The Washington Huskies will try to exorcize a recent demon as the Arizona Sun Devils visit Husky Stadium this week.
The 5th ranked, undefeated Washington Huskies take on the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday night at Husky Stadium. The Huskies have been rolling along in 2023, including a 36-33 victory over Oregon last week.
Despite ASU’s 1-5 record, Washington can’t take their guests lightly. Arizona State has beaten the Huskies in 13 out of their last 15 meetings.
That includes last year’s 45-38 upset in Tempe. That loss was one of only two defeats the Washington Huskies had all season.
UW doesn’t plan for this to happen again, especially on their home field. It would hamper their Pac-12 Championship Game hopes and take them out of National Championship contention.
Arizona State is not having a good season so far, with a 0-3 conference record and 1-5 overall. They are the only winless team in conference play, as their lone victory came in the season opener against Southern Utah, 24-21.
Coming into Saturday night’s matchup, ASU averages a paltry 18.67 points per game. Part of the reason is their rushing attack puts up 83.7 yards a game and 2.7 per carry.
Although defending the run isn’t the Washington Huskies’ strong suit, they played much better before Oregon brought them back to earth last week. This will be a good game for the D to regain some swagger.
ASU does better through the air, averaging 258.50 yards per game. They complete 58% of their passes and have thrown eight interceptions. Coincidentally, that’s the same amount of passes Washington’s defense picked off in 2023.
Quarterback Trenton Bourguet, who spearheaded last season’s upset, is again under center. He took over for injured freshman Jaden Rashada two games in. It’s also possible Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne could see some playing time if Bourguet struggles.
Running back Cameron Skattebo is ASU’s primary rusher. The Sacramento State transfer has 93 carries for 367 yards and leads the team with 6 touchdowns. He is also an important part of the passing game. Skattebo’s 16 receptions are fourth on the team, and his 245 yards are second.
Speaking of catches, the Washington Huskies’ defensive backs will key on wide receiver Elijhah Badger. The junior leads ASU with 33 catches for 422 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Badger and Bourguet are the only returning starters on offense in 2023. The rest of the Sun Devils offense are all transfers, including the offense line.
After Herm Edward’s departure last season, new head coach Kenny Dillingham cleaned house. So, just like their offense, ASU’s defense is also in flux. Transfers make up 7 of the team’s current 11 starters.
So far, the rebuilt defense has done fairly well. The opposition rushes for 122 yards a game and gains only 217 passing.
Arizona State’s starting defensive backs may be all transfers, but they have experience. The backups also have some experience, however, several are in new positions. Whoever plays should be prepared for a heavy dose of Washington Huskies QB Michael Penix and his cadre of outstanding receivers.
Their defense has no interceptions this year, which should make Washington Huskies Head Coach Kalen DeBoer and Offensive Coordinator Ryan Grubb smile. Arizona State comes with a heavy pass rush that has registered 18 sacks. They have yet to face anything like Washington’s offensive line, which has only allowed 7 sacks in 2023.
UW should snap their two game losing streak to the Sun Devils on Saturday. At least the odds makers think so by making them a 28.5 point favorite. That’s also the same amount of points ASU allows each game.
The over/under is set at 58.5 points. Washington will do their part to contribute to the over. But it doesn’t look like ASU will. Go Dawgs!