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September 25, 2013

Quarterly review: By the numbers




One quarter of the Huskies' 2013 is already in the books and through three games the statistics look good for Steve Sarkisian's squad.

THE GOOD

How about the fact that Washington is averaging 42.7 points per game, good enough to rank No. 18 nationally and fourth in the Pac-12 behind only Oregon, UCLA and Arizona?

Or the fact that the defense has been even better, allowing only 10 points per game (No. 8 nationally)?

Doesn't get much better than that. And those are the most important statistics you can find. But if you delve deeper into the numbers the picture continues to look bright. These numbers aren't a case of a team that's fortunate to be getting it done. It reveals a team that has been utterly dominant. Which, of course, is what Washington fans have witnessed themselves so far.

The Huskies are averaging 303 yards per game on the ground (No. 9) and 325 per game through the air (No. 17). In that respect the offense isn't just one of the most dynamic this year. It's one of the most balanced. It should be very difficult for opponents to make the Huskies one dimensional. And because of that the more achievable task for opponents might simply be to slow them down and disrupt the tempo to get them out of rhythm.

Washington is third in the nation converting third downs at a 65.85-percent rate. And opponents are converting at just about half that rate - 34.62-percent.

The defense has camped out in opponents' backfields and is tied for No. 12 in the country with 11 sacks already.



THE BAD

We don't want to nitpick here but there are a few things Washington could stand to improve on.

The first is obvious to anyone that has followed the team: Penalties. Washington ranks dead last - 125th in the nation - when it comes to penalties. There have been an average of a dozen per game, which totals 98.3 yards per game. When you take the net difference between UW's yards gained and allowed that's still only a dent, but it has been a gift so far. It kept Illinois in the game and it could cost the Dawgs a game or two later this year if it's not cleaned up.

For instance, three punt returns for an average of four yards per return isn't exactly dynamic. And the Huskies' 19.13 yards per kickoff return ranks very low nationally as well (No. 98).

While the defense has been rock solid they aren't making many stops behind the line beyond the sacks. The Huskies rank 98th in tackles for loss with 16, but that would rank much higher but for the fact that some schools have played four games and Washington has played just three.

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