In their first game without since-departed head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Washington Huskies take on the BYU Cougars in Friday night’s Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo will fill in for the Huskies season finale after Sarkisian moved on to the vacant USC job earlier this month. After suffering a three-game losing streak to Stanford, Oregon, and eventual Pac-12 champion Arizona State, the Huskies would end the year by winning four of their last five games including a 27-17 regular season closing victory over Washington State.
Tuiasosopo will try to snap Washington’s three game losing streak to BYU. The all-time series is tied at 4-4, though the schools have never previously met in a bowl.
The Cougars (8-4) and quarterback Taysom Hill shocked previously ranked Texas to start the year and coasted through their midseason schedule before splitting their final four games with road losses to Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Hill and sophomore running back Jamaal Williams lead BYU’s 10th ranked rushing attack averaging 274.8 yards per game, followed by senior receiver Cody Hoffman’s 727 receiving yards and five touchdowns, good for third among independent schools.
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Linebacker Uani Unga heads BYU’s 22nd nationally ranked defense with 136 total tackles, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi have each recorded a team-high 4.0 sacks. Van Noy is also tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
That corps also held opponents to 3.8 yards per rush, and will face the Pac-12's second leading rusher in Washington’s Bishop Shankey. The junior finished the year with 1,775 yards and 18 touchdowns, including 379 yards and four touchdowns in the Huskies last two wins.
Senior quarterback Keith Price was the Pac-12’s second most efficient passer with a 154.8 rating for 2,844 yards, and 20 touchdowns to five interceptions. Receivers Kevin Smith and Jaydon Mickens have accumulated 1,303 yards and nine touchdowns as Price’s main targets.
The Washington defense is spearheaded by defensive Hau’oli Kikaha’s 10.0 sacks, and nine combined interceptions for defensive backs Sean Parker and Marcus Peters.
Betting Odds: Washington favored by 3.5
Over/Under: 61 points
Time: Friday, 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream: Watch ESPN here
Prediction: BYU 30, Washington 24