Fiesta Bowl Preview
Neither Washington nor Penn State won their respective conferences but they will meet each other in a premium Bowl, nonetheless. This game could be a Rose Bowl matchup in a normal year and it might also be the last chance to see a plethora of future NFL players on both rosters.
Top Prospects 5
1: Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
2: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
3: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
4: Azeem Victor, LB, Washington
5: Ryan Bates, OG, Penn State
**Trey Adams, OT, Washington - would be a top three prospect in this game were he not missing it due to injury.
When Penn State Has The Ball - Saquon Barkley has been the bell cow all season and that seems unlikely to change. Washington is well equipped to handle a runner of Barkley’s ilk, however, with a veteran front 7 led by linebackers Akeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria. Vita Vea vs Ryan Bates will be an excellent 1v1 that scouts will be following closely as both players could hear their names called in the first round of this draft.
When Washington Has The Ball - Chris Peterson’s offense is led by junior quarterback Jake Browning. While Browning is not a great prospect for 2018, another solid season next year could help him establish himself as a higher regarded prospect. Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis won’t have that problem as each figure to be selected in the middle frames of the draft. Pettis is a certain day 2 selection while Gaskin could reach the late third with a solid run up to the draft. Penn State defensive end Torrance Brown will need to pressure Browning and force some errant throws to take the pressure off of the Nittany Lions defense. Marcus Allen leads the secondary and is a nice mid round prospect that could shoot up draft boards with a good senior bowl week - should he attend.
Prediction: Washington has more talent overall than Penn State but Barkley has helped the Nittany Lions overcome talent deficits all season long. Penn State 34-30.