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Fight Hunger Bowl
It's actually not all that common for teams to have the same records going against each other in bowl games, but that's what we have here with two 8-4 teams. The Fight Hunger Bowl should be a fun game to watch between two teams that lead the nation in rushing, but are also viable in the passing game. Keep in mind Washington will be led by interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo, as Steve Sarkisian left for USC. Still, the Huskies are stable -3 point favorites in the books, including 5 dimes sportsbook.
BYU's only encounter with a Pac-12 team this year came back in September against Utah, losing at home 20-13. That happened to be the Utes' only road win all season. The Cougars have been inconsistent through most of the year getting wins against Texas, at Utah State and vs. Boise State, but then with those early losses to Virginia and Utah. They finished the season winning seven of their last nine games, with the only losses coming at Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
In similar matchups, Washington also handled Boise State early in its first game of the year. Both of these teams were in line with what bettors thought of them, having mediocre against the spread records.
The Huskies won every game they should have and lost every game they should have. All four of their losses came against a team that's currently ranked in the Top 17. There's nothing to complain about on that front. Their best wins aren't all that spectacular though, beating Arizona and Oregon State.
Starting with BYU's offense, they have a ridiculous two rushers with at least 1,200 yards which doesn't happen often. Quarterback Taysom Hill leads the way with nine rushing touchdowns, although his passing leaves something to be desired, often struggling in tougher games. In four losses, Hill went 71-for-165 with four TDs and four INTs. Basically, when he was asked to pass more, he had trouble against solid defenses. In addition, Hill threw an INT in nine of 12 games this year. In line with those numbers, wide receiver Cody Hoffman has been underwhelming, but still poses a big threat on the outside. Also in the backfield, running back Jamaal Williams splits touches with Hill. While he had 1,200 yards, Williams finished with seven TDs and only hit 100 yards five times which shows his inconsistency throughout the season.
Washington's defense doesn't have as good of numbers as BYU, but the Huskies won't be easy to crack. The only times Washington actually had trouble on defense was against those ranked teams. BYU is not ranked. With an offense similar to BYU's, Arizona could only score 13 points on Washington.
On the other end, the Huskies feature one of the best running backs in the nation in Bishop Sankey. He finished the year with 1,775 yards and 18 touchdowns. At the minimum, expect about 25 carries from Sankey. He's reached that number eight times this year. The problem for defenses is that this passing game also deserves respect led by Keith Price. He's completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 20 TDs and five INTs. Even bigger, Price has thrown only one pick in his last five games. He spreads the ball around a lot with his receivers, while tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the red zone target to watch out for.
The Cougars defense only allows 21.3 points per game, but against balanced attacks like that of Washington, they have struggled. It's going to be on the BYU offense to keep up in this game.
BYU has won a ridiculous six of its last seven bowl games, while Washington is looking to finish with its most wins since the 2000 season.
The Cougars have covered in four straight bowl games and five straight neutral site games. However, they are on a 0-3-1 ATS streak overall. The Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games and only 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. These schools played back in 2010 and 2008 with BYU coming out on top in both.
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