FROM TEMPE -- As always, we have our postgame tale of the tape after Washington's 30-22 loss to Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- The official Cactus Bowl honor went to Oklahoma State running back Desmond Roland for this award, and he was as deserving as anybody after rushing for 123 yards on 32 carries. Huskies receiver Jaydon Mickens also wound up with a nice stat line, catching seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, plus a 31-yard touchdown run on a reverse.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- The Cactus Bowl's honor went to OSU linebacker Seth Jacobs, who had eight tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. John Timu led all tacklers with 12, and Shaq Thompson had 10 in what was likely his final game as a Husky.
PLAY OF THE GAME -- James Castleman, OSU's 300-pound senior defensive tackle, caught a short third-down pass and rumbled for a 48-yard gain on the Cowboys' final possession to set up a short field goal try. OSU missed the kick and gave UW a chance to come back -- the Huskies didn't, obviously -- but Castleman's catch and run eliminated nearly any hope the Huskies had of getting the ball back with enough time to drive for a game-tying score.
STAT OF THE GAME -- The Huskies didn't achieve a first down until midway through the second quarter on an 18-yard carry by Dwayne Washington.
QUOTABLE -- "We were just getting our teeth kicked in on offense from the very start. There's no good plays when that's happening. We had a couple things in the pass game that we didn't hit, and run game was not going. I think you put the tape on, you just see they were playing harder than us from the start." -- UW coach Chris Petersen on the first half
WHAT IT MEANS -- Chris Petersen spoke on Thursday about the importance of winning a bowl game, because a victory in the final game of the season can go a long way toward a productive offseason. The idea is that everyone enters winter workouts, and eventually spring practices, feeling better about where the program is headed. But the opposite can be true, too, and that's something Petersen and the Huskies will have to combat as they examine why they didn't show up for the first half of the Cactus Bowl. Petersen said the Huskies were "still in practice mode" in the first half. Cyler Miles said something similar, referencing a practice-like attitude and saying they were "too relaxed." Have to wonder if the six-day break for the holidays had something to do with that. Anyway, the Huskies finish the first year of the Petersen era with an 8-6 record, which certainly doesn't align with the general optimism that greeted the coach upon his arrival. Washington played one more game than it did in 2013, and finished with one fewer victory. The offense is obviously a big concern heading into 2015, with Miles returning as a junior but touted freshman Jake Browning arriving on campus in a few days. The quarterback situation will be interesting to monitor as spring approaches. There's also the matter of replacing six starters on defense -- including the entire defensive line -- and three All-Americans (assuming Thompson declares for the NFL draft, as nearly everyone expects).
UP NEXT -- Washington begins the 2015 season with a game at Boise State on either Thursday, Sept. 3, or Friday, Sept. 4.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple