Ending a month that has had more twists and turns than San Francisco's famed Lombard Street, the Washington Huskies play a football game in a place built for baseball. The Huskies take on the BYU Cougars Friday night in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to be played at AT&T Park in the City by the Bay,
This game marks the first contest played after Head Coach Steve Sarkisian fled town to coach USC and the first game since Huskies' assistant coach Tosh Lupoi was being investigated for recruiting improprieties, as reported Dec.18th in the Los Angeles Times.
Through all the drama there is a football game to be played. Washington (8-4 overall, 5-4 in Pac-12 play) will be led by fifth year senior Keith Price. Once touted as a Heisman hopeful the Washington quarterback fell short of that goal but statistically had a fine year. Price completed 65% of his passes with 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions. The Huskies are a stronger offensive team (8th in the nation) than defensive squad (49th nationally). Price will need to lead a strong and balanced attack in a game that looks to be high scoring.
Running back Bishop Sankey (playing perhaps his last game in purple and gold) will be the bell cow for the rushing half of that balanced attack. Once buried on the depth chart behind Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, the Gonzaga Prep grad now holds multiple rushing records for Washington. Sankey's season rushing total stands at a gaudy 1775 yards. He has scored 10 touchdowns on the ground.
BYU (8-4 playing an independent schedule) is led by quarterback Taysom Hill. The sophomore native of Pocatello, Idaho has thrown 19 TD passes against 13 interceptions.
But those somewhat pedestrian numbers only tell a part of the story. Hill is the rarest of college quarterbacks insofar as he leads his team in rushing. Hill's 1211 yards rushing leads running back Jamaal Williams by nine yards, giving the Cougars the distinction of having one of the finest one-two runners in all the land.
Senior wide receiver Cody Hoffman will look to be on the receiving end of Hill's throws. Hoffman, a graduate of Crescent City California's Del Norte High School has receiving and all-purpose records in sight in his final collegiate outing. Hoffman has caught 45 balls for 727 yards in 2013.
Las Vegas lists Washington as a 3.5 point favorite. Blessed with greater athleticism, the Huskies would be favored by more if not for the circus atmosphere pervading Seattle in recent weeks. The view from here is that Washington will play an inspired game to win their ninth and to get the attention of the coach who so recently spurned them. Take Washington and give the points.
The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. PST kick and can be seen on ESPN. The radio call can be heard in western Washington on the Washington Huskies' IMG Radio Network. Radio pregame begins at 12:30 p.m.