BYU’s four-game bowl winning streak came to a halt on Friday as Washington knocked off the Cougars in the Fight Hunger Bowl 31-16. The Huskies took the lead after scoring on their opening drive and never looked back.
Just as they had all season, the Cougars struggled the entire game to find the end zone. BYU drove within the 20-yard-line multiple times but was only able to score one touchdown.
“When we get down there, we need to execute at a really high level (in the red zone), and we didn’t do that,” said BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. “We had a couple of penalties that really killed us. We needed to execute better.”
Washington was led by interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo after head coach Steve Sarkisian left the team prior to the bowl game and became the new head coach of the USC Trojans. The coaching change had little effect on the team, as the Huskies won just their second bowl-game since the 2001 season, in which Tuiasosopo played quarterback for the Huskies and led the team to a Rose Bowl win over Purdue.
“I can’t say enough about these guys,” Tuiasosopo said. “They wanted it, and through some turmoil, they stayed focused, they came together as a team and came here with a purpose.”
The loss marks the final game for many notable BYU seniors, including Kyle Van Noy, Daniel Sorensen and Cody Hoffman, who finished the game with 167 yards receiving. With his performance, Hoffman passed Curtis Brown to become the all-time leader in all-purpose yards at BYU. He finishes his career holding BYU records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, 100-yard receiving games and all-purpose yardage.
“All I can say is thank you, everyone who has supported me since I’ve been at BYU and growing up. Couldn’t have done it without you,” Hoffman tweeted following the loss.
Taysom Hill was also a bright spot for BYU. The sophomore quarterback finished the game with 293 passing yards and 133 rushing yards.
“Taysom led our team really well,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “I thought he played hard. He played physical. He gave us a great chance to win the game.”
The Cougars finish the grueling 2013 season with an 8-5 record, which many are disappointed with considering the preseason hype surrounding the team. Even though the team’s final record wasn’t exactly what he wanted, Mendenhall believed the 2013 campaign to be a success before the Fight Hunger Bowl even began.
“I think the program made progress this year, regardless of the outcome of this game,” Mendenhall said prior to the loss. “Offensively, we established a new identity, played harder and united a team. Productivity-wise, we were much better.”