SAN FRANCISCO - The Washington Huskies will meet the BYU Cougars in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday, December 27 at AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. [PST]/9:30 p.m. [EST] kickoff and will be shown to a national audience by ESPN. This year's kickoff marks a return to prime time for the first time since Nevada played Boston College in the 2010 postseason.
Both teams are 8-4 this season and have split eight previous meetings. Their last contest was in 2010 with BYU scoring a 23-17 victory in Provo. This will be their first meeting in a bowl game or at a neutral site.
Washington will be without head coach Steve Sarkisian, a BYU grad. Sarkisian accepted the head coaching position at USC where he replaces interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Of course, Orgeron was auditioning for the full-time gig with the Trojans after being asked to fill to take the interim role following the firing of Lane Kiffin after a 3-2 start by the Trojans.
Former Washington star QB Marques Tuiasosopo, the QB coach under Sarkisian, was named interim head coach for the bowl game on December 4.
BYU's arduous schedule was rated 14th-toughest by the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com and was highlighted by a 37-20 home triumph October 25 over Boise State. That win elevated the Cougars to bowl eligibility and made them the first of 70+ teams to accept a bid for postseason play. BYU (#33, CCR Top 125) put together a 5-game winning streak midseason and also defeated Texas in September. The Cougars completed their regular season with a come-from-behind victory at Nevada November 30.
Washington (#27, CCR Top 125) also finished 8-4 after negotiating its way through a PAC-12 conference that the Congrove Computer Rankings determined to be the 3rd-strongest in college football this year (SEC 74.98, Big Twelve 73.88, PAC-12, 73.81).
Highlights included a season-opening victory over Boise State that christened the newly-renovated Husky Stadium; a 4-game win streak to begin the campaign; and four victories in their last five contests. Washington concluded the season by throttling Oregon State 69-27 on the road and followed up with an Apple Cup victory over Washington State 27-17. The 8-4 finish was Washington's best since 2001.
Washington brings one of the game's most prolific offenses to San Francisco. The Huskies averaged 514.3 yards of total offense, which was second overall in the PAC-12. The rush game averaged 243.0 yards/game and the pass game 271.3.
Junior RB Bishop Sankey, a Doak Walker finalist for top running back honors, had an outstanding season as he rushed 306 times for 1,774 yards and 18 touchdowns. The yards gained and TDs led the conference.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins led all Washington receivers with TD's and won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end.
Senior QB Keith Price completed 216 of 330 attempts and threw for 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He ranked 6th among PAC-12 passers. Price battled injuries in the second half of the season but is expected to be fully recovered by late December.
BYU senior QB Taysom Hill accounted for 28 total touchdowns in leading the Cougars in both passing and rushing. Hill completed 211 of 390 attempts for 2,645 yards and 19 TDs; he also rushed 215 times for 1,211 yards and nine more scores.
Four BYU receivers caught at least 23 passes, led by senior WR Cody Hoffman with 45 receptions, 727 yards and five end zone trips. The Cougars' 212 total receptions were divided amongst 18 different receivers.
Defensively, senior LB Kyle Van Noy burnished his All-America credentials with 16 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions. He was nicely complemented by fellow LB Unai `Unga, who led the Cougars with 136 total tackles.
This year's contest will be the finale at AT&T Park, the Bowl's home since its 2002 inception. Beginning in 2014, the game will be played at Levi's Stadium, the soon-to-be-completed, state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara, CA that will house the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Also next year, the game will feature matchups between the PAC-12 and Big Ten Conferences. The two conferences announced earlier this year that each would provide upper echelon teams to the Bowl over the course of a 6-year agreement that runs through 2019.
The Congrove Computer Rankings project Washington as a 2.60-point favorite in this year's contest.
PREVIOUS WASHINGTON-BYU CONTESTS
||BYU 31, Washington 3
||Washington 52, BYU 21
||Washington 29, BYU 17
|| Seattle, WA
||Washington 42, BYU 20
||Washington 20, BYU 10
||BYU 35, Washington 28
|| Provo, UT
||BYU 28, Washington 27
|| BYU 23, Washington 17