#14 Washington Football 2021 Preview

Washington Huskies
Overall Rank: #14
#3 Pac-12
 Washington Logo
We did not get to see too much of Washington during their brief 2020 season, but we did learn what Coach Jimmy Lake wants to do with this group. The Huskies played four games last year and beat Oregon State, Arizona and Utah before falling to Stanford to end their season. With most of the team returning, the Huskies should pick up where they left off and compete for a Pac-12 title.
2020 Record: 3-1, 3-1
2020 Bowl: None
Coach: Jimmy Lake (3-1 at Washington, 3-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: John Donovan
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Gregory
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Sean McGrew, RB, 227 yards
Passing: Dylan Morris, QB, 897 yards
Receiving: Cade Otton, TE, 258 yards
Tackles: Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB, 47
Sacks: Zion Tupuola-Fetui, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Trent McDuffie, DB, 1; Asa Turner, DB, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Kamari Pleasant, RB Richard Newton, WR Terrell Bynum, OL Jaxson Kirkland, LB Jackson Sirmon, DB Kyler Gorgon
Key Losses: WR Puka Nacua, DB Elijah Molden
Coach Lake wants to run the ball. Sean McGrew led a balanced ground game in 2020 with 227 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Richard Newton may be the most talented, but had a disappointing 2020 campaign after an 11-touchdown season in 2019. Kamari Pleasant and Cameron Davis are back as well and UW will use all of them. Dylan Morris won the starting quarterback job last year and proved to be a reliable and efficient passer. The addition of five-star recruit Sam Huard will put some pressure on Morris to win games. Cade Otton is one of the best tight ends in the country and was the only receiver to catch more than ten passes in 2020. There are quite a few options at wide receiver, but somebody does need to step up and emerge as the top target.
Washington had the best defense in the Pac-12 and it could be even better now. Zion Tupuola-Fetui is an amazing pass rusher from his hybrid linebacker/end position. Edefuan Ulofoshio is the anchor in the middle of the defense and led the Huskies with 47 tackles. The big tackles will create plenty of space for the linebackers to make plays. The secondary takes a hit without Elijah Molden, but there is enough returning talent that Washington should still have a very good pass defense. Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon are solid corners and Asa Turner is an experienced safety who could turn into a leader of the unit.
The Bottom Line:
Washington will get an early test with a trip to the Big House to face Michigan. A win there could push the Huskies into the playoff picture. The biggest conference game will likely come on November 6th when Oregon comes to town. That contest should have major Pac-12 North title implications. And it could even have playoff implications.
Projected Bowl:  Alamo Bowl
2020 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 176.2 (54th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 226.5 (67, 5)
Total Offense: 402.8 (57, 9)
Scoring Offense: 30.2 (48, 5)
Rushing Defense: 161.2 (59, 5)
Pass Defense: 185.0 (13, 1)
Total Defense: 346.2 (27, 1)
Scoring Defense: 25.0 (39, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.26 (3, 2)
Sacks: 2.50 (45, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 0.25 (3, 1)