FACTS AND FIGURES
Where: Seattle (620,778)
Colors: Purple and gold
Record: 7-5 overall, 5-4 Pac-12 (fourth in Pac-12 North)
Last game: Lost to Washington State 31-28 (OT) on Nov. 23
Steve Sarkisian, 38, is 26-24 in four seasons since taking over the winless Huskies after the 2008 season. His teams have shown progress year to year, won a slew of close games and picked up some significant wins, including upsets of Stanford and Oregon State this year. He also has started to make major waves in recruiting, as evidenced by the talented youth on this team. The former BYU quarterback (1995-96) and 1996 WAC Offensive Player of the Year spent seven years on staff at USC, where he was the offensive coordinator in 2007-08.
The Huskies have an offensive style similar to the Broncos, with a vast collection of formations designed to create matchup problems and a power run game. Junior quarterback Keith Price ranked seventh in the nation in pass efficiency last season but has tumbled to 77th this season with an injury-ravaged offensive line and only one productive wide receiver. The offense instead has revolved around three sophomore standouts tailback Bishop Sankey (102.8 rushing yards per game), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Kasen Williams (71 catches, 783 yards, six TDs).
Former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox (2006-09) led a complete overhaul of the Huskies defense after the group stumbled through 2011. The Huskies were embarrassed in the Alamo Bowl, allowing 67 points to Robert Griffin III and Baylor. Wilcox, who left Tennessee to return to the West, is one of four new defensive coaches. They installed a system similar to the one run by Boise State and improved the pass defense 100 spots in the national rankings from 116th to 16th. The Huskies have allowed 12 fewer points per game and become a team known for their stout defense and shaky offense, a complete reversal from a year ago. Senior cornerback Desmond Trufant made the All-Pac-12 first team, true freshman nickel Shaq Thompson is a playmaking phenom and sophomore end Josh Shirley is a dynamic pass rusher.
The Huskies punt team has been a liability, ranking 107th in the nation in net average. Their gross average is just 38.3 yards, one punt was blocked for a touchdown and another was returned for a TD. Senior wide receiver Cody Bruns of Prosser (Wash.) High has provided a spark as a punt returner. Kicker Travis Coons is 7-for-11 on field goals. He missed a potential game-winning kick on the last play of regulation in the Apple Cup and was just 1-for-3 in November.
DID YOU KNOW?
Washington is one of three teams in modern college football history to go to three bowl games in four years immediately after a winless season.