University of Washington

Cactus Bowl: Gundy wanted Huskies receiver at Oklahoma State

Washington Huskies receiver Jaydon Mickens told the story a few weeks ago of his official recruiting visit to Oklahoma State’s campus in Stillwater.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy recalled this week “several really good phone conversations” between him and Mickens, but lamented that ultimately, he couldn’t get the Los Angeles (Dorsey High) product away from the West Coast.

But he thought he could have.

“I wouldn’t have flown out to L.A.,” Gundy said with a smile, “unless I thought I had a shot.”

As Gundy detailed, the majority of the players on Oklahoma State’s roster come from Oklahoma, Texas or Kansas. The Cowboys list two players with a hometown in California – starting sophomore linebacker Seth Jacobs from Arroyo Grande and junior long snapper Josh Elias, an Arizona transfer from San Jose.

“His recruiting was a little different,” Gundy said. “I identified him late for that reason. But (he) showed a lot of interest. Had good conversations. I really enjoyed him as a person, his personality.”

Mickens is UW’s leading receiver this year as a junior, catching 53 passes for 535 yards and three touchdowns. His 138 career receptions rank eighth-most in school history.

“We sure would have liked to have had him,” Gundy said. “He’s been a good football player.”

Liberty lives on

UW coach Chris Petersen is preceded by his reputation for calling trick plays, particularly the hook and ladder and subsequent Statue of Liberty play that helped Boise State beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

Given that history — and given Boise State’s execution of another Statue of Liberty play during Wednesday’s Fiesta Bowl victory over Arizona, this time under coach Bryan Harsin — Petersen’s penchant for trick plays has been a consistent topic of conversation.

“You’re always just trying to figure out how to move the ball, is really what it is,” Petersen said. “If you think something like that will work, you do it. You know, I think everybody in bowl games has these trick plays. You see everybody doing them. It’s not unique to I think any one person. I think what you’re just trying to do is figure out how to move the ball.”


Petersen is 5-2 in bowl games, and hasn’t lost one since the 2008 season. He didn’t coach in Boise State’s Hawaii Bowl loss last year. “I think that last game is so important, I really do,” Petersen said. “That’s one of the things that’s so interesting about the College Football Playoff. You get those four teams in there, two of them are going to be going out here, and that’s just such a sour taste in your mouth, even though – what a tremendous season for those guys. To be able to win your last game, even if you’re not going to a bowl game, means a little something. Certainly if you are going to a bowl game, to get that last one I think is really important to everybody.” … Oklahoma State will play Friday without running back/kick and punt returner Tyreek Hill, who was booted from the team Dec. 12 following his arrest for domestic violence. Petersen has experience dismissing star players before bowl games – in 2012, he sent Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence home from the Las Vegas Bowl (against Washington) for a rules violation. “Kids adjust. They rally. You adapt and you play ball,” Petersen said. “Over time, it seems like a team is a team, and they come together. You certainly hate when anything like that happens. It’s painful to go through. It’s disruptive, all those type of things. But we ended up winning the game.”

Christian Caple: 253-597-8437