Washington closed out 2013 on a three-game winning streak after defeating BYU 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Friday, Dec. 27.
The Huskies executed on offense when they had to and shutout the Cougars in the second half, zeroing in on dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill.
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Led by quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey, Washington set the tone early on in the first quarter, driving the ball 71 yards on 12 plays for the game's opening touchdown (11-yard TD run by Sankey). The impressive scoring drive would be a sign of things to come.
BYU finally responded a few minutes into the second quarter as Hill punched it in from one yard out to cap off an 88-yard drive. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the celebration wouldn't last more than a few moments as Washington's John Ross returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, per ESPN College Football on Twitter:
BYU would answer with a pair of field goals. However, another Sankey touchdown run late in the second quarter stretched the Huskies' lead to eight points.
Despite bogging down in the red zone on multiple occasions, the Cougars would carry momentum into the locker room at halftime after tacking on a third Justin Sorensen field goal at the second-quarter buzzer.
At the halftime break, SI.com's Martin Rickman pointed out the harsh irony for BYU:
byu outgained washington 297-142 and ran 25 more plays in the first half and trails by 5— martin rickman (@martinrickman) December 28, 2013
The Huskies couldn't have dreamed of a better start to the second half. After receiving the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Washington drove 62 yards in 10 plays to take a commanding 28-16 lead. The drive was capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Price to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Following the Huskies' score, The Seattle Times' Adam Jude introduced a unique stat:
UW's starting offense has scored on all of its first third-quarter drives of the season.— Adam Jude (@A_Jude) December 28, 2013
Washington's offense would struggle from that point on before suffering a major blow early in the fourth quarter when Price was forced off the field with a rib injury, per ESPN Pac-12 on Twitter:
Cyler Miles would replace Price under center. The freshman's inexperience quickly became obvious, but an impressive 32-yard run by Miles late in the game put Washington in position to extend its lead to 15 points.
The Cougars would have their chances to get back in the game, but were unable to cash in, racking up just 128 total yards of offense in the second half thanks to some exceptional halftime adjustments and a dominant performance from the Huskies' defense.
Washington linebacker John Timu would put the finishing touches on the Huskies' stellar defensive effort with an interception in the waning moments. The junior defender was arguably Washington's best player on the night, turning in a 17-tackle performance, his best of the season.
Key Player Grades
Keith Price, QB, Washington: B
Washington senior signal-caller Keith Price wasn't perfect on Friday, but he didn't have to be as the Huskies' running game was successful and the defense delivered. Price will want his lone interception back, but he should be commended for his toughness.
In the end, he completed 16 of 21 passes for 112 yards and a key touchdown. Price also picked up 27 yards on seven carries.
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: A
Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill racked up tons of yards through the air and on the ground in BYU's loss. Unfortunately, Hill was the entire offense for BYU, accounting for 431 of the team's 473 total yards.
He'll be wishing he found the end zone more than once on the trip back to Provo, Utah.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: A
Sankey wasn't overwhelming in limited action on Friday (4.6 yards per carry), but he did make some highlight-reel plays, including his second-quarter touchdown run from 11 yards out, per NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks:
Bishop Sankey's jump cut on the TD was outstanding. Terrific display of balance, body control and vision. That's a pro-caliber run.— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) December 28, 2013
The junior running back would finish with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and 10 yards receiving on three receptions out of the backfield.
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