The Washington Huskies will meet the BYU Cougars in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl game, it was announced today by Bowl Executive Director and co-founder Gary Cavalli.
The two teams, both sporting 8-4 season records, will square off on Friday, December 27 at AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. [PST]/9:30 p.m. [EST] kickoff and will be shown to a national audience by ESPN. This year's kickoff marks a return to prime time for the first time since Nevada played Boston College in the 2010 postseason.
The teams have split eight previous meetings. Their last contest was in 2010 with BYU a 23-17 victor [yearly scores at end of release].
BYU's arduous schedule was highlighted by a 37-20 home triumph Oct. 25 over Boise State that elevated the Cougars to bowl eligibility and made them the first of 70+ teams to qualify for postseason play. BYU put together a 5-game winning streak midseason and also defeated Texas in September. The Cougars completed their regular season with a come-from-behind victory at Nevada Nov. 30.
Washington also finished 8-4 after negotiating its way through what's arguably the most difficult conference schedule in college football, the Pac-12. Highlights included a season-opening victory over Boise State that christened the newly-renovated Husky Stadium; a 4-game win streak to begin the campaign; and four victories in their last five contests. Washington concluded the season by throttling Oregon State 69-27 on the road and followed up with an Apple Cup victory over Washington State 27-17. The 8-4 finish was Washington's best since 2001.
"This year's matchup will be one of the very best in the history of our game," Cavalli said. "We have two 8-4 teams, two nationally known programs, both with explosive offenses and big name players. We expect a great game, a huge crowd and terrific TV ratings.
"Our Board, staff and volunteers couldn't be happier about landing Washington and BYU. We look forward to welcoming these two fine teams and providing them with a memorable week in San Francisco."
"We're very excited to have been selected to play in the Fight Hunger Bowl. The game will be a new experience for our program and the many Husky fans in the Bay Area, and I am confident it will be a great one. Interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo will have the team ready to compete against a great opponent," said Washington Director of Athletics Scott Woodward.
"I'm humbled and so honored," Tuiasosopo said when named Huskies coach for the bowl game. "It's a great and incredible honor to lead my alma mater in this game. We still have a lot to play for."
Washington brings one of the game's most prolific offenses to San Francisco. The Huskies averaged 514.3 yards of total offense, which was second overall in the Pac-12. The rush game averaged 243.0 yards/game and the pass game 271.3.
Junior RB Bishop Sankey had an outstanding season, carrying 306 times for 1,774 yards and 18 touchdowns. The yards gained and TDs led the conference.
Senior QB Keith Price completed 216 of 330 attempts and threw for 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He ranked 6th among Pac-12 passers. Price battled injuries in the second half of the season but is expected to be fully recovered by late December.
"What an exciting opportunity for the Cougars to travel to the great city of San Francisco for the Fight Hunger Bowl and to play Washington from the Pac-12," said BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe. "Our coaches, players and fans will love the holiday season in San Francisco. It's great to be able to add to the wonderful bowl tradition that is long associated with BYU football."
BYU senior QB Taysom Hill accounted for 28 total touchdowns in leading the Cougars in both passing and rushing. Hill completed 211 of 390 attempts for 2,645 yards and 19 TDs; he also rushed 215 times for 1,211 yards and nine more scores.
Four BYU receivers caught at least 23 passes, led by senior WR Cody Hoffman with 45 receptions, 727 yards and five end zone trips. The Cougars' 212 total receptions were divided amongst 18 different receivers.
Defensively, senior LB Kyle Van Noy burnished his All-America credentials with 16 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions. He was nicely complemented by fellow LB Unai `Unga, who led the Cougars with 136 total tackles.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to play the University of Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I'm proud of our team. We are excited to be in the postseason for the ninth straight year with a chance to grow our program facing an outstanding football program."
This year's contest will be the finale at AT&T Park, the Bowl's home since its 2002 inception. Beginning in 2014, the game will be played at Levi's Stadium, the soon-to-be-completed, state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara, CA that will house the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Also next year, the game will feature matchups between the Pac-12 and Big Ten Conferences. The two conferences announced earlier this year that each would provide upper echelon teams to the Bowl over the course of a 6-year agreement that runs through 2019.