Two weeks ago the Washington Huskies were dreaming of New Year's Day and bowl games that start with "B and end with "CS." But that was before the Huskies were nipped at the wire by Stanford and torn asunder by Oregon. Now, with two conference losses under their belt and doubtless a crisis of confidence on their minds, Head Coach Steve Sarkisian's troops head to the Valley of the Sun to play Arizona State.
There is a certain symmetry to these two teams. Washington is 3rd in the conference in offense at 527 yards per game. Arizona State is 5th in the conference offensively. The Sun Devils amass 496 yards per contest. Washington is 3rd in the conference in defense, holding opponents to 344 yards per game. Arizona State is 5th in the conference defensively. The Sun Devils hold their opponents to 372 yards per contest.
No one wearing purple and gold needs to get back on track more than does Washington quarterback Keith Price. Two consecutive weeks of punishment has left the veteran signal caller behind the chains and down in the dumps headed to Arizona. Still fifth in the conference in passing efficiency, Price's veteran leadership will be key to starting the second half of his final year on the right foot.
A Husky who has only improved this year is running back Bishop Sankey. Sankey starred even in the loss to Oregon, gaining 160 yards against the Ducks. Continued stellar play from the sophomore from Gonzaga Prep will be a key component Saturday night in Tempe. Sankey leads the world in rushing yards per game, with just a tick under 150 yards per contest.
Arizona State doesn't have a runner to match Sankey. In fact Marion Grice, the Sun Devils leading ball carrier is ranked 87th in the nation in rushing yards per game. But the Devils have Taylor Kelly at quarterback, and he is a good one. Kelly is eighth in the nation in passing yards. Kelly will be looking for wide receiver Jalean Strong in an effort to keep the chains moving and the Husky offense on the sidelines.
Las Vegas lists the Sun Devils as a 3.5 point favorite. The Huskies are capable of winning the game outright but may be a bit shellshocked with the way that October has transpired so far. I'm leaning the Sun Devils way. Give the points.
Washington at Arizona State is scheduled to kick Saturday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. PDT. It can be seen on the Pac-12 Network, and heard locally on the University of Washington IMG Radio Network. Radio pregame begins at 7:00 a.m on the coast.