LAS VEGAS -- After two straight blowouts in the Las Vegas Bowl, Boise State had to work late to come up a winner in this gambling city for a third time.
Little Michael Frisina came up big for Boise State, kicking a 27-yard field goal with 1:16 left to give the No. 20 Broncos a 28-26 victory Saturday over Washington for their third Las Vegas Bowl trophy in a row.
Frisina, who stands 5-foot-5, made the winning kick after Washington had taken the lead for the first time on Travis Coons’ 38-yard field goal. Boise State (11-2) sealed the win when Jeremy Ioane intercepted Keith Price’s pass as the Huskies (7-6) neared midfield.
Boise State had to overcome a 205-yard rushing game by Bishop Sankey against a normally stingy Bronco defense. Sankey also had 74 yards receiving, giving him 279 of Washington’s 447 yards from scrimmage.
Sankey, who was third on the depth list when fall practice began, rushed 30 times and caught six passes in the biggest game of his career. He was the MVP of the game, despite being on the losing side.
Frisina was only 12 for 17 on field goals coming into the game, but kicked three of them, including a 34-yarder to open the scoring that was his first field goal over 30 yards for the year.
Boise State, which outscored Utah and Arizona State 82-24 in its two previous Las Vegas Bowl wins, looked headed for a third straight blowout when Holden Huff scored on a 34-yard pass with 5:25 left in the second quarter for an 18-3 lead. But Sankey scored on a 26-yard run on Washington’s next possession, and Price scrambled for another score with 3 seconds left to make it 18-17 at halftime.
After both teams scored touchdowns on long drives in the third quarter, the Huskies took their only lead of the game on the field goal by Coons with 4:09 left. On the ensuing kickoff, though, freshman Shane Williams-Rhodes returned the ball 47 yards to the Washington 42, and Joe Southwick guided them to the 12 before Frisina hit the winning kick.
The teams traded long drives in the third quarter, with Boise going 74 yards in 15 plays to open the second half, and Washington responding with a 75 yard, 12 play drive. The Huskies went for a 2-point conversion that would have tied it, but the pass was incomplete
Sankey kept Washington in the game almost by himself in the first half, scoring the first touchdown for the Huskies and gaining huge chunks of yardage against the normally stingy Bronco defense.
Of the 238 yards Washington gained in the half, Sankey had 178 of them. He ran 16 times for 130 yards and stretched out two short passes for another 48 yards.
Boise State was playing without starting defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, the team’s sack leader. Lawrence was sent home Thursday for violating unspecified team rules, his second suspension of the season.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
EAST CAROLINA 34
NEW ORLEANS -- Terrance Broadway passed for 316 yards and ran for 108, helping Louisiana-Lafayette beat East Carolina for its second straight New Orleans Bowl victory.
Alonzo Harris rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns for the Ragin’ Cajuns (9-4), who briefly squandered a three-touchdown lead before moving back in front for good on Broadway’s 14-yard scoring pass to Javone Lawson late in the third quarter. Brett Baer added his second and third field goals in the fourth quarter.
Broadway also ran for a 12-yard score.
Shane Carden passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns for East Carolina (8-5), but had a pass intercepted by Jemarlous Moten in the fourth quarter as the Pirates were driving for a potential go-ahead score.
The Pirates’ Reggie Bullock ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Last year, Lafayette beat San Diego State 32-30 in the bowl.