Coaching the game: Both teams are 8-4, but highly touted BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 6-2 in bowl games and enters tonight's game looking for his fifth consecutive postseason win. He faces Washington's acting head coach and former NFL quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo who is coaching his first game in the wake of the departure of Steve Sarkisian to USC and hiring of Boise State's Chris Petersen. Tuiasosopo began the year as the Huskies quarterbacks coach and has previously served as the teams assistant strength coach. From 2011-2012 he was an assistant at UCLA.
Quarterback battle: BYU's Taysom Hill has thrown for 2,645 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 54 percent of his passes. The sophomore has also rushed 215 times for 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns. Washington is led by senior Keith Price who is looking for his first bowl win following back-to-back losses in the 2011 Alamo Bowl and 2012 Las Vegas Bowl. This year under Tuiasosopo, Price completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,834 yards and 20 touchdowns and just five picks. He's also a goal line threat with five rushing scores.
Next level players: The Cougars defense is led by senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy who was an All-American and the Defensive MVP of the Poinsettia Bowl last season. The Senior Bowl bound Van Noy recorded 60 tackles including 15.5 for loss and four sacks along with two interceptions this year. On the offensive side, wide receiver Cody Hoffman is BYU's all-time leading pass catcher, but the 2012 All-American Honorable Mention has hauled in just 45 balls this year after missing two games early on. Meanwhile junior running back Bishop Sankey is the Huskies primary offensive weapon having rushed for 1,775 yards and 18 touchdowns on 306 carries this season. Defensively for Washington defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha has tallied 61 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in his junior year.