The Fiesta Bowl is upon us.
Saquon Barkley and the No. 9 Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) square off with Jake Browning and No. 11 Washington (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) on Saturday in the Grand Canyon State.
Time, date, place and more
Who: Penn State vs. Washington
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
When: Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017
Time: 4 p.m. Eastern
Livestream: Watch ESPN
Line: Penn State -3
Series record: Penn State 2-0
Players to watch
Penn State: quarterback Trace McSorley. The story is Barkley, who will likely be playing his final game as a Nittany Lion. But the difference-maker should be McSorley.
The onus to generate points might fall on McSorley’s shoulders with the Huskies’ No. 1 ranked rush defense likely keying in on Barkley. And the gutty redshirt junior has proven time and time again he can get it done.
McSorley has thrown for 3,228 yards and 26 touchdowns this year, while rushing for 431 yards and 11 more scores.
He has already surpassed his touchdown totals from 2016, bolstered by gaudy performances in the Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl.
He could add a few more to his season total on Saturday.
Washington: wide receiver Dante Pettis. While quarterback Jake Browning was a Heisman Trophy candidate last year and running back Myles Gaskin requires attention, Pettis is the game-breaker.
The consensus first-team All-American might be college football’s greatest punt returner ever. Pettis owns the record for most punt return touchdowns with nine and leads the NCAA with 20.4 yards per attempt.
Pettis is also Washington’s top receiver with 62 catches for 721 yards and seven touchdowns.
Numbers to know
▪ Penn State and Washington are two of the best teams in the country in terms of turnover margin. The Nittany Lions’ +14 is good for No. 4 nationally, while the Huskies’ +11 is No. 12.
▪ McSorley is just 154 passing yards away from becoming Penn State’s all-time bowl game passing leader, overtaking Tony Sacca. McSorley currently sits at 396 bowl game passing yards.
▪ Tight end Mike Gesicki has a reception in each of his last 26 games, dating back to 2016’s season opener against Kent State.
▪ Penn State is 4-0 against Washington schools, last playing the Huskies in the 1983 Aloha Bowl. The Nittany Lions won 13-10.