Washington-Alabama Peach Bowl Preview


Washington was the most improved team this season and is the second Pac-12 team to represent the college football playoff. This is coach Chris Petersen’s biggest accomplishment since he coached Boise State to a 43-42 victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The Huskies have a wide range of talent on offense and defense that’s led by quarterback Jake Browning and defensive back Budda Baker. They also boast the second best total scoring offense in the country (578). The only question is can Washington handle their biggest obstacle against a juggernaut opponent in the country?


They’re the only team in the nation that can use both offense and defense to keep up with the Tide. The offensive line finds a way to contain Alabama’s front seven and give Jake Browning more time to throw the ball. Washington finds Alabama’s coverage to be the weak spot and John Ross, Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher makes big play after big play to stymie Alabama’s defense. Washington’s defense slows the Tide’s running game eventually and their front four defense led by defensive tackle Elijah Qualls gets into the backfield time after time and keeps Hurts’ from extending plays. The coverage does their job to contain Hurts’ receivers and forces him to throw the ball when he’s not supposed to.


The Crimson Tide’s front seven is too much for Washington’s offensive line to handle and they can’t stop linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson from getting to Jake Browning. Jake Browning is forced to make unnecessary throws that have bad consequences, running back Myles Gaskin is contained by Alabama’s #1 rushing defense and Washington’s offense turns the ball over. Washington’s defense is hurt by the loss of linebacker Azeem Victor and no other linebacker can stop O.J. Howard, Jalen Hurts or the running backs. Washington’s front seven eventually gets exhausted by Alabama’s running back depth and turns it into a series of big runs and play action passes by the second half.


This is Alabama’s third straight playoff appearance and is looking for their second straight first round win. The Crimson Tide also comes in undefeated for the first time since 2009, boasting the #1 defense in the country once again. They're is led by true freshmen quarterback Jalen Hurts who just finished high school and is walking on the biggest stage of his career. While every other talent seems solid, quarterback Jalen Hurts will be the main focus on whether or not Alabama will succeed today. Even though coach Nick Saban is highlighted for Alabama’s success, Lane Kiffin deserves a lot of credit for turning this offense into an unstoppable force. Alabama is unquestionably favored to win it all again, but can they handle the hype once again?


The running game gets going early and Lane Kiffin throws in three to four running backs to tire out Washington’s front seven by the second half. Quarterback Jalen Hurts gets going through the air with small passes that eventually turns into big gains by receivers Ardarius Stewart, Calvin Ridley, O.J. Howard and even Gehrig Dieter. Hurts’ feet do more damage to Washington’s defense including the coverage. Alabama’s defense shows that they’re #1 for a reason by stopping Myles Gaskin in Washington’s backfield, pressuring Jake Browning into making uncomfortable throws all game long and turning the ball over. Not only that but Alabama's special teams gives them an advantage in a good fielding position.


Jalen Hurts is only a freshman, which makes him prone to turnovers easily. He fumbles once again and turns the ball over when he faces pressure. Washington’s coverage does a good job containing the receivers and Alabama’s offensive line has a few holes that the front four can expose and contain Hurts from extending plays. Alabama’s defensive backs are the weak points and Washington’s receivers exploits them all game long. The linebackers are too slow to keep up with the receivers and the defensive backs can’t seem to stop them. The defensive line gets tired and annoyed by Washington’s playmakers that Myles Gaskins eventually gets out a big run. The Tide eventually finds ways to come back and keep the game close, but they come up short of a victory.