Huard: How UW Huskies can use Alamo Bowl as ‘springboard’ for 2023

Dec 22, 2022, 10:20 AM | Updated: 10:46 am
UW Huskies Michael Penix...
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) rolls away from Oregon defenders and looks for a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Phot/Andy Nelson)
(AP Phot/Andy Nelson)

The No. 12-ranked UW Huskies didn’t get the help they needed to get invited to the Rose Bowl, but they still have a big bowl game against No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 29.

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The Huskies enter the contest at 10-2 overall, and a win would mark just the fifth time in program history that Washington has won 11 games in a season. As for Texas, which is led by former UW head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Longhorns are 8-4 in 2022.

Interestingly enough, next week will be just the second time the Huskies have played in the Alamo Bowl. The last time was 2011 when Sarkisian’s Huskies faced off with Baylor in an historic shootout.

Former UW Huskies quarterback Brock Huard doesn’t think we’ll have that same type of offensive slugfest next week, but he does expect some fireworks between Washington and Texas down in San Antonio.

“There’s gonna be about 900 yards passing between the two teams,” he said during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

Back in 2011, the Huskies allowed a school-record 777 yards of offense to Baylor, which had Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III at quarterback. The Bears beat the Huskies 67-56 in a game that set bowl records for most points, yards and touchdowns. It also resulted in Washington overhauling its defensive coaching staff in a major way.

“I mean, they had absolutely no answer,” Huard said.

This time around may still be a shootout, but the Huskies catch a break of sorts as the Longhorns will be without their first-team All-American running back, Bijan Robinson. An expected early draft pick, Robinson has opted out of the Alamo Bowl, while on the other side the UW Huskies have all their stars ready to go.

“It helps the Huskies that many of their players have decided to come back to school not just for next year, but to finish this thing out strong,” Huard said.

Something that’s changed in recent years is that some of the NFL Draft’s top prospects have decided to not to play in bowl games due to risk of injury, unless it’s a College Football Playoff game. Huard said that makes it hard to predict who will win many of the bowl games as it’s difficult to know which teams are checked in rather than checked out.

“In this case with Washington, they’re checked in. They are all aboard,” Huard said. “And they know they can use this, truly, as a springboard into next season. That if they beat a talented Texas team – yes, without Bijan Robinson, their stud running back – if they can beat this team, and even beat them convincingly down there … this is a springboard to a top-10 ranking in the 2023 preseason.”

What this game could also be a springboard for, guest host Mike Lefko noted, is Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr.’s 2023 Heisman campaign.

“He finished eighth in the Heisman voting this year. He was comeback player of the year,” Huard said. “He will have the weaponry around him … But this is a springboard for 2023 and I think he approaches it that way, (head coach) Kalen DeBoer approaches is that way, and they get to face a former coach in Steve Sarkisian that at least for the administration and people that had been around there long enough, they want to get this one, for sure.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

‘Unfinished business’: Michael Penix Jr. breaks down return to UW Huskies

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Huard: How UW Huskies can use Alamo Bowl as ‘springboard’ for 2023