Washington will face not one, but two 1,000-yard rushers when they clash with Brigham Young University in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco’s AT&T Park Friday night.
GAME: Brigham Young (8-4 overall) vs. Washington (8-4 overall, 5-4 Pac-12). WHEN: Friday, 6:30 p.m., AT&T Park, San Francisco. BOWL: Fight Hunger. MEETING: 9th (series 4-4). COACHES: Bronco Mendenhall, BYU; Marques Tuiasosopo, Washington (interim). RANKINGS: Neither school ranked. LINE: Washington by 3. TV: ESPN. RADIO: KJR-950 AM.
It has been a turbulent ride for Washington since its Apple Cup triumph over Washington State, what with the loss of head coach Steve Sarkisian to USC and the hiring of Chris Petersen from Boise State as Sarkisian’s replacement, to say nothing of Tosh Lupoi, the defensive line coach targeted with allegations that he made rules-breaking payments for the tutoring of a recruit. Now, for a final time this season, it’s back to football.
Washington interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo will try to lead the Huskies to their highest win total (nine) in 13 years while BYU seeks its seventh postseason victory in eight tries in the Fight Hunger Bowl, the prize for both schools for producing 8-4 seasons.
“I’m humbled and honored,” said Tuiasosopo, the former Husky quarterback who worked this season as Sarkisian’s quarterbacks coach. ”It’s a great, incredible honor to lead my alma mater in a bowl game. We still have a lot to play for this season. I am excited to go out and get a ninth win.”
The 11-year-old Fight Hunger Bowl will showcase three of the nation’s most accomplished rushers in Washington’s Bishop Sankey, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and Cougars running back Jamaal Williams, as well as one of the country’s top passers in UW’s Keith Price.
Sankey ranks third nationally with a school-record 1,775 yards on 5.8 per carry and 18 touchdowns. He’s coming off one of his best performances of the season with 200 yards and a TD on 34 carries against Washington State.
Hill ranks 21st with 1,211 rushing yards and nine TDs while also throwing for 2,645 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Williams is slightly behind Hill with 1,202 yards on 5.9 per carry and seven touchdowns after running 15 times for a career-high 219 yards and a TD in BYU’s regular-season finale.
The sophomores are the first pair with more than 1,000 rushing yards each in a season for the Cougars, who are 73-8 under head coach Bronco Mendenhall when scoring 24 or more.
Price ranks 25th nationally with a 65.5 completion percentage and 258.5 passing yards per game. The senior has 20 touchdown passes and five interceptions, throwing only one pick over his last five games.
While the Huskies have one of the nation’s top offenses at 38.5 points per game, they could have their hands full with a BYU defense that’s allowed an average of 21.3.
BYU is 10th nationally in rushing at 274.6 yards per game and 14th in total offense with 495.3 yards, running an average of 84.5 plays per game. By comparison, Washington is 14th with 243.1 rushing yards and eighth in total offense with 514.3 yards. The Huskies run an average of 79.4 plays per game, meaning BYU is even more up-tempo than Washington.
In addition to the challenge of stopping a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, the Huskies will have to deal with BYU linebacker, Kyle Van Noy, a Walter Camp All-America selection and potential first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Van Noy gets into the backfield on a regular basis and can dominate. In the 2012 Poinsetta Bowl, Van Noy had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and made an interception.
The Fight Hunger Bowl will bePrice’s last game. He is the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (74), completion percentage (.669) and passing efficiency (143.4). It might also be the last for two other Husky weapons, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Mackey Award winner, and RB Sankey, a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Seferian-Jenkins holds every significant record by a UW tight end and will be highly prized in the draft if he elects to skip his senior season, considered probable. Sankey, also a junior, said he will make his decision after the bowl game. Sankey asked for, and received, a draft evaluation by the NFL, which projected him as a third-round pick.
WASHINGTON’S ROAD TO THE BOWL: The Huskies destroyed No. 19 Boise State on opening night at the renovated Husky Stadium and ran the table in their non-conference games with wins against Illinois and Idaho State. UW started fast in conference with a 31-13 win over Arizona to climb to 4-0 and No. 15 nationally before facing a gauntlet of the Pac-12’s three best teams.
That did not go well as the Huskies lost at Stanford 31-28, let Oregon run away from them in the fourth quarter of a 45-24 loss, then fell flat in an embarrassing 53-24 stumble at Arizona State. The Huskies fell to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-12, putting major pressure on Sarkisian to produce a successful second half.
With a softer schedule, UW easily defeated Cal and Colorado before losing to UCLA in a sloppy affair at the Rose Bowl.UW bounced back, destroying Oregon State in Corvallis 69-27, along with a redeeming 27-17 Apple Cup win against Washington State to finish with eight wins for the first time since 2001.
BYU’S ROAD TO THE BOWL: The Cougars sandwiched a 40-21 thrashing of No. 15 Texas with losses to Virginia and Utah to start 1-2. BYU put together a five-game winning streak with all victories against teams that finished the regular season with winning records. The stretch, which included victories over Middle Tennessee, Utah State, Georgia Tech, Houston and Boise State, pushed the Cougars to 6-2 and secured bowl eligibility.
The season wound down with mixed results. BYU lost at Wisconsin and Notre Dame and scored wins over Idaho State and Nevada to finish 8-4.
COMMON OPPONENTS: The Huskies and Cougars played Boise State and Idaho State. Washington defeated the Broncos 38-6, and BYU won 37-20. UW destroyed Idaho State 56-0, the Cougars prevailed 59-13.
|Category||UW (Rank)||BYU (Rank)||Skinny|
|Rush Offense||243.08 (14)||274.67 (10)||Cougars held foes to 3.8 yards per rush|
|Pass Offense||271.3 (30)||220.8 (75)||BYU had 19 TDs, Washington 24|
|Scoring Offense||38.5 (18)||31.3 (52)||BYU scored 40 or more points 3 times|
|Rush Defense||157.75 (59)||157.42 (56)||BYU allowed 9 TDs, Sankey scored 18|
|Pass Defense||222.2 (50)||226.4 (60)||BYU held foes to 113.1 pass rating|
|Scoring Defense||23.4 (35)||21.3 (21)||BYU allowed 256 points, UW scored|
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 14, 1985, when BYU clobbered Washington 31-3 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, UT. After that, Washington won four in a row, scoring its most recent win in 1998. BYU has taken the last three meetings, scoring its most recent Sept. 4, 2010, 23-17. Washington’s Jake Locker threw a 19-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse and ran nine yards for another TD.
UW STATS / NOTES
HUSKIES 2013 OFFENSIVE LEADERS
HUSKIES 2013 DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Fuimaono 76, Thompson 70, Timu 63|
|Sacks||Kikaha 10.0, Littleton 5.0, Hudson 4.0|
|Interceptions||Peters 5, Parker 4, 4 with 1|
|Passes Defensed||Peters 14, Ducre 8, Parker 7|
|Forced Fumbles||Fuimaono, Kikaha 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Peters 2, Feeney, Watson, Farria, 1|
BYU NOTES: BYU defeated Texas (40-21), Middle Tennessee (37-10), Utah State (31-14), Georgia Tech (38-20), Houston (47-46), Boise State (37-20), Idaho State (59-13) and Nevada (28-23), and lost to Virginia (19-16), Utah (20-13), Wisconsin (27-17) and Notre Dame (23-13) . . . The BYU roster includes seven players from the state of Washington, including OL Tim Duran (Puyallup), QB Billy Green (Woodway), LB Spencer Hadley (Connell), TE Terren Houk (Enumclaw), LB Scott Lefrandt (Seattle), QB Jason Munns (Kennewick), WR Luke Nelson (Issaquah) . . . Taysom Hill led the Cougars in rushing yards (1,211) and passing yards (2,645), He ran for nine TDs and passed for 19 . . . Jamaal Williams led the Cougars with 109.3 rushing yards per game and Cody Hoffman led in receiving at 72.7 per game with five TDs . . . Bronco Mendenhall has been coach of the Cougars since 2003 and has appeared to nine consecutive bowl games. A native of American Fork, UT., he played college ball at Oregon State.
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Stanford||11-2||7-2||Jan. 1, vs. Michigan St.|
|Oregon||10-2||6-2||Mon, vs. Texas|
|Washington||8-4||4-4||Fri, vs. BYU|
|Oregon St.||6-6||4-5||Season Complete|
|Washington St.||6-6||4-5||Season Complete|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|Arizona St.||10-3||8-1||Mon, vs. Texas Tech|
|UCLA||9-3||6-3||Tue, vs. Virginia Tech|
|Arizona||7-5||4-5||Tue, vs. Boston College|
University of Washington 2013 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|8/31/13||vs. Boise St.||—||19||W||38-6||1-0|
|9/21/13||vs. Ida. State||17||—||W||56-0||3-0|