SAN FRANCISCO — It’s taken BYU sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill a long time to finally play in his first bowl game.
But as he leads the Cougars against Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday, he doesn’t look at it that way.
“I haven’t really thought about it in that regard because to me, it’s another football game,” said Hill, who signed with Stanford in 2009 before transferring to BYU after his mission in 2012. “Especially being an independent, we’re playing different conferences all the time, so there’s not that much difference for myself. I’m treating this just like any other game. I want (to win) it just like I wanted the other ones. My preparation will be the same.”
Hill started two games last season as a freshman before suffering a season-ending knee injury. But he did make the trip to San Diego with his team to watch the Poinsettia Bowl.
In that game, the Cougars won, although the offense struggled and the defense had to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
This season, BYU has sputtered at times against good defensive teams.
“In those games we need to execute at a higher level,” Hill said. “We’re playing better competition and good, quality defenses in those games. Again, that’s no excuse. When we make little mistakes against a quality defense, we don’t see the success. Our emphasis will be executing, making sure nobody’s making mistakes, and fulfilling their individual assignments on every play. If we do that, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
FEEDING THE HUNGRY: Both BYU and Washington will be serving the people of San Francisco on Christmas Day.
As part of the bowl game activities, the two teams will be distributing food to the needy in the area.
Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Fight Hunger Bowl’s mission lines up well with the BYU football program’s mission.
“It seems to be a fantastic fit for us,” Mendenhall said, referring to the service opportunities the bowl game affords.
“It’s a meaningful, eye-opening experience. It’s something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives,” Fight Hunger Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said of feeding the hungry. “For every ticket sold for this game, we donate a meal to a family in San Francisco. Over the years, we’ve provided 300,000 meals.”
HISTORY TO BE MADE: The Fight Hunger Bowl is set to be the first-ever FBS game featuring two female officials.
The Conference USA crew assigned to the Fight Hunger Bowl will feature both head linesman Maia Chaka and line judge Sarah Thomas. Thomas became the first female official in college football in 2007. She was the first to work a bowl game, in 2009, at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Mendenhall has coached in games featuring a female official before.
“I don’t remember any difference in performance, positively or negatively,” he said. “I know now there’s two (female officials). I think when you ask me afterwards, I won’t notice a difference.”