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Dawgman.com Mid-Season Awards

With the Washington Huskies at the half-way point of their 2015 season, it's time to give out some mid-term awards. Who do we think are the offensive, defensive and special teams MVP's? Who do we think will break out the second half of the season? And how do we think the season will finish out? Our answers are below.

Offensive MVP

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Luke Mounger Myles Gaskin. With two carries of 70-yards or greater and three 100-yard rushing performances, has emerged as the most potent threat on the Husky offense.

Scott Eklund Myles Gaskin. Natural, instinctive runner who has put up very solid numbers when given the chance.

Chris Fetters Myles Gaskin. The surprise of the offense so far, by a country mile. 

Kim Grinolds The offense has been horrible, but the one bright spot has been freshman RB Myles Gaskin. As bad as the offense has been, without Gaskin it would be much worse

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Defensive MVP

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Luke Mounger Azeem VictorIn terms of bringing it on a week-to-week basis, Azeem Victor has out-shined the rest of the stingy Washington defense.

Scott Eklund Azeem Victor. When he's in the game, the Husky defense is much more physical.

Chris Fetters Azeem Victor. There's no doubt there's a big difference when Azeem is in the game and when he isn't. Everything moves through him. 

Kim Grinolds Azeem Victor. His physical play has set the tone for the defense all season long so far.

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Special Teams MVP

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Luke Mounger Tristan VizcainoHear me out. Coach Petersen said a big key to their kickoff coverage is kick placement. If you take away the big kick return by Bralon Addison, the Huskies net kickoff average would be 41.9 yards, which would rank third in the PAC-12. And who made the touchdown-saving stop on that huge Addison return, anyways?

Scott Eklund Korey Durkee. The knock on Durkee before he took over at punter was consistency...he's seemed to rectify that and is averaging almost 43 yards per punt this season.

Chris Fetters Jeff Choate. The Special Teams coach has played the right cards on fakes and also called some key blocks. Budda Baker was an inch away from getting a block on the final Oregon punt that could have changed the game. Special teams has been well-coached this year.

Kim Grinolds No one player really stands out. They've just been solid. I'll give to to special teams coach Jeff Choate for his fake field goal that resulted in a TD.

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Coaching MVP

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Luke Mounger Bob GregoryThe Huskies lost three NFL linebackers last season. That hasn't stopped the linebackers from performing at an incredibly high level. Keishawn Bierria and Azeem Victor are highly talented, but a lot of credit should go to coach Gregory for the performance of this unit.

Scott Eklund Pete Kwiatkowski. Considering the amount of talent and experience he lost after last season, the second-year DC sure seems to be pushing all of the right buttons with the Pac 12's top-ranked defense.

Chris Fetters Pete Kwiatkowski. There's no doubt everyone expected the defense to take a step backward this season. Improvement was inconceivable considering their losses, but in many ways they have improved. All the defensive coaches get the credit, but Coach K gets the most. 

Kim Grinolds Pete Kwiatkowski. After losing so much on defense, nobody saw the defense playing like they have. Pleasant surprise.

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Biggest Surprise

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Luke Mounger Keishawn BierriaBierria ranks second on the team in tackles, has racked up 4 four tackles for a loss, and even has a sack-and-a-half. He's far outperformed expectations

Scott Eklund Victor, Keishawn Bierria and Cory Littleton are the best LB group on the conference and arguably one of the best in the country.

Chris Fetters The entire defense. From replacing four seniors along the defensive line to six of their top seven on their front and an NFL first rounder at cornerback, the Huskies are leading the Pac-12 in scoring defense. That's nothing short of remarkable.

Kim Grinolds Azeem Victor. I knew he was physical, but he's been much more than just physical. He's playing very well.

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Key Play/Moment of the Season So Far

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Luke Mounger Two play development: Sidney Jones knocks the ball out of Juju Smith-Schuster's hands. Next play, Jake Browning throws a backwards pass to Marvin Hall who finds Joshua Perkins in the end zone. The Husky defense kept Washington in the game for the first half. After Sidney Jones got the ball back for the Huskies on the third USC turnover, the Huskies finally capitalized with a little trickery.

Scott Eklund  Travis Feeney's sack of USC QB Cody Kessler that resulted in a missed field goal by the Trojans and led the UW's stunning 17-12 win in the Coliseum.

Chris Fetters Losing Jake Browning for the final series against OregonThere's no guarantee the Huskies were going to come back against Oregon, but Browning's injury that forced him out could potentially have long-term repercussions for the rest of the season. 

Kim Grinolds Damariay Drew’s interception of Washington’s Jake Browning at the Washington 40-yard line against Cal on their final drive which could have been a game winning drive 

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Top Offensive Play

USA Today Sports

Luke Mounger Jake Browning to Jaydon Mickens for six yards and a first down in the fourth quarter against USC. I wanted to give Hall to Perkins this award, but after thinking about it, I like this one more. There's nothing fancy about it. After a tough night, Jake Browning stepped up and made a play to seal the deal.

Scott Eklund Gaskin's 72-yard touchdown run versus Oregon that seemed to give UW life at the end of the third quarter.

Chris Fetters Browning's third-down conversion to Jaydon Mickens to seal the win at USC. Hopefully that play gives the freshman quarterback the confidence he needs to execute and deliver in key moments heading forward, because there will be more key moments to come.

Kim Grinolds Myles Gaskin's 72-yard run against Oregon.

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Top Defensive Play

USA Today Sports

Luke Mounger Sidney Jones taking the ball away from Juju Smith-SchusterThe Husky defense was on that Thursday night. This turnover gave the Huskies an opportunity to make something happen the tricky way on the offensive end. This play led to the momentum change the Huskies needed.

Scott Eklund  Feeney's sack on Kessler. Runner up would be Sidney Jones' pick in the first quarter against USC on a screen pass.

Chris Fetters Feeney's sack of Cody Kessler that put USC in tough field goal range, a field goal they would miss.  That play was instrumental in the Huskies' staving off the Trojans after USC had wrestled away the momentum in the game.

Kim Grinolds Actually, it was the first three plays against USC. Feeney and Victor sack Kessler. Victor absolutely rocks their running back. Then Darren Gardenhire intercepts Kessler. The tone was set early with that series.

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Top Special Teams Play

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Luke Mounger Tristan Vizcaino tackling Bralon AddisonIf Vizcaino doesn't make that tackle, Addison scores. If Addison scores, the Huskies don't have the ball down a score with over a minute left. His tackle, and the subsequent defensive stand, kept the Huskies alive against the Ducks.

Scott Eklund Dante Pettis' 76-yard punt return in the third quarter against Boise State that brought Washington within six points.

Chris Fetters Dante Pettis' 76-yard punt return against Boise State. At that point in time, nothing was going right for Washington's offense. It jump-started their efforts in a big way. The Huskies ended up losing the game by three on a missed field goal as time ran out, but Pettis' play gave them life. 

Kim Grinolds Fake punt with Jeff Lindquist pitching back to Vizcaino for a TD. Also, Vizcaino's tackle that saved a TD against Oregon.

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Player you expect to make a move in the second half - Offense

USA Today Sports

Luke Mounger Jake BrowningThis is the obvious choice. It looks like Myles Gaskin has already stepped up to the challenge of being the primary run threat. It's Jake's turn to establish the passing game, not only for this year, but for the years to come.

Scott Eklund  Myles Gaskin. Yeah he was my Offensive MVP, but I see him tripling his productivity over the second half of the season.

Chris Fetters Dante Pettis. The sophomore receiver only has 13 receptions so far through six games; I expect him to at least double that effort the final six games.

Kim Grinolds Jake Browning. They desperately need better play from their quarterback. 

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Player you expect to make a move in the second half - Defense

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Luke Mounger Budda BakerThis is kind of weird, because Budda is already good. When I say Budda is going to make a move, I'm talking more splash plays. He might haul in a few interception, maybe force a fumble, we'll see.

Scott Eklund Travis Feeney. Moving to BUCK took away some of the senior's aggression initially, but he's played very well over the past few weeks.

Chris Fetters Joe Mathis. The junior defense end is a ball of energy, but his production hasn't matched his enthusiasm. He only has one sack so far at the mid-way point. He needs to bump that number up a bunch and I think he'll do it.

Kim Grinolds Will Dissly. Where has he been?

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Updated season predictions with how you feel UW will do from here on out:

Luke Mounger There is plenty to feel good about. The defense is good enough to give our offense opportunities to win every game. Can the offense step up to the challenge? The offense is missing some confidence and consistency throwing the ball. Figure that out, and you have a solid unit. Expect them to figure it out soon. The question is if it will be soon enough. Six wins is my number. I think WSU, OSU, and Arizona are the best chances the Huskies have at those wins.

Scott Eklund I saw a 5-7 team heading into the season, but now I think they have a great shot to make a bowl game. 7-5 is where I think they will wind up

Chris Fetters Three wins out of the first six was probably a bit low considering two of those wins were dead certs. It feels like the only way they can get to 6-6 is to win the final two games, and that won't be an easy task. I'll go 5-7.

Kim Grinolds Stanford - L. Arizona - W. Utah - L. ASU - L. OSU - W. WSU - W.


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