touchdown to force overtime comes to mind. OSU also played Florida State close in their season opener, losing 31-36. However, if we want to look at competing with the juggernauts, the Huskies… ok, even I can’t say we played the Ducks close when we lost 45 – 20. But we played them closer than Florida State on New Year’s, who lost 59 – 20.

However, this is college football and, really, anything can happen. Petersen is well known for trick plays and his philosophy is to expect the same from his opponent. Frankly, this could easily be a blow out in the Huskies’ favor when you add in Cyler Miles’ 144.2 QBR and the Cowboys’ lukewarm defense.

If nothing else, a sound spanking of some representatives from Oklahoma State can give us some much-needed catharsis about not watch Durant play for the Sonics. It’d only be better if Howard Schultz and Clayton Bennet were forced to act as a canine newsstand for Dubs, the UW mascot, after a long victory drink of Gatorade.

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Matt Paige is the Baseball Managing Editor and a regular contributor on SSU TV and for Seahawks Football. He also writes the column "The Call-Up" and is a rabid fan of all teams Seattle (Except the Huskies. Go Ducks!).