- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Washington enters the second half of the season ranked 20th in the AP poll, and that is meaningful because the Huskies have lost consecutive games.
Of course, those consecutive defeats were against top-five teams, Stanford and Oregon, and the Huskies statistically dominated the Cardinal on the road. That's why pollsters are showing respect.
But to remain ranked, the Huskies need to win games, not continue losing impressively to elite teams.
Washington's season started with an impressive 38-6 win over then-No. 19 Boise State inside remodeled Husky Stadium. Beyond the final score, the most important development was a brilliant night from QB Keith Price, who overcame an early interception to pass for 324 yards and two touchdowns.
The next preseason worry -- winning on the road -- was addressed with a solid 34-24 win at Illinois. The Huskies weren't perfect but any win on the road against a team with a pulse was a positive.
After a blowout win over Idaho State, the Huskies then asserted themselves in the second half on both sides of the ball in a 31-13 win over Arizona. In the 31-28 loss at Stanford, the Huskies outgained the Cardinal 489 yards to 279 but couldn't get in field goal range on their final possession.
The Huskies then only trailed the Ducks by seven entering the fourth before being overwhelmed.
There was plenty to be happy about on both sides of the ball over the season's first half, but the Huskies have plenty of work left on the schedule.
Offensive MVP: This is an incredibly difficult one. RB Bishop Sankey is the Huskies best offensive player. He leads the Pac-12 with 149.8 yards rushing per game. But Sankey was a given entering the season. We knew he would produce. Rejuvenated QB Keith Price has been the key to the Huskies season so far. He leads the Pac-12 with a 69.3 completion percentage, which is nine points higher than last year. He has 12 touchdowns with four interceptions and has also been effective running the ball, either scrambling or extending plays. He's passing for 262.7 yards per game.
Defensive MVP: Another tough one because the Huskies are playing good team defense. Safety Sean Parker leads with three interceptions and Hau'oli Kikaha has come back strong from a knee injury to lead with 3.5 sacks. But the unit leader and most talented defender is LB Shaq Thompson. He's second on the team with 41 tackles. He also has 1.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 sacks.