2013 Fight Hunger Bowl: 10 Things We Learned in Washington's Win over BYU
The Washington Huskies (9-4) came into tonight's game with interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo and were able to beat the BYU Cougars (8-5) impressively by a score of 31-16.
Washington only accrued 319 yards of total offense in this game. However, the Husky defense stepped up and shut out BYU in the second half. Bishop Sankey led Washington with two rushing touchdowns on the evening.
Taysom Hill played exceptionally well in the loss. He threw for 293 yards and rushed for 133 more. He just didn't get a ton of help on the evening, outside of wide receiver Cody Hoffman.
Here are 10 things we learned in this contest.
Bishop Sankey Is a Stud
This isn't exactly a surprise to anyone.
Washington's tailback led the team tonight with 95 yards rushing on 21 carries. He scored a pair of 11-yard touchdown runs to propel his team to victory.
On one of the runs, he executed two beautiful jump-cuts en route to the end zone. One of those cuts made All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy look foolish.
Should Sankey leave for the NFL, his career in Seattle will be looked upon favorably. He should go down as one of the best running backs to come out of Washington.
Cody Hoffman Is Underappreciated Nationally
The senior has broken a plethora of BYU receiving records this year.
He's BYU's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Does anyone outside of Provo realize how good he really is?
Against Washington on Friday, he played extremely well. Hoffman led the Cougars with 12 catches for 167 yards. He isn't overly fast, but he runs great routes and constantly got separation from the UW secondary.
Hoffman is equipped with a skill set that translates well to the next level.
The Cougars' Defense Played Well Enough to Win
BYU's defense was very active in the first half of play.
Washington came into the evening averaging over 514 yards of total offense per game. BYU held the Huskies to only 319 yards on the night. Keith Price threw for a paltry 123 yards. Washington was able to muster only 145 yards in the first half alone.
Washington did rush for 190 yards on the ground, but a good chunk of that came in garbage time. The Cougars were putting pressure on Price early, not allowing him to get in any semblance of a rhythm. A key stop on fourth down near the goal line kept the game close in the first half.
Unfortunately for BYU's defense, special teams killed its efforts.
Special Teams Excitement
The special teams' play tonight was excellent at times...and not so good at other points.
BYU's special teams' ineptness cost itself a shot at winning the contest. Kicker Justin Sorensen connected on all three field goal tries in the first half. In the second half, he missed a kick from 44 yards away.
Washington returner John Ross took a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. The BYU coverage team looked horrible in defending the speedy returner. On the next kickoff, the Cougars allowed Jesse Callier to return the kick 47 yards. The return helped to set up an eventual Washington touchdown by tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Lastly, BYU punter Scott Arellano had a tough game. His six punts averaged a meager 32.8 yards. One of his kicks went only eight yards.
Jamaal Williams Was Invisible Tonight
BYU's running back came into Friday's game with 1,202 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season. He, along with Taysom Hill, made up a lethal two-pronged rushing attack.
Williams was able to manage only 31 yards on 12 carries in Friday's game versus Washington. It equated to a 2.5 yards per carry average. Aside from one memorable run, Williams didn't carry the ball with much physicality nor decisiveness.
With Hill carrying the majority of the load, BYU needed another skill player to step up and take pressure off of the signal-caller. Williams was unable to do that.
The Cougars' Coverage Unit Was Horrific
This goes without saying, if you watched the game.
The touchdown return by Ross is inexcusable. Washington's returner, while gifted, shouldn't have been able to evade the entire coverage team en route to the end zone.
On the following kickoff, a big Callier return set up another touchdown. Without those two blunders, it could very well have been a different contest.
Taysom Hill Has Ability
Much like Hoffman, Taysom Hill is a great player not talked about by most people from a national standpoint.
Hill accounted for over 400 yards of total offense by himself in this contest. He displayed a very strong arm, being able to sling the ball to all spots on the field. At 6'2", 220 pounds, he was both elusive and nearly impossible to bring down. In terms of ability, Hill is seemingly a mix between Tim Tebow and Jake Locker.
He single-handedly kept BYU in this contest with his drive and effort. Aside from a late interception, his game was supremely impressive.
Remember, Hill is only a sophomore. He became the first BYU player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and throw for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
Chris Petersen Has Great WR Talent to Work with
Chris Petersen walked into a situation with a few pretty nice toys to work with on the offensive side of the ball.
Ross displayed his insane explosiveness on the kickoff return for a touchdown. In fact, former head coach Steve Sarkisian has compared Ross to Reggie Bush. At 6'3", 220 pounds, Damore'ea Stringfellow is a physical specimen. On one play Friday, he took a bubble screen from Price. He broke two tackles and ran over a defender before falling forward for the first down.
Jaydon Mickens is a speedster with tremendous agility and quickness. He was the leading receiver on Washington this season with 62 catches.
Stringfellow and Ross are both true freshmen, while Mickens is a true sophomore. Oh, and Kasen Williams will likely return next season as well from a foot injury.
It's easy to foresee Petersen slinging the rock around a ton next year.
Washington's Defense Was Stellar in the Second Half
Washington was gashed in the first half for 297 yards. Hill was running whenever and wherever he wanted and was finding success with Hoffman in the passing game.
In the second half, Washington tightened the screws and shut the Cougars out. BYU had only 176 yards after halftime.
John Timu was all over the field for the Huskies. The middle backer had 12 tackles in the first half and finished with close to 20 for the game. His interception of Hill sealed the game.
Defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha could not be blocked tonight. He finished with three sacks on the evening. The three sacks gave Kikaha 13 on the season, which is the second-most for one season in Washington history.
Credit to Justin Wilcox (in likely his last game at Washington) for making the requisite adjustments at halftime.
A New Era Will Begin in Seattle
With Sarkisian gone, Petersen will now be in charge of the ship in Seattle.
It's feasible to believe that Sankey, Seferian-Jenkins and Danny Shelton could leave early for the NFL. If the trio does, there's still a good deal of young talent coming back. The wide receiver corps should be the best in the conference. There's also a great deal of talent scattered all across the defense.
There will be an adjustment period for Petersen. With the Washington job comes more pressure to perform and to succeed. How will he fare in a very good, competitive Pac-12 conference?
He also will have to recruit a different type of kid than he did in Boise. How will he adjust to that aspect of the job?
Regardless, it should be fascinating to watch unfold.