Washington’s rise to No. 5 in the AP Poll has been filled with blowout wins and important conference victories, with much of it surprisingly due to the Huskies’ suffocating defense.
The Huskies rank 7th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (150.3), and 3rd in points allowed per game (10.2). Much of that is due to another loaded defense, featuring defensive lineman Vita Vea, linebacker Azeem Victor and a secondary that includes cornerback Jordan Miller.
Washington’s latest game, a dominant win over Cal, has Miller atop the Pac-12 in an important metric in determining effectiveness in coverage. The Huskies corner leads the Pac-12 in lowest passer rating when targeted by opposing quarterbacks at 15.6, per Pro Football Focus College.
Same team, new player atop the list of lowest passer rating when targeted among Pac-12 corners. pic.twitter.com/WXzQhpnjnU
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 12, 2017
Miller’s minuscule opposing rating is almost 12 full points lower than the next best corner, Utah’s Jaylon Johnson. On the year, Miller has 13 tackles and 2 interceptions and has shut down opposing receivers, as evidenced by his PFF College rating.
The Huskies lost multiple impact players in its secondary — safety Budda Baker and cornerback Sidney Jones — to the 2017 NFL Draft, but they haven’t missed a step in their absence. As a unit, Washington has allowed just 3 passing touchdowns to opponents, while recording 8 interceptions.
Washington is again putting together a formula that will win against most opponents, setting up the Huskies for another run at a Pac-12 title and appearance in the College Football Playoff. As the saying goes, if you score some points, you might win, but if your opponents don’t score, you’ll never lose. The Huskies are coming as close to that as possible in today’s college game. It bodes well for future success, pinned on the back of the Pac-12’s best defense.