Game Preview and TV Schedule: #20 Washington at Arizona State

Christian Petersen

This game looms large for both teams, as it begins the second halves of their respective seasons ... the winner will be well on its way to making a statement that it deserves to be in the top half of the conference. But hey, don't worry Husky fans, if the transitive property means anything at all, which it doesn't in college football, the Dawgs should blow out the Sun Devils, since the Devils got blown out by Stanford ...

Who: #20 Washington @ Arizona State

Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

When: 3:00 pm Pacific/ 6:00 pm Eastern

TV Schedule: The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network

Previews: ASU's Offense, Defense, and Special Teams; 5 Questions; Keys to the Game; Kirk's Prediction; Dots 1 and Dots 2

History

Arizona State leads this series, one that started back in 1975, with the Devils winning convincingly by a score of 35 to 12. It was a poor showing. However, that showing pales in comparison to the showing the Dawg have given their faithful over the previous 11 years. Since the Huskies beat the Sun Devils in 2001, they have gone 0 and 7, losing by a combined score of 228 to 129.

Under Sark, the Dawgs have gone 0 and 2, but the teams haven't played since 2010 ... and you might remember this ending from 2009 ... Let's just say there's a lot of people who are tired of this streak. Oregon might be able to say 10 straight years. Arizona State fans can say 2001.

Numbers

We'll start with the respective defensive numbers, since I have a hunch that this game will hinge on some key defensive match-ups. The first quarter has been the worst quarter of the year for ASU's pass defense, as far as completion percentage goes. ASU is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete over 63 percent of their passes. However, they have only given up one passing touchdown in the first quarter so far this season. The real damage has come in the second quarter where ASU has given up 6 passing touchdowns. ASU's secondary has also shown an ability to make key changes coming out of half time, as they have forced 5 interceptions in that quarter alone.

Their run defense, on the other hand, has been fairly consistent throughout the year. By that I mean it has been, at least for Arizona State fans and coaches, frustratingly below average. The Sun Devils are sitting at 76th in the country, allowing 168 rushing yards per game. Then the numbers get interesting ... so interesting if fact that I have trouble deciding where to start .... The Devils allow more rushing yards on first down then any other down by almost a yard and a half (from 4.02 to 5.50). However, the Sun Devils allow the most yards on the ground when the game is within 7 points, where they are giving up nearly 8 yards per carry. The rest of the time ASU is only giving up 3.41 yards per carry.

I tell you what, this game bodes well for Bishop Sankey, as he is one of the most difficult running backs to defend ... just ask Stanford and Oregon, as neither team could bottle him up.

What They're Saying

No insults intended; this is really just some gameweek fun ... so have a laugh. These quotes were removed from any relevant context that would give them any logical sense .... These quotes are brought to you by CactusRanch.com ... I really like this message board. There is some really good discussion and analysis going on over here ... but I'm not going to include that stuff

Sadly, I don't think we pull it off tomorrow. Sankey is the nation's leading rusher, and our ground defense has been a liability against all the better teams we've played, to include USC. Tommy Rees carved up our secondary all night long, and Price is a much better, and more mobile, QB. When we play a more physical team, our pass rush ends up often being diving arm-tackles that don't bring down the target.

This team does have issues and Washington is a pretty good team. But we aren't exactly chopped liver either ... If we wanted a bunch of gimmes we should have stayed in the WAC ...

whomever misses this game in person is foolish. This WILL be the game of the year.

we look like losers...poor defense

I must have forgotten some people insist we're only supposed to post sunny-sounding homer comments. Those with fragile constitutions don't tolerate well opinions contrary to their locked-down mindsets.

Questions Needing Answers

Offense: Will Bishop Sankey be able to exploit the weak ASU run defense? Can Keith Price put together another solid effort? How many screens will Jaydon Mickens get this game? Will Austin Sefarian-Jenkins take another step forward?

Defense: Will the secondary bounce back from last week's embarrassment? Better yet, will the entire defense take a step forward, and play for all four quarters? Will Shaq Thompson stop missing tackles? Will the real pass rush please stand up?

Miscellaneous: How long will the losing streak last? Will the heat be a huge factor? How many Husky players are going to get cramps? Did you know that Zach Miller played at Arizona State? Is it just me or are the ASU helmets going downhill fast?

Conclusion

This game has all the makings to be awesome. Both teams need this win to be in the upper tier of the Pac-12. The biggest question facing the Dawgs has got to be about which road team will show up. Is it going to the the road team we've seen the past couple of years, or will it be the one we've seen so far this season? The Huskies have had some really tough weeks of football, but have managed to come out sitting nicely as far as injuries go. But, like it or not, this game will test the mettle of players and coaches alike. Look to see the Dawgs take some shots down field, and then let Sankey loose on the Sun Devil defense. Final score: Huskies 38 Sun Devils 27.

More Info

Media Information:
  • On the Pac-12 Networks, Ted Robinson will give the play-by-play, Glen Parker will be the analyst, and Drea Avent will be on the sidelines.
  • The game will be available on Tune-in, Sirius 94 and XM 196 for those of you who listen to the game.
Gameday Dots:
  • AZ Central has a story focusing on the challenge that ASU faces this week in attempting to defend Bishop Sankey. Apparently, this year Sankey has done everything shy of walking on Lake Washington.
  • ArizonaSportsDotCom detailed how this game looms as a "swing game" for both teams. Hey, it's taken straight from Brock Huard's mouth!
  • AZ Family predicts that the Huskies will win in a shootout. Read this preview if only to get a super detailed write-up complete with key offensive and defensive match-ups for the game.
  • House of Sparky writer, Ben Haber, has a couple of hunches about this game. You might be surprised by them ... but don't worry, it has a happy ending if you're a Husky Fan.
Vegas Odds:

The odds range from ASU as a 2 point favorite to a 1.5 point favorite.

Game Thread:

Come on over to the game thread to have a little bit of jovial banter with fellow Dawg fans, and the occasional troll. You'll be happy you did. It opens up an hour or so before game time.

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