LOS ANGELES — Washington is reputed to have the best secondary in college football this season, and the ringleader of that group is cornerback Byron Murphy.
“He’s definitely a really good corner. I think that’s been well-documented,” Huskies quarterback Jake Browning said of Murphy’s showing as an All-American and MVP of the Pac-12 championship game.
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Murphy, 5 feet 11 and 185 pounds, scored the only touchdown in that tough-to-watch 10-3 win over Utah for the Pac-12 title, which sent the Huskies to the Rose Bowl against Ohio State. He did it after intercepting a pass that bounded off a Utah receiver and returned it 66 yards.
It was one of the sophomore's two interceptions in the game that was dominated by the Washington defense, and it gave him four this season. That goes with his 13 pass breakups, which is why Murphy is considered one of the elite corners in the nation, one that the Ohio State passing offense, led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., must keep in mind.
And vice versa, Murphy indicated. He knows Ohio State sports a deep fleet of receivers, led by Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon, along with K.J. Hill and rising freshman threat Chris Olave. They helped Haskins set Big Ten records for passing yards (4,580) and touchdown passes (47) on his way to finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting.
Washington is fourth nationally in fewest passing touchdowns allowed with nine and 21st in passing yards per game allowed with 185.4.
“We want teams to come out there and throw,” Murphy said. “Also, knowing that their quarterback can throw and they have good receivers, that even puts more of a chip on my shoulder because we have got to go out and actually play, compete against their best.”