I spent some time perusing the stats from Saturday’s game, as well as the season, on my flights (yes, flights) home today. So I thought I’d pass along a few of them. These are in no real order and not meant as a real analysis of the game or the season, just some random notes and thoughts. …
— The way the game ended, it sort of went unnoticed that there were just five penalties called in the game, which was officiated by refs from Conference USA. It’s been noted often how Pac-12 refs statistically call a lot more, and this game may have indicated that the Pac-12 guys call some things others don’t — or maybe UW and Boise State just didn’t commit the penalties. Whatever the case, UW’s two penalties for just 10 yards were a season-low.
—The game was the second straight last-minute defeat for UW after the Huskies had won 11 in a row by nine or fewer points dating to the 2010 season. Still, UW is 7-3 in games decided by three points or fewer in Steve Sarkisian’s four years, and 9-6 in games decided by a touchdown or less. It’s not realistic to expect to win every close one, and the numbers indicate that wining close games isn’t really a huge issue, though all close defeats are frustrating when they happen. The bigger trick is figuring out how to avoid close games and just win by a lot and not have it come down to a play or two.
— UW finishes the year having been outscored 314-312. That keeps UW’s streak alive of having been outscored in every season dating to 2002, which obviously includes all four of Sarkisian’s years. UW has been outscored 1482-1343 under Sarkisian.
— Statistically, UW won the battle of the halftime adjustments. UW had 38 plays for238 yards in the second half to 134 on 32 for Boise State. UW didn’t punt after the 7:41 mark of the second quarter in outgaining Boise State 447-407 for the game. But the early deficit and the three turnovers and the special teams miscues proved critical. UW’s 447 yards more than any game this year other than 476 against Colorado.
— Among Bishop Sankey’s many accomplishments Saturday was setting a UW record for most yards gained in a loss with 205. The most yards gained by a UW running back in a loss previously was 171 by Rashaan Shehee against Notre Dame in 1995. UW had had 35 games with players rushing for more yards than Shehee’s game that day and had won them all. That includes 18 games of 200 or more yards. Sankey accounted for all 205 of UW’s official rushing yards, the 10th time UW has rushed for 200 or more under Sarkisian. UW is 8-2 in those games, also losing to Oregon this year when the Huskies rushed for 209. And yes, most people would have figured UW would win a game in which it rushed for that many yards.
— Indicative of what a good year it was for running backs this year in the Pac-12, Sankey will finish fifth in the conference with 1,439 yards (here’s the list). He’s currently 21st in the nation, as well (bowl games count, which could impact where he finishes nationally but not in the conference). Only one of the four Pac-12 players ahead of him will be back next year, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, who led the conference with 1,929 yards. So logic dictates Sankey will receive a lot of pre-season all-conference mention next year.
— Here’s UW’s updated official NCAA stats page. With lots of bowl games left, the rankings could change, though the numbers won’t.
— Turnovers were an obvious factor in the loss to Boise State and in the fourth-quarter meltdown at WSU. But for the season, UW got the better of it when it comes to turnovers. UW finishes the year having scored 107 points off of 32 opponent turnovers while UW opponents scored 87 points off 28 Husky turnovers.
— UW went a fourth straight year without missing a kicked extra point (as opposed to going for two). In fact, UW has not missed an extra point on a kick since the infamous loss to BYU when Ryan Perkins had what was as 35-yard PAT blocked after the penalty on Jake Locker following a TD that looked like would tie the game. That remains the only PAT UW has missed since 2004.
— As you can see in the linked stats above, UW’s lowest rating is no surprise — a current national placing of 103rd in sacks allowed with 38. UW does not have a listing of year-by-year sacks so I’m not sure how that stands all time or anything. It’s actually not that much more than last year when UW allowed 34 to rank 98th. Obviously, each number would have been higher if not for all the times Keith Price got out of the pocket to avoid the rush and throw the ball away — I’d bet he did that at least 30 times this year.
— Finally, in one personnel move of note, James Atoe played quite a bit at right guard in place of Mike Criste. Not sure if there was an injury there or simply a move made to improve the play of the line, which was obviously not good early but got better later. I think every job on the OL could be in flux heading into 2012 with the return of the injured Erik Kohler and Colin Tanigawa and a desire to get the best mix on the field.