Washington to face BYU at Fight Hunger Bowl
Marques Tuiasosopo is looking to get Washington back to a level
it hasn’t reached since he was the star quarterback more than a
Tuiasosopo leads the Huskies into the Fight Hunger Bowl against
BYU on Friday night as interim coach after a whirlwind month that
started with coach Steve Sarkisian leaving for Southern California
and Chris Petersen being hired away from Boise State.
Tuiasosopo moved up from quarterbacks coach to interim coach to
lead the Huskies (8-4) in their bowl preparation against BYU (8-4).
Washington is trying to win nine games in a season for the first
time since going 11-1 – capped by a Rose Bowl win over Purdue in
January 2001 with Tuiasosopo at quarterback.
”It’s been an awesome opportunity,” he said. ”It’s been a
great experience. It’s something new every day. I have a big
notebook of notes. It’s a tremendous honor to be at my alma mater
in this role. It’s priceless.”
It’s been a rough stretch at Washington since Tuiasosopo left
for the NFL, bottoming out with a winless season in 2008. Sarkisian
came in and started a rebuilding process that has led to four
straight bowl trips. But the Huskies had not won more than seven
games in a season under Sarkisian until this season.
Now they are hoping to use a bowl win to provide momentum for a
new era that will begin after this game when Petersen officially
takes over the program.
”It would mean a lot,” star running back Bishop Sankey said.
”The past few years we had winning seasons but struggled to get
over that seven-win hump. Now that we are over it, I think the nine
wins would do justice for this program and get us some more
Here are five things to watch when BYU takes on Washington in
the Fight Hunger Bowl:
KYLE THE QB KILLER: BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy had another
stellar season with 16 tackles for a loss, four sacks, two
interceptions and two fumble recoveries. But he will have a tough
time topping last year’s bowl performance against San Diego State
in the Poinsettia Bowl. He had 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one
blocked kick, returned an interception for one touchdown and
recovered a fumble for another. That performance gave him some
well-deserved notoriety that carried over into this season.
”I don’t think many people know who our school was or I was,”
he said. ”It was a chance to prove to people that we can
BIG-PLAY BISHOP: Huskies running back Bishop Sankey was one of
the best in the country this season, leading the Pac-12 and ranking
third in the nation with 1,775 yards rushing. He doesn’t get as
much attention as some other backs like Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and
Boston College’s Andre Williams but has not gone unnoticed by the
”He’s an excellent football player,” Van Noy said. ”He’s
fast, he’s quick-twitched and he can get the ball in the end zone.
You like that in a running back. I expect him to be a
HILL’S A HANDFUL: BYU is led by a quarterback in Taysom Hill
that is putting up prolific numbers like the ones Tuiasosopo did as
a player. Hill ran for 1,211 yards and threw for 2,645, becoming
the first BYU player and 23rd ever to reach 1,000 yards rushing and
2,000 passing in the same season. Tuiasosopo called him a
”dynamic” dual-threat player but Hill says he’d rather be known
for his arm than his legs.
”I love to throw the football,” Hill said. ”If you’d ask me
if I want to throw or run for a touchdown, I’d say throw. That’s
still my tendency.”
PROFICIENT PRICE: One of the biggest reasons for Washington’s
improved success this season was better decision making from
quarterback Keith Price. After throwing 24 interceptions the
previous two years, Price had only five this season when his ratio
of 20 touchdown passes to interceptions was the best in school
”Sometimes your desire to do something great is also the same
thing that hurts you,” Tuiasosopo said. ”He was fantastic all
FEMALE FIRST: Normally the goal of the officials is to go
unnoticed but that might be tough with a crew that will make
history. The bowl will be the first FBS game ever to have two
females on the officiating crew. Sarah Thomas will be the line
judge and Maia Chaka will be the head linesman based on their work
in Conference USA this season. Thomas was the first woman to work a
bowl game at the 2009 Little Caesars Bowl. This is Chaka’s first