Washington Huskies Football: Winners and Losers Through the First Month
The Huskies have been everything as advertised as they head into their bye week at 4-1 and 2-0 in conference play.
After dominating both offensive and defensive lines against Utah, the Huskies finally got their first convincing victory of the season as they won 31-14.
The main surprise should be easy, quarterback Keith Price has done more than he was expected. Steve Sarkisian could not have asked for anymore from his quarterback as he has been the obvious offensive MVP so far this season.
These are my winners and losers through the month of September.
Winner: Keith Price
Head coach Steve Sarkisian could not have asked for anymore from his sophomore quarterback through the first five games.
Price is leading the Pac-12 in touchdown passes with 17 and is currently in second place in the entire country behind Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
He has also put up an impressive completion percentage of 68.3, enough to be put into the top five among Pac-12 quarterbacks.
What makes Price so special is his pocket awareness and his elusiveness. When protection breaks down, Price doesn't skip a beat and usual evades trouble and looks to pass down field instead of tucking it and running.
Once his knees and ankle are back up to speed, he could end up being one of the top quarterbacks in the conference.
Aside from Cort Dennison, the linebackers have been less than mediocre thus far.
The Huskies replaced the likes of Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa with two freshmen in John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono.
Timu went down with a pretty scary head injury against California as an ambulance came on to the field and carted him off. After a series of tests, things came back positive for Timu as he suited up a week later for the Utah game but didn't see the field.
The inexperience of the two new outside linebackers surely plays a role, however, if the Huskies want to stop players like LaMichael James and Andrew Luck, these players need to play older than they are as the season progresses.
Winner: Chris Polk
Yes, how could you not put Polk as a winner thus far?
Although he has only reached the end zone three times on the ground, Polk proved he can line up as a receiver and beat linebackers and safeties down the field as he grabbed a 70-yard touchdown pass against California.
So far this season, Polk has rushed for 611 yards on 116 attempts which ranks him second to Oregon's LaMichael James.
After the Utah game where Polk rushed for a season high of 189 yards, he surpassed 3000 yards rushing and moved into second all-time on Washington's leader board behind Napoleon Kaufman.
Polk needs 934 yards to pass Kaufman, meaning he needs to average over 133 yards per game for the rest of the season.
The Huskies secondary has been torched all season—the pass defense ranks 118th in the nation.
Although they have made some tremendous plays when they need to, the Huskies secondary needs to figure out what's wrong before they meet up with three supreme passing offenses in the coming weeks—Stanford, Arizona and USC.
With the sub-par performance by senior Quinton Richardson, the Huskies look lost in the secondary and are giving up too many big plays early in games and especially on third and long situations.
The secondary showed signs of change when they grabbed two interceptions against Utah, which gave them five total on the season, however, they still gave up over 300 yards combined through the air to Jordan Wynn and his backup Jon Hays.
Winner(s): James Johnson and Devin Aguilar
Both of these receivers are having stellar seasons thus far, combining for 32 receptions, 519 yards and five touchdowns.
James Johnson is overcoming a dreadful sophomore season in which he was injured most of the season with a mysterious ankle sprain. He only recorded one catch for three yards in 2010.
Devin Aguilar is usually the man in the shadow of Jermaine Kearse, however, he is proving different so far this season. He leads the Huskies in average yards per catch, with 19.5, which puts him in the top five in the Pac-12.
Loser: Defensive Line
So they had a coming out experience against Utah where they only allowed 17 yards on the ground.
However, we can't forget what happened the first four games of the season. The Huskies were not getting any pressure on the quarterback when they faced two straight pass-happy offenses in Eastern Washington and Hawaii.
The Huskies lost their starting defensive end Hau'oli Jamora for the year, so that definitely hurts the pass rush, but freshman Josh Shirley seems more than capable to step up to the challenge. He has notched himself two sacks in two weeks and looks like a solid stand in for Jamora.
If we see the same type of effort we saw in the Utah game, then things will be looking up for the Husky defense.
Winner: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The Huskies finally have themselves a solid tight-end.
Seferian-Jenkins has come a long way since his first career reception in the Eastern Washington game. Since then, he has caught 11 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns.
His best performance came against California, where he grabbed four receptions for 54 yards and hauled in two first-half touchdowns.
Seferian-Jenkins adds himself to the already talented receiving core, so opposing defenses will be sure to remember the man with two last names or risk being torched all day.