After a poor outing at San Diego State, ASU is now 4-12 away from Tempe since the start of 2015. The most prominent discrepancy between home games and road games is on defense; the Devils gave up 36 points per game away from Arizona last season compared to 26 at home.
Their next road game is on Saturday against the 10th ranked Washington. In recent history, ASU has gotten the better of the Huskies, winning 11 of their past 12 meetings including last year in Tempe when Arizona State upset then fourth-ranked UW and the student section flooded onto the field.
However, the last time the Sun Devils visited Seattle, they were pummeled 44-18 and some familiar faces were the ones dominating the Devils defense.
Senior Washington quarterback Jake Browning was a sophomore then and threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Halfback Myles Gaskin was also in his second year in 2016, and he picked up 7.9 yards per carry with a score in that game.
Gaskin will be the player to watch on Washington’s offense. He ran for over 1300 yards in three straight seasons and already has the most rushing touchdowns in school history. Browning has been less than stellar so far. He’s thrown four interceptions to just four touchdowns and Manny Wilkins has outplayed him in both yards and passer rating.
ASU did an excellent job of stuffing the run during the first two weeks, well enough to be the best in the country. Last Saturday, however, went poorly to say the least. The Devils allowed 311 yards on the ground, as two Aztec halfbacks ran for over 100 yards (Juwan Washington and Chase Jasmin).
A major difference-maker for the Sun Devil defense could be Koron Crump, who returned last week after missing the past 13 games. If Crump picks up where he left off, he should be ASU’s best run defender, so they will need him to step up and have a larger impact than his four tackles on Saturday. In 2016, he had 10.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Washington’s defense has been terrific in recent years and they have continued that by giving up just 31 points in three games, including only seven to Utah last week. In last year’s upset victory, ASU won a defensive game (with a few special teams breaks) 13-7.
Auburn defeated Washington 21-16 in a game where offenses struggled to get in a rhythm. ASU’s best chance comes with stopping the run game and forcing Browning to throw, considering his inconsistent offensive line, imperfect reactions to pressure, and subsequent interception and long-sack tendencies this year.
This is a similar key to last game though, which failed. If Gaskin gets going, then ASU could be looking at a game even uglier than week three, considering Washington’s stout defense.
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