Huskies Insider Blog

Bring on Nebraska, bring on the sun in Holiday Bowl

For all those years Brigham Young was the Western Athletic Conference champion, and went to the Holiday Bowl - former quarterback Steve Sarkisian never made it there with the Cougars.

But he'll make it there in his second season as the UW coach.

Predictably, Sarkisian noted Monday he never really paid close attention to all the bowl scenarios for his team - for the Holiday Bowl or the Alamo Bowl, and which opponents would be lined up to play.

He waited to find out like everybody else Sunday, and did when he was notified the UW would see Nebraska - again - in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30 in San Diego.

"After the Rose Bowl, (the Holiday Bowl is) the probably the premier bowl for the Pac-10 to go to," Sarkisian said. "And then to have an opponent like Nebraska, I think, is what you want. You want to go to a game that is motivating for your players, and for your fans, and obviously to have that rematch against Nebraska – a very good football team and one we played earlier in the year – is a good opportunity for us."

The Cornhuskers hammed the UW, 56-21, on Sept. 18 in Husky Stadium.

After the Huskies got back from their 35-28 Apple Cup victory Saturday in Pullman, the majority of the coaching staff left on the recruiting trail. Sarkisian, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive coordinator Nick Holt stayed behind to start preparing a Nebraska game plan.

"There is obviously joy and excitement that we’re going to play in the Holiday Bowl, which is a great experience," Sarkisian said. "But we’re going there to play a football game, and to win the game. This isn’t vacation."

Leftover stuff from the Apple Cup:

* Defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi (broken left ankle) and receiver Cody Bruns (broken clavicle) have already been ruled out for the bowl game. Sarkisian hopes to get safety Sean Parker (shoulder) and defensive end Talia Crichton (knee) back before then.

William Chandler, who took over for Bruns as the holder on field goals and PAT kicks, will likely remain in that capacity.

* Upon review on the UW fourth-and-goal fumble by Jake Locker and Jesse Callier, Sarkisian confirmed the two players "just got too close together" on the fake exchange. The timing of the play, the coach said, was fine.

* A few things had to come together for the Huskies to attempt the fake punt they did in the first half that led to Locker's touchdown run.

One of the biggest components was trying to sneak Jermaine Kearse - who hauled in the 30-yard pass from punter Kiel Rasp - into the game along the UW sideline, which took place.

"The throw (Rasp) makes is not perfect, but the whole idea behind that is to give Jermaine a chance," Sarkisian said.

* The biggest cause of Taz Stevenson's three jersey numbers for the Apple Cup? Too many starters playing in all phases, Sarkisian said.

* Running back Chris Polk was named the Pac-10's offensive player of the week after going for a career-best 284 yards against WSU.