Friday, December 13, 2013
Bowl primer: Fight Hunger
By Kevin Gemmell
We continue our look at each of the Pac-12’s opponents during the bowl season.
Fight Hunger Bowl
San Francisco, Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Washington (8-4) vs. BYU (8-4)
Brigham Young Cougars
Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (ninth year).
Record 8-4, independent.
Combined opponent’s record: 78-67 (.537).
Common opponents: Both teams faced Boise State this year and both won. Washington beat the Broncos 38-6 in the season opener and BYU won 37-20 in late October.
Leading passer: Taysom Hill, 211-of-390 for 2,645 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Leading rusher: Taysom Hill, 215 carries for 1,211 yards with nine touchdowns.
Leading receiver: Cody Hoffman, 45 receptions for 727 yards and five touchdowns.
Leading tackler: Uani' Unga. 136 tackles.
What to know: Following a 20-13 loss to Utah in September, the Cougars went on quite the tear winning five in row, including victories over Utah State, Georgia Tech and Boise State.
Obviously from the stats, it’s easy to see that the offense runs through Hill. But he’s just one of two 1,000-yard rusher for the Cougars. Jamaal Williams also has 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns on 205 carries. So they are clearly a backfield tandem that could be a handful for the Huskies. When it’s all added up, the Cougars have the No. 10 rushing offense in the land, averaging 274.6 yards on the ground per game.
Hoffman is a dynamic receiver and -- per usual -- the Cougars present a talented defense. They yield just 21.3 points per game.
BYU closed the year winning just two of four games -- dropping contests to No. 24 Wisconsin and Notre Dame, both by 10 points.
The Cougars are making their ninth straight appearance in the postseason and have won their last four bowl games, with their last loss coming to Arizona in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl.
Key matchup: It’s been the Bishop Sankey show all year for the Huskies. No reason for that to stop now –- skeleton coaching staff or not. Expect Sankey to press a BYU front seven that has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of its final five. But outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy has 16 tackles for a loss. The Huskies have seen plenty of A-list outside backers, and Van Noy qualifies as A-list.