BYU loses 31-16 to Washington in Fight Hunger Bowl

When Washington started crowding the line of scrimmage in the

second half, BYU had no answer.

Taysom Hill and the Cougars were held scoreless for the final

two quarters by the Huskies’ aggressive defense, and BYU had its

four-game bowl winning streak snapped with a 31-16 loss in the

Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday night.

”They started bringing their safeties down,” Hill said. ”They

were playing 10 yards deep, stacking the box. What really started

clicking in the second quarter for us was a little play-fake,

slants over the middle. They adjusted and took that away.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to adjust and capitalize on a lot of

opportunities that we had in the second half.”

Hill threw for 293 yards and ran for 133 yards and a score for

the Cougars (8-5), who settled for three field goals from Justin

Sorensen to end promising drives.

Sorensen also missed a kick in the third quarter after an

interception by Robertson Daniel in Huskies territory, and the

Cougars allowed two long kickoff returns – including one for a

touchdown.

”Taysom led our team really well,” coach Bronco Mendenhall

said. ”He played hard, he played physical. He gave us a great

chance to win the game and stay in it. I told my team I was proud

of them. I liked how hard they played. Our special teams needed to

execute better.”

Bishop Sankey ran for 95 yards and two scores to give Washington

(9-4) its most wins since going 11-1 and winning the Rose Bowl in

2000.

Keith Price added a 16-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins,

and John Ross returned a kick 100 yards for another score as the

Huskies capped a tumultuous month with a milestone win.

”I can’t say enough about these guys,” interim coach Marques

Tuiasosopo said. ”They wanted it and through some turmoil they

stayed focused, they came together as a team and came here with a

purpose.”

The game capped a whirlwind stretch for the Huskies that began

with coach Steve Sarkisian leaving for the same job at Southern

California. Chris Petersen was hired away from Boise State to take

over at Washington, and Tuiasosopo coached the bowl game on an

interim basis. The Huskies won just their second bowl game since

Tuiasosopo led them to that Rose Bowl win over Purdue 13 years

ago.

”We all know what he’s done here as a player,” Sankey said.

”It makes it that much easier when a coach leaves when you have a

guy like Coach Tui.”

The defense led the way for Washington, holding the Cougars to

four field goal attempts and one touchdown on five drives inside

the Huskies 30.

The Huskies were much more efficient on their scoring drives,

with Sankey scoring on a pair of 11-yard runs in the first half to

give him 38 career touchdowns, tying the school record held by

George Wilson (1923-25).

Price then led a touchdown drive to open the third quarter,

capping it with a well-placed throw to Seferian-Jenkins on

third-and-8 to make it 28-16. Seferian-Jenkins said after the game

he will leave school early to enter the NFL draft.

Price went 17 for 23 for 123 yards before leaving with an

apparent rib injury in the second half.

Sankey also sat out the fourth quarter because of a hand injury,

but it didn’t matter. Backup quarterback Cyler Miles had a 32-yard

run to set up Travis Coons’ 45-yard field goal that made it 31-16

midway through the fourth.

A strong defensive effort led by Hau’oli Kikaha (three sacks)

and John Timu (14 tackles, one sack and an interception) kept BYU

off the scoreboard for the entire second half as the Huskies moved

their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage to take away short

passes.

”Guys come up and load the box, we need to be able to throw the

ball,” Hill said. ”As a quarterback that’s what you want. They

came down in man pressure, pushed us out of bounds and we missed a

few opportunities that way. Not only that but if the protection

holds up a little longer then we give guys on the outside and

inside long enough to work the routes and get open.”

Tuiasosopo was aggressive in his first game as head coach, going

for it twice in the first quarter on fourth-and-short. Sankey

converted the first but was stopped for a 9-yard loss by Kyle Van

Noy on the second try.

That was one of the few times the Cougars stopped Sankey, who

scored on Washington’s first and last possessions of the first half

to give the Huskies a 21-16 lead at the break.

The game made history by being the first ever in the FBS with

two female officials. Sarah Thomas was the line judge and Maia

Chaka was the head linesman based on their work in Conference USA

this season.