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ASU vs. Washington: Three keys to victory

The Huskies and Sun Devils square off Saturday afternoon in a must win game for both teams. Here's what Arizona State needs to do to come away with the win.

Will the Sun Devils be able to overcome the Husky's Bishop Sankey on Saturday?
Will the Sun Devils be able to overcome the Husky's Bishop Sankey on Saturday?
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we bring you the three keys to victory for Arizona State against Washington on Saturday.

1. Stop Sankey and ASJ

As Todd Graham has said all week, the Huskies begin and end with Bishop Sankey. While Keith Price is a threat and Jaydon Mickens is the go-to receiver, Sankey will win or lose this game for the Huskies based on his production. Sankey has nine touchdowns already this season for 899 yards leads the country in rushing yards per game with 149.83 and averages just 5.7 yards per carry.

Not to mention his 14 receptions for 134 yards as well. He’s shifty, he’s fast, but can power it up the middle as well. Another threat is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The 6-foot-6 wide receiver, tight end hybrid could give the undersized ASU secondary fits all day. If the Sun Devils let either of these players run wild, it’s going to be a long afternoon in Tempe.

2. Capitalize in the Red Zone

Capitalize means score touchdowns. The Sun Devils can’t leave points on the board against a team like the Huskies. Arizona State is six of 11 in their last two games and 20 of 33 for the season scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That’s 60 percent for the season and 54 percent in the last two games. It’s a number that should always be up around 75 to 80 percent consistently scoring touchdowns. If ASU doesn’t put six on the board every time they’re down inside the twenty, it may come back to bite them.

It is not the time to get cute with Eubank in the game, it’s time to run true goal line offense and score the football. Play action passes and winning the battle in the trenches will be key. Although Todd Graham has preached ball security all week, the Huskies have only forced two fumbles so far this season.

3. Tempo, Tempo, Tempo

Both teams are fast-paced and run a high-tempo offense. The difference so far seems to be that Keith Price doesn’t panic and can get the Huskies down the field if the pace needs to be slowed up due to the defense. The Sun Devils have yet to accomplish this feat. If Taylor Kelly isn’t moving at a blistering pace, the offense has just stalled and has yet to prove that it can put together a methodical drive bringing precious minutes off the clock in key situations.

The stoutness of the Husky defense which is only giving up 19.8 points per game at the moment could fluster Taylor Kelly. The Washington defensive backfield has seven interceptions this season including three from senior Sean Parker. It will be tough for Kelly to play fast and watch the coverages at the same time and still play within himself.