The late game this Friday night (9:30 pm ET) is the Fight Hunger Bowl from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA featuring a west coast match-up with the Independent BYU Cougars (8-4) taking on the Washington Huskies (8-4) out of the PAC-12 Conference. BYU won their season finale over Nevada 28-23 on the road, but finished 2-2 down the stretch with losses to Notre Dame (23-13 in week 13) and Wisconsin (27-17 in week 11) on the road. Washington won their finale in the Apple Cup over Washington St. 27-17, and finished strong with a 4-1 record in their last 5 games with the only loss coming to then-13th ranked UCLA (41-31) in week 12.Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian has left to take the top job at USC, so Marques Tuiasosopo will serve as the interim coach for this game.
BYU ranks 14th among FBS teams in total offense with 495.3 yards per game and 52nd in scoring offense with 31.3 point per game. Quarterback Taysom Hill is a dual-threat with 2,645 yards passing and 19TDs to go with a team leading 1,211 yards rushing and 9 more TDs. Jamaal Williams (1,202 yards rushing, 7 TDs) and Cody Hoffman (45 receptions, 727 yards, 5 TDs) are playmakers that complement the dynamic Hill. Defensively BYU ranks 51st in yards allowed with 383.8 per game and 23rd in scoring defense with 21.3 points per game allowed.
Washington ranks 8th among FBS teams in total offense with 514.3 yards per game and 18th in scoring offense with 38.5 points per game. Quarterback Keith Price has thrown for 2,843 yards with 20 TDs and 5 INTs on the year, and running back Bishop Sankey has exploded for 1,775 yards rushing with 18 TDs. Wide receivers Kevin Smith (45 receptions, 722 yards, 4 TDs) and Jaydon Mickens (62 receptions, 681 yards, 5 TDs) are the main aerial targets for Sankey. The Huskies rank 50th in total defense with 381.5 yards per game and 35th in scoring defense with 23.4 PPG allowed.
BYU vs. Washington Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
BYU Cougars +3
@ Washington Huskies -3
Over 60 (-110)
Under 60 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
BYU vs Washington Pick
The Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The OVER is 5-1 in Washington’s last 6 games following an ATS loss and the Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record.
The Cougars have been money in bowl games recently, for that trend to continue the Cougars defense led by All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy needs to play their “A-game” against a Washington offense that boasts plenty of big play talent. Washington will be coached by an inexperienced interim coach in Tuiasosopo, a Huskie legend in his playing days, which could make the difference in a close game. Many Huskie players and coaches could be distracted in this game, which is not a recipe for success against a quality team like BYU that has playmakers on both sides of the ball with Hill and Williams on offense and Van Noy on defense. Van Noy came up huge in the bowl game last season with two TDs, and made plays all over the field. BYU struggled down the stretch, but they also played tough road games at Wisconsin and Notre Dame that should prepare them for this match-up. Look for the Cougars to pull off the upset her. Take BYU and the points.