Thursday, February 16, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Washington Huskies

It was a season of highs and lows in the PAC-12 in 2016. The Washington Huskies turned a major corner, making it to the national semifinal before getting smothered by Alabama. The Huskies were one of four teams that won 10 games or more. On the flip side, half of the teams in the conference finished under .500, including two major surprise teams in Oregon and UCLA. The conference's prize QB, Josh Rosen, was injured for most of the season, and under performed when he was available, and Jake Browning became the new star QB of the conference until being upstaged by Sam Darnold at USC. The biggest story was the emergence of the Colorado Buffaloes, who shocked everyone by winning the South. Here is our farewell to the 2016 season, team by team, in the PAC-12...

Washington Huskies
12-2 (8-1)

2016 Schedule
Beat Rutgers 48-13
Beat Idaho 59-14
Beat Portland State 41-3
Beat Arizona 35-28
Beat Stanford 44-6
Beat Oregon 70-21
Beat Oregon State 41-17
Beat Utah 31-24
Beat California 66-27
Lost to USC 26-13
Beat Arizona State 44-18
Beat Washington State 45-17
Beat Colorado 41-10 (PAC-12 Title Game)
Lost to Alabama 24-7 (Peach Bowl)

MVP Offense: QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, WR John Ross, WR Dante Pettis
The Huskies were a preseason darling last season, and that was met with much skepticism, mine included, but as you ca see from this offensive lineup, the Huskies turned a corner with their talent pool and exploded onto the national scene in 2017. Jake Browning was the ring leader of the resurgence of offense, as he passed for 3430 yards and 43 TDs to just 9 INTs. Most of those picks came later in the season, when Browning was suffering from a shoulder injury. For the most part, he was one of the best QBs in the nation. He completed 62.1% of his passes, scored a 167.52 QBR, and averaged 245 yards passing per game.
His main targets were John Ross and Dante Pettis. Ross broke through in 2016, posting a line of 81-1150-17 on the season, averaging 14.2 yards per grab. He caught 3 TD passes in each win over Oregon and Cal, and caught 12 passes in a game against Arizona State. All three games were wins.
Pettis was strong as well, as he posted a line of 53-822-15, but Pettis was also a first rate punt return guy, averaging 11.48 yards per return. Ross was that guy on kick returns, picking up 411 yards there.
When the Huskies turned to the run, they had Gaskin. Gaskin rushed for 1373 yards on 273 carries, and scored 13 times on the year. He averaged 5.79 yards per carry, and had a season high 197 yards rushing on just 16 carries in the win over Oregon.
MVP Defense: DB Budda Baker
Baker finished the season leading the team with 71 total tackles on the season. He also led the defense with 10 TFLs, and finished with 3 sacks, while breaking up 6 passes on the season as well.
Other of Note
Lavon Coleman was one of the best backup RBs in the nation last season, rushing for 852 yards and 7 TDs. Coleman averaged 7.47 yards per carry and scored 8 times.
Chico McClatcher was the only other Husky receiver other than Ross and Pettis who caught more than 20 passes.
The defensive unit allowed just over 17 points per game last season, and averaged just 66 tackles per game, meaning that they rarely had to spend a ton of time on defense.
The Huskies averaged 9.5 TFLs per game on defense.
Washington forced 20 fumbles on the season.
As great as the passing game was, the Huskies also averaged 198 yards rushing per game.
The Huskies picked off 19 passes on the season, while only throwing 9 total INTs, all by Browning.
Best Win: Colorado 41-10
The 31 point win in the conference title game mailed the Huskies into the national semifinal, and made a statement that the Huskies were back after what was perceived to having played a weak schedule. The Huskies dominated so much in that game, that it knocked South Champ out of a Rose Bowl birth.
Worst Loss: None
The Huskies only lost to USC and Alabama. Who am I to call either one of those losses a bad loss in 2016?
2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/1 at Rutgers, 9/9 Montana, 9/16 Fresno State
If people could criticize the schedule last fall, this non con lineup is a total laugher for Washington. They should be favored by double digits in every one of these games.

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