Arizona State heads up north this weekend for a clash with the 5-2 Washington Huskies. Washington's SB Nation site, UW Dawg Pound, was nice enough to answer a few questions about the team.
HOS: How do you view this Washington? Underachieving, overachieving or about where you expected?
UWDP: Record-wise, the Huskies are about where they were expected to be coming into the season. They've beaten the teams they're better than and played Stanford close. In terms of the actual product on the field though, they're definitely underachieving. The offense is simply awful, in a way that nobody was predicting.
HOS: Who is one Washington player that could give Arizona State fits?
UWDP: Hau'oli Kikaha. If the season ended today, there's no argument for him being anything but a consensus All-American. He's leading the country in sacks by a wide margin with 12.5, which puts him on pace to finish the season with 25 -- which would break the NCAA record set by ASU's Terrell Suggs. And he didn't just pad his stats against UW's weaker opponents: he's actually averaging more sacks per game against the Power-5 schools UW has played than against the others. When he gets going, he can frustrate offenses and end drives single handedly.
HOS: How does Washington view this game after the blowout loss in Tempe last season?
UWDP: I don't think the game last year rates much in regards to this one. It was easily the worst the Huskies played all year, they've been consistently much better at home over the last half decade or so, and there's been so much staff and roster turnover that it's basically an entirely different squad.
HOS: It seems like Taylor Kelly will be starting for the Sun Devils. Is Washington's defense better suited to defend Mike Bercovici or Taylor Kelly?
UWDP: You'd always rather play the backup, even if it's a good one like Bercovici. It really just depends on how healthy Kelly is. There's been a pretty distinct correlation between the mobility of opposing quarterbacks and how poorly the UW defense has played lately. If ASU doesn't have a lot of mobility at the position, UW's All American candidates on the defensive line may well have a field day as they did against teams like Cal and Illinois.
HOS: How do you see this game going?
UWDP: I'm well past the point of trying to predict anything with this UW team this season. They're so wildly inconsistent from one week to the next that any game could go any way. Plus, there's the fact that Troy Williams may be starting his first game at QB for the Huskies, which throws another wrench into knowing what to expect.