- Ted Miller, College Football
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Our season reviews are moving in reverse alphabetical order.
Washington is next.
Offense: The Huskies would be among a small handful of candidates as Pac-12's most improved offense, because they were dramatically better in 2013 compared to last fall. They scored nearly two touchdowns more per game (37.9 ppg vs. 24.0), gained 144 more yards per game (499.3 ypg vs. 355.2), rushed for 101 more yards per game (243.0 ypg vs. 142.4), were far more efficient passing the ball (150.3 vs. 121.7) and had 12 fewer turnovers. The biggest reason for the improvement, of course, was the return to form of quarterback Keith Price after a down 2012 season, as well as greatly improved play on the offensive line, which yielded eight fewer sacks (30 vs. 38) this season. Running back Bishop Sankey earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors, Austin Seferian-Jenkins won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end and a young, flashy crew of receivers helped make the Huskies offense one of the most potent in the conference. Further, in the Huskies four losses, the offense averaged a solid 26.8 points per game. Grade: A-
Defense: Justin Wilcox's unit also improved from 2012, though not as dramatically. The defense again ranked fourth in scoring in the conference, though with 22.8 points per game vs. 24.2 in 2012. While the total defense numbers went up, the yards per play -- a much better measure -- decreased from 5.4 in 2012 to 5.0 this season. Same goes for the run defense (4.1 yards per rush vs. 4.4 last year). The Huskies also moved up from No. 5 to No. 2 in pass efficiency defense. Defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha made a strong return from multiple knee injuries, and linebacker Shaq Thompson, cornerback Marcus Peters, safety Sean Parker and defensive tackle Danny Shelton had standout seasons. If there was a down note, it was the defense yielding 42.5 points per game in the Huskies' four losses. Grade: B-
Special teams: The Huskies also were significantly better on special teams, though they were slightly worse on punt returns. They were No. 1 in the conference in field goal percentage, as Travis Coons made 15 of 16 this season, and they also moved up from 12th to fifth in the conference in punting. Grade: A-
Overall: A 9-4 record in Steve Sarkisian's final season at Montlake is a clear advancement after three consecutive 7-6 seasons. If you wanted to look at the negative side, however, you could note the Huskies were only 5-4 in Pac-12 play, same as the last three seasons. It is fair to say that while the Huskies moved forward overall, they didn't make a significant move in the Pac-12 pecking order, though that is pretty difficult when Oregon and Stanford continue their run as top-5/top-10 teams. Still, the Huskies moved past Oregon State and beat state rival Washington State after getting embarrassed in the 2012 Apple Cup. Chris Petersen inherits a program that appears to be trending upward. Grade: B
Our season reviews are moving in reverse alphabetical order.Washington is next.Offense: The Huskies would be among a small handful of candidates as Pac-12's most improved offense, because they were dramatically better in 2013 compared to last fall.