The Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13
Washington Huskies (8-4) at BYU Cougars (8-4)
College Football: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm (AT&T Park)
The Line: BYU Cougars +3 -- Over/Under: 57.5 See the Latest Odds
Storyline: BYU is after its fifth consecutive bowl victory, while Washington looks for its first postseason win in three tries when the two sides meet up in the Fight Huger Bowl Friday.
The Breakdown: The Cougars began 2013 as a question mark after dropping their season opener 19-16 to a Virginia team that won just one other game the entire season and following that by trouncing then #15 Texas 40-21 in week two. BYU hiccupped again the next week in a 20-13 loss to Utah before reeling off five straight and ending the season at .500 with losses to then 24th-ranked Wisconsin and Notre Dame broken up by victories over Idaho State and at Nevada in the season finale.
Lance Iversen/USA TODAY Sports
The Cougars own the FBS’s 10th best ground game at 274.6 yards per contest, undoubtedly helped along by the 550 yards they posted against Texas, as well as having two of the country’s top 25 rushers in sophomore QB Taysom Hill (1,211 yards, 9 TDs), who finished 21st, and sophomore RB Jamaal Williams (1,202 YDs, 7 TDs), who was right behind at 22nd. BYU ranks 78th in passing yards at 220.8 per contest, but Hill has proved a more than capable passer, completing 54.1 percent of his passes for 2,645 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. Senior WR Cody Hoffman (45 REC, 727 YDs, 5 TDs) was Hill’s primary target. Defensively, the Cougars bring the nation’s 22nd best scoring defense, allowing 21.3 points per contest and its 56th-ranked run defense at 157.4 yards per outing.
The Huskies started their 2013 campaign on a tear, winning their first four and outscoring opponents by a combined 159-43. Then came the meat of the schedule and Washington dropped its next three to then #5 Stanford, then #2 Oregon and Arizona State. The Huskies would rebound to take four of their last five and end the season with a 27-17 victory over Washington State.
The departure of head coach Steve Sarkisian for greener pastures may have some effect in this game. After all, Sarkisian did just leave for USC less than a month ago. Interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo now has the unenviable task of attempting to lead Washington to its first bowl victory in three years and its most wins since he led the Huskies to an 11-1 finish as their starting quarterback in 2000. Washington’s high-powered offense ranks 31st in the nation in passing yards (271.3), 14th in rushing yards (243.1), and 18th in scoring offense (38.5). They’ll be led by senior QB Keith Price (2,83 YDs, 20 TDs) and junior RB Bishop Sankey (1,775 YDs, 18 TDs), the country’s third leading rusher. Defensively, the Huskies own the FBS’s 34th-ranked scoring defense, allowing 23.4 points per game.
Rick’s Pick: Washington is currently a 3 point favorite in this matchup with a 57.5 point total. This game features a lot of offense with three of the country’s top 25 rushers in Sankey, Hill and Williams. Both sides have done disappearing acts this season, though, so a pick on the winning side is a tossup. And with both averaging a combined 69.8 points per outing, the over looks like the play.
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