When the Washington Huskies take on the BYU Cougars in the Fight Hunger Bowl, three of college football’s most prolific rushers will be on the field. Unfortunately for UW, they will have to face two of them. While Justin Wilcox has done great things with the Huskies’ defense as the defensive coordinator, Washington has had their issues against the run in 2013. Can they shore things up in time to slow down the Cougars this bowl season?
BYU has enjoyed some prolific rushing from a pair of sophomores in quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams. Hill leads the team with 1,211 yards this season and nine rushing touchdowns to go with 2,645 yards passing and 19 touchdowns through the air. Williams is right behind his quarterback, racking up 1,202 yards on the season and seven touchdowns. Together they combined to lead the No. 10 rushing attack in the country, highlighted by their 550-yard, four-touchdown shredding of the Texas Longhorns earlier this season.
Washington ranked just No. 59 against the run this season, allowing 159.75 yards per game on the ground. They were lit up for 200 yards or more three times this season (all losses), including 314 and four rushing touchdowns surrendered to the Arizona State Sun Devils in an embarrassing blowout loss on the road. Since that loss, however, UW has tightened things up, winning four of their last five and giving up 131 yards or less and no more than one rushing touchdown in the four wins. Their one loss in that span came against the UCLA Bruins who ran for 222 yards and four touchdowns.
For UW to come out on top against BYU, they have to control the Cougars’ running game. When the Huskies have failed to contain the run, they have lost. Will they be able to contain the dynamic BYU rushing attack?