< Previous Page
The best pass catcher on the field will arguably be a tight end in this game. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the 6-foot 6-inch junior has been a matchup terror all season long outmuscling safeties and corners and speeding past linebackers. He had seven touchdowns this season along with 443 yards receiving and caught three touchdowns in the last four games of the season. Sophomore receiver Jaydon Mickens’ production tailed off at the end of the year and senior receiver Kevin Smith scored only once in the last six games, but both provide legitimate options for Price. Seferian-Jenkins’ athleticism gives Washington a slight edge in this one.
BYU’s offensive line had its share of struggles early in the season, but shored up as the year went on. Hill was sacked four times by Wisconsin, but only twice against Notre Dame. The BYU offensive line surrendered only two sacks in the Nevada game. However, the Cougars will face a tough challenge against Washington. The Huskies ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 36 sacks this season, only four behind conference leader’s Stanford and Arizona State.
The Washington offensive line was statistically worse than the Cougars’, giving up 30 sacks to BYU’s 24 this season. However, Washington also faced tougher competition week-in and week-out against Pac-12 defensive lines. The offensive line play has also been key to Sankey’s success this season as the Huskie’s front has mauled most teams they’ve come up against in the run game. Overall, this position should be fairly even.
Defensive line and linebackers:
Spencer Hadley won’t play for the Cougars, a big loss when trying to contain Sankey. Regardless, this game will be all about Kyle Van Noy’s last game in a BYU uniform. Van Noy had a performance for the ages last year in the Poinsettia Bowl and will hope to have similar success against the Huskies. However, his production dipped in the latter half of the season after teams began double and triple teaming him or scheming plays away from his side of the field. It will be up to Van Noy, Eathyn Manumaleuna and Uani ‘Unga to not only make Price uncomfortable, but also to keep Sankey in check and cover Seferian-Jenkins.
Washington’s defensive front begins and ends with junior defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha, who has been dominant this season. Kikaha has 10 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, 61 tackles and two forced fumbles this season. BYU will have to do whatever they can to slow him down before focusing on anyone else. Another player to watch is sophomore linebacker Cory Littleton, who has 58 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks of his own.
Next Page >
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.