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Huskies improved stats in 2002
Significant statistical gains made over 2001
By: Malamute, Posted 10 January 2003

Although the Dawgs finished 7-6 this season compared with the prior season's 8-4 finish, they improved in 14 of 20 statistical categories, a 70% improvement. With 16 of 22 position players returning in 2003, the Huskies should be one of the dominating teams in the Pac-10 next season--providing they continue to improve on these numbers. Kenny James, pictured to the left, should add some Mojo to a rushing attack, which dropped off in 2002.

Of the five major categories shown below (see Table 1), the Huskies made improvements in four of the five. In field position, the Huskies suffered a major drop off from the preceding year, for example, in kickoff returns and punt returns.

Of the 20 statistical categories shown in Table 1, the Huskies improved in total offense, total defense, rushing defense, scoring (both offense and defense), pass efficiency (both offense and defense), and several other categories. 

The Huskies' rushing defense made a significant improvement, allowing just 97.7 yards per game, compared to 162.6 yards per game the year before. In the 2000 championship season, the Huskies allowed 141.2 yards per game, finishing sixth in the conference. During the 1999 season, the Dawgs allowed an average of 140.7 rushing yards per game.

In 2002, the Huskies were penalized less than they were in 2001 and improved on their turnover margin.

The 2002 rushing offense fell off from the preceding year, falling from 111.7 yards per game to 74.5 yards per game . This can be attributed to the departure of Willie Hurst, who, in 2001, netted 607 total yards on the ground in 10 games, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. In the same season, Rich Alexis rushed for 391 yards, averaging 3.1 yards per carry, and both combined for a rushing average of 96.2 yards per game. This season, Rich Alexis netted 688 yards rushing, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, but there was no one behind him to contribute in a significant way.

Not having a capable replacement for Willie Hurst in 2002 can be blamed on the coaching staff, along with Hurst's relegation to slot receiver in the spring of 2000, which nibbled away at the morale of the team.

Call me the “undertaker,” Hurst said. “You may try to bury me, but I'll keep coming back.” And he did, winning the "Guy Flattery Most Inspirational" award for 2001.

With the offensive line returning mostly intact for next season and with senior tailback Rich Alexis returning, along with running backs Kenny James, Chris Singleton and Shelton Sampson, the Huskies' running game looks to improve just enough  to keep opposing defenses honest.

The Huskies led the conference in 3rd down conversions (43.5%) this season, after finishing 4th (38.2%) in the conference in 2001. They also led the conference in passing offense, first downs, and penalties-against this season. Individually, quarterback Cody Pickett led the conference in total offense.

Pickett, along with a cadre of talented receivers, promise an air war for next season that has the fire power of the Tenth Air Force combined with the range of a B2 bomber. Well, almost.

Table 1. The Huskies' statistics in 2002 compared with 2001 (the 2002 statistics for the conference include the bowl games, while the 2001 statistics do not). Improvements are highlighted in purple.

Category  2002 Pac 2001 Pac
1. BALL CONTROL        
Time of Possession 32:25 2nd 30:53 3rd
Rushing Offense 74.5 9th 111.7 9th
Passing Offense 346.2 1st 279.5 2nd
Rushing Defense 97.7 4th 162.6 10th
Passing Defense 259.5 8th 220.0 4th
Pass Efficiency Defense 129.2 6th 135.2 8th
Pass Efficiency Offense 131.2 7th 125.9 7th
Total Offense 420.7 3rd 391.2 6th
Total Defense 357.2 4th 382.6 5th
3. MISTAKES        
Penalties 52.8 1st 69.7 8th
Turnover Margin (all games) +1 7th -3 6th
Kickoff Returns 18.6 7th 23.6 3rd
Punt Returns 7.4 9th 14.1 3rd
Punting (Net Per Punt) 34.3 7th 33.4 8th
Kickoff Coverage 22.4 8th 20.4 3rd
Field Goals .647 8th .636 8th
Red Zone Offense 80.4% 5th 71.2% 10th
Red Zone Defense 82.6% 9th 72.5% 3rd
Points For 30.6 7th 28.2 7th
Points Against 26.3 6th 29.4 7th
Average Finish in the Pac-10   5.9   6.0



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