Momentum is only as good as your next game. The Sun Devils have had every reason to celebrate the last two weeks, but now the longest roadtrip of the season awaits. Washington sits at 5-2, and Saturday's game against Seattle is a long way from an assured victory. In order for Arizona State to bring its winning streak to three games, there are a few things that need to happen, and a few things to remember.
Get D.J. Foster involved early. It looks like Taylor Kelly will start, which means the quarterback position for the Sun Devils will make the defense think about more than just his arm. And because Kelly is a threat to run, it makes the read option play with Foster that much more lethal. Consider: In the three games with Kelly, Foster carried the ball 54 times for 510 yards and five touchdowns. In three games with Mike Bercovici, Foster has 43 carries for 102 yards and one touchdown. Granted, the level of competition was better for the Bercovici games, but expect a bounce-back game from Foster.
Rinse and repeat for the defense. The defensive game plan for the Stanford game was virtually flawless, holding the Cardinal to only 10 points, a season-low for the Arizona State defense and tied for season-low for the Stanford offense. Washington's offense is better, but the way Arizona State completely dominated the ball when Stanford's offense was on the field is encouraging for Saturday. The way Laiu Moeakiola is playing hasn't hurt either, leading the team in sacks and tackles-for-loss.
Jaelen Strong is still really good. He may have missed three games, but don't think Taylor Kelly forgot about his favorite weapon. Strong hasn't missed a beat with Bercovici under center, and the idea that he'll playing on Sundays in 2015 is less of an opinion and more of a certainty. Despite how important Foster is, Strong is the team's most explosive player, and like every game, he'll be integral in getting to the end zone.
Don't underestimate an angry team. These two teams meet heading in different directions. Arizona State is riding high after winning its last two, while Washington got flattened by Oregon by last week. The Huskies haven't won in front of their home fans since they clubbed Georgia State Sept. 20, and is 0-1 in home conference games. Washington will come in with a chip on its shoulder, and with losses to Stanford or Oregon, it's close to a must-win game for them.
Buy earplugs. In case you haven't heard the narrative, it is loud in Washington. While that's mostly directed to the NFL's Seahawks, it's just as true at Husky Stadium. The Sun Devils will need to stay disciplined, especially the offensive line, and not commit false starts or any other penalties that will come from the noise.