Arguably the most exciting match-up of today's three-game bowl slate will feature the Texas Longhorns taking on the Washington Huskies. We’ll preview the game and get into my best play for the action.
At any point in the season, if you were to tune into a Washington Huskies game, there’s a good chance you saw a lot of offense. The Huskies, behind quarterback Michael Penix Jr., averaged 39.7 points and 513 yards per game this season which both ranked in the top six in the country.
Penix Jr. was able to throw for 4,345 yards and 29 touchdowns during the regular season and will have his full lineup of weapons today, as no Huskies starter has entered the transfer portal or opted out of the game. This means the lefty quarterback will have his two 1,000-yard receivers in Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze today as they will take on a Texas defense that already had six players leave for the transfer portal or opt-out.
One of the most significant losses the Texas defense will have to make up for somehow is linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, who had 95 tackles and four sacks during the regular season.
The Longhorns' offense will also need to rely on freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers now more than ever, as star running back Bijan Robinson has opted out of tonight’s game to prepare for the NFL draft. Texas averaged 35.7 points and 430.3 yards per game, so losing Robinson and his backup, Roschon Johnson, certainly changes the dynamic of the offense.
Ewers was able to throw for 1,808 yards and 14 touchdowns in the games he was able to play in, and he will need to find his primary receiver Xavier Worthy early and often in order to keep the explosiveness in the offense.
The point total can currently be found at 66.5, and I’ll be taking the over as my best bet for the game. Washington scored 30 or more points in 10 of their 12 games this season, and they have an excellent opportunity to do so again tonight against Texas defense that will be riddled with back-ups.
Washington was able to score on every defense they faced, and they are one of the few teams this bowl season that can say they have their entire starting offense from the regular season. The offense was able to average 8.5 yards per pass and had the lowest sack percentage in college football this season, so they should be able to expose a Longhorns secondary that allowed an average of 239 passing yards a game.
Quinn Ewers and Texas should also be able to move the ball effectively through the air tonight, as the Huskies' biggest weakness this season was stopping the pass. Washington ranked 100th in passing yards per game and 111th in average yards per pass allowed.
Washington allowed 28 or more points to be scored in six of their 12 games this season, so even though the Bijan Robinson loss will hurt, the Longhorns will still be able to produce points.