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Underdog Washington Huskies hope to ‘hit’ Texas Longhorns

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Underdog Washington Huskies hope to ‘hit’ Texas Longhorns

NEW ORLEANS — For the second straight game, Washington players are scratching their heads and asking themselves the same question: “Are we underdogs again?”

Despite being undefeated and ranked higher than Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, Washington was a 9.5-point underdog heading into this one. The Huskies went out and beat Oregon for the second time this season on December 1, earning a 13-0 record and a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Now, No. 2 Washington is undefeated and ranks ahead of No. 3 Texas (12-1). Still, the Longhorns are 4-point favorites heading into the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Monday night. It’s also worth noting that Washington beat Texas last year in the Alamo Bowl.

“I think it’s crazy,” Bralen Trice, Washington’s point guard, said during a press briefing Friday. “The level of disrespect we receive, I can’t really understand it, but it helps us because it puts our backs against the wall as we go into these games, ready to play even harder because we’re the underdogs. You Don’t take anything for granted. We are grateful to be in the position we are in because of the hard work we have put in. We can be the underdogs. We can be at the top and we will come out with victory. “

Trice later told ESPN: “I want to go out there and hit them. You know, I don’t want it to be a close game. I want it to be pretty lopsided in our favor.

“And I think that’s what we’re going to do, because I know the mindset of my guys on my team going into this game. I think that’s a big part of what’s going to allow us to to succeed in this game. Is our mindset based on what people say.”

When asked why he thought Washington continued to be treated as an underdog despite all the victories, Trice simply replied: “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you.”

There is one theory that Trice believes could explain the lack of respect Washington feels: playing on the West Coast. The Pac-12 had a six-year playoff drought before Washington managed it.

“That definitely has a role to do with it,” Trice said. “We’re the first Pac-12 team to make the Sugar Bowl. It’s a great feeling because we’re going to come here, make our mark and get a win.”

Additionally, the Huskies have had to endure several close calls this season. In the three games preceding the Pac-12 title game, Washington won each by a touchdown or less. That includes a 24-21 win over Washington State in the regular season finale, in which the Huskies needed a field goal with no time to win.

Trice said the entire team felt frustrated at being called underdogs. But cornerback Dominique Hampton took a more practical approach when asked about it.

“We’ve been in this position all year and we just have to prove it again,” he said.

Just a year ago in the Alamo Bowl, despite injuries and withdrawals, Texas entered the game as a 3-point favorite. Washington won 27-20 as Michael Penix Jr. threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns in what would be a preview of this season.

Both teams were asked if their game last season helped them prepare for Monday night. Texas has repeatedly said it is a much better team on its offensive and defensive lines, prompting a back-and-forth between T’Vondre Sweat and Penix during their availability Thursday.

After Sweat called Washington just an offensive line, Penix said, “We’re not playing the D-line of the 49ers or the Eagles, so we’ll be good.”

When Trice was asked if he had seen any comments from Texas about their offensive line thinking they were in a much better position than in their bowl game last year, he responded: ” I haven’t read much about it, but they think they “We’re awesome. I think we’re better.”

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