As the quality of Washington's late-season opponents has softened, quarterback Keith Price's stats have soared.
When Washington quarterback Keith Price, mirroring the performance of his team, was mired in a slump at midseason, coach Steve Sarkisian pointed out that many of Price’s stats against specific opponents weren’t much different from what they had been in 2011.
The implication was clear. Once the schedule turned a bit, and UW began to play teams that weren’t ranked as high as some of those in the first half of the season, the coach expected Price’s numbers to improve.
And indeed, as UW has won four in a row — three against teams with losing records in Utah (4-7), California (3-9) and Colorado (1-10) — Price’s stats have improved.
In the past three games, Price has completed 62 of 91 passes for 760 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception.
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And in the process, Price has begun to put a happier face on his season numbers, and crept up some career lists.
Price has completed 223 of 359 passes this season for 2,290 yards and 16 touchdowns. His passing efficiency rating is 124.84, more than 20 points higher than a month ago. That’s nowhere near his school-record 161.9 rating last season, but is just off the top 15 in UW history. His completion percentage is up to 62.1, off his record 66.9 of 2011 but on pace for fourth in UW history.
And after throwing a school record-tying five touchdown passes last week, he has 51 in his career. That’s fourth in UW history, and puts him within reach of the school mark. Cody Pickett is the leader with 55 from 1999-2003, with Jake Locker and Brock Huard tied for second at 53.
The softer schedule has helped, but Sarkisian said he thinks Price’s improvement is for real. He said Tuesday that he had seen his quarterback getting better “for a few weeks now” and said the maturing offensive line is giving him more time. And because of an improved running game, “we’ve been able to play-action pass a bit more than we were able to earlier in the year,” Sarkisian said.
As for Price, Sarkisian said: “His anticipation is greatly improved the last month. The rapport with the receiving corps, the anticipation and understanding coverages and where guys are going to go has just really improved in the last month. Again, that’s a sign of a guy willing to work, willing to try and get better, and taking to coaching.”
Shelton makes grade
Sophomore defensive tackle Danny Shelton, a graduate of Auburn High, was named to the Pac-12’s all-academic team. Shelton has a 3.47 grade-point average in anthropology.
Four Huskies drew honorable mention — fullback Jonathan Amosa, receiver DiAndre Campbell and linebackers John Timu and Travis Feeney.
To be eligible for selection, a player must have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and be a starter or significant contributor.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta