No. 9 Washington vs. No. 5 Ohio State
What: Pac-12 champion UW (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12) faces off against Big 10 champion Ohio State (12-1, 8-1 Big 10) in the 105th Rose Bowl.
Where: Rose Bowl Stadium (Pasadena, Calif.)
When: Tuesday, 2 p.m.
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Why UW will win: The Huskies have won four straight and are playing their best football of the season. That’s especially true for the defense as UW has given up just 18 points combined in its last two games. After not allowing a passing touchdown in a 28-15 victory over Washington State in the Apple Cup, UW didn’t give up a single touchdown in its 10-3 win over Utah in the Pac-12 championship. The Huskies are also the only team this season to hold WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew without a passing TD. Ohio State has the country’s No. 2 passing offense (373 yards per game) and the nation’s top passer in Dwayne Haskins (4,580). But UW’s secondary says its ready and excited for the challenge. If the Huskies are going to win, they’ll need the kind of defensive performance they got against the Cougars.
Why Ohio State will win: The Buckeyes don’t just have the No. 2 passing offense in the country, they have the No. 2 total offense (548.8 yards per game). While UW head coach Chris Petersen and offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan spent time last week talking up Ohio State’s defense, its offense will have to lead it to a win. Heisman finalist Haskins is the best QB the Huskies have faced this season and he doesn’t lack for targets. Leading receiver Parris Campbell has caught 79 passes for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns while K.J. Hill has 67 receptions for 831 yards and six TDs. Both Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon have more than 600 receiving yards. On the ground, the Buckeyes are led by J.K. Dobbins, who has rushed for 1,029 yards and nine TDs.
History: This is the first postseason matchup between UW and the Buckeyes. The teams have played 11 times in the regular season. The teams most recently played in 2007 with Ohio State winning, 33-14.