Huskies trying to look ahead to Vegas, not back
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is completely done with what happened in the Apple Cup, from Washington's fourth-quarter meltdown to getting hit by an unruly Washington State fan as spectators rushed the field following the Cougars' overtime victory.
His feelings were mirrored by the entire Washington program on Monday, which finally has a chance to stop talking about blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead to its rivals and can start looking ahead to the Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl, where they will face No. 20 Boise State.
''It is behind us honestly,'' Seferian-Jenkins said Monday, the first time Washington players have been available since the Apple Cup loss. ''I dropped it after the next day. It's upsetting that we lost to our rival and the way we lost is unacceptable, but no one is really hanging their head on it anymore. We are still playing and that's all that counts. We are still playing and we've got a great opportunity against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.''
Las Vegas is where the Huskies (7-5) wanted to go all along. But that option was thrown into flux when Washington lost to rival Washington State 31-28 in overtime on Nov. 23 and the Huskies were stuck waiting to see how bowl selections would shake out.
Eventually, the Huskies got their wish when Arizona ended up in the New Mexico Bowl and Arizona State went to San Francisco.
''They're a great team and this is a great opportunity for us,'' Washington QB Keith Price said. ''Obviously, Vegas is a fun place to be, but we're out there for a football game and we'll have time to have fun but ultimately we're out there to win a football game.''
The Huskies' 2012 season finale will be a preview of the 2013 season opener. Washington has heavily promoted opening renovated Husky Stadium next Aug. 31 against the Broncos, part of a home-and-home series that will see the Huskies play on Boise's blue turf in 2015.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian sees the situation as a chance to develop a mini-rivalry with the Broncos.
''Boise, they've been doing this for such an extended period of time. They've been doing it year after year after year and so, for our guys, this is just another opportunity to go play a great football team that is really well-coached on a national stage,'' Sarkisian said. '' ... It's a really good matchup for both teams and sets the stage for somewhat of an intriguing offseason for nine months before the rematch here at Husky Stadium. I think it's pretty cool.''
While the entire Washington program would like to erase the memory of the final quarter of the Apple Cup, it was especially painful for Price, who threw a costly interception on the first play of overtime. Price watched a replay of the game as soon as he got to his apartment and said it was painful revisiting his mistake.
''This past week has been rough on the team. A lot of guys have been down. Obviously, you don't want to finish the season like that but we have another chance to kind of redeem ourselves,'' Price said.
As if losing to a rival wasn't enough, there was also the video that emerged after the Apple Cup that showed Seferian-Jenkins getting punched by at least one fan and dropped to the turf as the crowd rushed the field in the moments after Andrew Furney's game-winning kick. Seferian-Jenkins spoke to the media after the game and said nothing about the incident.
Washington State officials have said they are reviewing policies and trying to find the person.
For his part, Seferian-Jenkins wants the whole thing to go away. He said Washington officials asked if he wanted to pursue the situation and he told them to drop it.
''I told them not to pursue anything,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. ''They asked me and I said, `No, it's not worth it, it's a waste of time.' Whoever that guy was, it's not a big deal. I hope he was probably intoxicated or something like that. I'm not really worried about it. I'm over it. I think everybody else should be over it. It's not that big of a deal.''