Event: 2016 Peach Bowl – New Year’s Eve (December 31)
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Location: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, GA
This year, the 2016 Peach Bowl plays host to one of college football’s playoff semifinals, between the No. 4 Washington Huskies and the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s an intriguing matchup between the best of the PAC-12 Conference and the Southeastern Conference.
The last time these two teams met was 30 years ago, but now that both teams are in the current playoff system, you won’t want to miss out on the action. If you’re looking for Peach Bowl tickets, look no further than MAB Tickets. Now let’s take an in-depth look at how both teams matchup.
Quarterback: Jake Browning (UW) vs. Jalen Hurts (Bama)
This matchup features two *Heisman Trophy hopefuls* dueling on the football field. Browning, a mainly throwing quarterback, has thrown for nearly 3,300 yards and 42 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts presents a dual-threat situation to the Washington defense. The freshman from Texas has nearly 2,600 yards through the air and 22 TD passes, but also has 841 yards and 12 scores of his own on the ground. This is sure to give fits to UW’s defensive coordinator, Pete Kwiatkowski. However, Browning has one more full year of experience under his belt than Hurts and has not thrown an interception since Nov. 19 vs. Arizona State. Early in the SEC Championship game, Alabama’s offense struggled and the defense was more the story (we’ll get to that later). For the quarterback position, I’ll give the advantage to Browning because of his arm and more experience under his belt.
Running Backs (Primary): Myles Gaskin (UW) vs. Damien Harris (ALA)
The running back matchup is quite intriguing for these two teams. Washington is led at tailback by Myles Gaskin, who currently has 1,339 net yards gained along with 10 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Damien Harris has 986 yards on the turf, but his average yards per carry is higher (7.4 to 5.9) than Gaskin. Also, Gaskin has touched the ball 95 more times than Harris has and had 159 yards against No. 8 Colorado in the PAC-12 Championship. Gaskin also had six games where he ran for 100 yards or more. I go back-and-forth on this one, but I will ultimately give a slight edge to Gaskin because of the numbers he has put up this season. But do expect Alabama to use the ground game with Hurts involved quite a bit.
Offensive numbers for both of these teams is quite close. In total offense, Washington comes in at No. 11 in the nation while Alabama is just behind them at No. 15. The Crimson Tide are eighth in the nation in rushing while the Huskies are ranked 27th. Keep in mind though the Tide have four rushers with over 500 net yards while Washington has just two. In terms of passing, the Huskies hold the advantage here with their No. 24 ranking as opposed to Alabama’s No. 55 in FBS. This is, again, pretty much a coin flip for me because while Washington’s overall offensive numbers are better than Bama’s, Alabama played some potent SEC teams this year. Consider they beat (at the time of competition) No. 17 Ole Miss, No. 16 Arkansas, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 15 LSU all on the road. Three of those games saw the Tide score 48 or more. Were some of those teams overrated at the time of competition. Perhaps, but we could argue back and forth on that all day. Though it seems Alabama’s offense can struggle right out of the gates, once they are rolling (pun intended), it is hard to stop the Crimson helmets.
Unlike the last few points that have been close coin tosses, this one is not and, if you follow either of these teams, you probably know why. Alabama’s defense is dominant. There you have it. In overall defense, they are ranked No. 1. Rush defense is also No. 1, only surrendering 824 yards on the ground and opponents only averaged 63.4 yards per game on the Crimson Tide. Next closest? Wisconsin. The Badgers gave up 1,260 yards with teams averaging 96.9 yards per game. The Huskies enter the rankings at No. 17, conceding 1,606 yards and an average of 123.5 yards per game. The Tide also lead the nation in defensive touchdowns with 10. In the SEC Championship game, Alabama had a pick six, a punt block returned for a score and picked off Florida quarterback Austin Appleby two more times. Also, consider that until the SEC Championship game on December 3, Bama had not surrendered a touchdown (Yes, A TOUCHDOWN) since Oct. 22 vs. Texas A&M. Washington’s defense is very potent, but the Crimson Tide defense is something special you’ll want to see in person.
Whether you’re a passionate Huskies fan or a diehard “Roll Tide!” individual or even just a college football fanatic, the 2016 Peach Bowl is not one you will want to miss. Two talented teams will square off in downtown Atlanta on New Year’s Eve, and December 31 is quickly approaching. Get your tickets to the game while you still can. Look to MAB Tickets for 2016 Peach Bowl tickets, Your Source for All Tickets Anywhere.
*This article was written before the Heisman Trophy Winner was announced*
Statistics gathered from ESPN, NCAA, SEC Country, Alabama Crimson Tide Football and Washington Huskies Football websites.