The Huskies closed the book on the Steve Sarkisian era with a bowl victory, but it was interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo who will go down in the books getting credit for the win. Sarkisian left the program to accept a job with USC, leaving the Huskies before the bowl game. Bishop Sankey rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns to earn Fight Hunger Bowl MVP honors as the Huskies pulled away for a 31-16 victory over BYU.
Washington’s running back fueled the offensive coring but the Huskies also had John Ross return a kickoff 100-yards after BYU tied the game in the first half and Keith Price, despite being banged up at times, added 123 passing yards and a touchdown. The Huskies defense also came through with a big stop deep in their own territory following a Price interception to set up BYU. Robertson Daniel picked off an errant throw by Price and returned it to the Washington 29-yard line with the Huskies leading 28-16 in the third quarter.BYU could do nothing with the opportunity as Washington forced a tree-and-out, highlighted by a critical sack by Cody Hoffman, which set up a 44-yard field goal attempt by Justin Sorensen. Sorensen kicked three of his four field goal attempts successfully, but his miss following the three-and-out seemed to change the momentum of the game. BYU was shutout in the second half while Washington tacked on ten more points for the victory.
Now all eyes are set on what happens next for Washington. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is now in complete control of the football program and the future looks very bright for the Huskies with him at the helm. Given the talent on the team Petersen will be inheriting and the facilities and resources available the optimism is high for Washington to start feeding off of the success of the last few seasons under Sarkisian and build more of a legitimate Pac 12 North contender under Petersen. Oregon’s and Stanford’s place at the top of the division may be threatened by Washington if Petersen can build the kind of winning program he was able to do at Boise State.
Washington will open the Petersen era with a favorable schedule in 2014. The Huskies open the year at Hawaii and three straight home games in non-conference play against Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State. A 4-0 start should absolutely be expected out of the gate. The Huskies will also get Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA at home but must travel to Oregon in Pac 12 play.
As for BYU, the schedule will be a little easier in 2014 after a challenging 2013 season. The 2014 season will include a trip to Texas in week two, which will be quite a revenge game for the Longhorns after getting tanked in Provo this season. The schedule also includes road games at UCF and Boise State. The Cougars should be able to pull together another winning season with what will be in front of them in 2014, and the formula will remain familiar with a heavy dose of the running game and a strong defense.