So far, the lead up to the Washington game on Saturday feels a lot like it did before the Washington State matchup two weeks back after the firing of Nick Rolovich.
Washington (4-5) sits in a nearly identical position against ASU as its Evergreen-State counterpart. Husky head coach Jimmy Lake is suspended for Saturday’s game after striking a player on the sideline last Saturday against Oregon. Washington also fired its offensive coordinator, John Donovan, after finding itself ranked 112th of 130 FBS teams.
Like Washington State (Former coach Nick Rolovich and assistants were fired two weeks before ASU for their refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19), Washington will have two new play-callers this week against the Sun Devils, but a similar problem did not seem to deter the Cougars in their 34-21 victory over ASU.
A defense that fights
In the team’s five losses, only one of them (Michigan) did the Huskies lose by more than 10 points (21). Washington has basically been in every game they played so far, including last week’s ten-point loss to fourth-ranked Oregon.
The Husky defense is legit, falling second only to ASU in the conference in yards-allowed per-game with 226. They only allow 19.7 points per-game, which is the best in the Pac-12.
So far, quarterbacks are throwing for only 141 yards per-game this season against UW. That is a statistic to flaunt, especially with Jayden Daniels coming off one of his worst performances this season last week against USC.
Five starters on the Husky defense have forced more than one turnover on the season, with fifteen total turnovers on the year. Once Washington State forced a couple turnovers against the Sun Devils, it was smooth sailing for the Cougars. That same fate is possible for Saturday.
Offense in an identity-crisis
Quarterback Dylan Morris will take the snaps for Washington on Saturday. Every week, Morris puts up less-than-impressive numbers than the week before, and so far the offense has little identity.
Its head coach was suspended, and its offensive coordinator was fired, all on top of being a bottom-feeder in Division I football offensively. Washington is at square-one on offense, but they also have little to lose at the same time.
ASU cornerback Jack Jones is scheduled to return on Saturday after missing the USC game. With the Sun Devil defensive-back corps at full-strength, the matchup to watch will be Jones and Chase Lucas, against receivers Terrel Bynum and Jalen McMillan. Both Bynum and McMillan have over 400 yards receiving on the year, averaging over 13 yards per-reception.
The Sun Devils have rarely been at 100% in the secondary, but Saturday is expected to be one of those games.
This will be the first time these two programs are matching up since Washington beat ASU 27-20 in Seattle in 2018.