Players to watch
QB Taysom Hill, RB Jamaal Williams, WR Cody Hoffman
WR J.D. Falslev (Out—hand), TE Devin Mahina (Questionable—groin), WR Mitch Matthews (Out—shoulder), OL Brock Stringham (Out—knee), WR Brett Thompson (Questionable—quads), WR Eric Thorton (Out—undisclosed)
There's no point in dancing around it—BYU's offense begins, sustains and ends with the pairing of quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams. The true sophomore Hill leads the Cougars' 10th-ranked rushing attack with 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns, and that's after accounting for BYU's 210 sack yards. Meanwhile, Williams has earned 1,202 yards on 205 carries in 11 of BYU's 12 games to go along with seven touchdowns.
On the occasion that BYU decides to air the ball—the Cougars pass on just 39 percent of their offensive downs—fifth-year senior Cody Hoffman is Hill's favorite target by every conceivable measure. He has led the team in total receiving yards each of his four years, and currently leads the Cougars in receptions (45), yards (727) and touchdowns (five), despite playing in just 10 games this season. Mitch Matthews, Skyler Ridley and J.D. Falslev are all reliable secondary targets, having brought in 88 catches for 1,089 yards and nine touchdowns between them, but as noted above, Falslev and Mathews have been ruled out of the game due to injury.
By the numbers, BYU's offensive line has a lot in common with the 2012 Washington line: They've done a great job in their run blocking, producing two 1,000-yard rushers along the way, but have struggled in pass protection, having given up 33 sacks on just 397 pass attempts. Their failure to give Hill adequate time to scan the field is also a likely contributor to his 54.1 completion percentage, as well as his unimpressive ratio of 19 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
In the kicking game, Justin Sorensen has made 18 of his 22 attempts, including 16 of his 18 attempts from 39 yards or closer. From 40 yards and beyond, he's made two of three attempts, with both made attempts coming from 41 yards. His career long is 46 yards, which came once in 2011 against Utah, and he's missed all six of his career attempts from 50 yards or longer.
Falslev was BYU's primary punt returner this year and rolled an impressive average of 10.2 yards per return and a touchdown—and without being callous, it's almost certainly to Washington's benefit that he's not playing on Friday. Hoffman stepped up for Falslev against Idaho State and Notre Dame, acquitting himself well in earning 9.6 yards per return. On kick returns, Adam Hine has handled 26 of the team's 39 attempts, amassing an average of 27.8 yards per attempt that ranks 11th in the nation. Arguably, his best game came against Wisconsin, so it's not as if he's cushioned his numbers against weak competition. If Hine exploits the Washington special teams the same way that Stanford's Ty Montgomery did, the Huskies could be in for a long day in San Francisco.
As always, thanks to College Football Statistics, ESPN and USA Today's College Football Injury Report for the relevant data that went into this article. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking below.
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