Can the Huskies prevent yet another three-game slide under Coach Steve Sarkisian? This game means so much on so many levels. If the Huskies can win in the desert, a place that they’ve been woefully inept in their last few visits, it could very well propel the team to bigger things. If they drop it, they may be staring at yet another 7 win season. Here is what the staff thinks.
Kim Grinolds – CEO: Many are saying this is a must win for UW. The coaches say it's not. Call it what you want, but if they can't win this game the skepticism about the program will be around for a while. Must win? Maybe not. necessary win? Absolutely. Bishop Sankey, ASJ, and Kasen Williams all should have big games in the desert, but that won't be enough. The defense really needs to step up and create not only havoc but turnovers as well. Big win for UW on Saturday.
Prediction: Washington 41, ASU 27
Chris Fetters – Editor In Chief: I think Vegas has this one pegged pretty well...this is two teams that have potent offenses and defenses that can get the job done. Washington certainly has the horses to compete with the Sun Devils for 60 minutes but I suspect this may be a game where they are playing catch-up like they did against Oregon, or they won't be able to withstand late pressure from the home team during Homecoming weekend. Either way I think a field goal decides this one, and maybe it's just whiplash from the last time UW played at ASU, but the Huskies have done a decent job of shooting themselves in the foot at crucial moments. This year certainly could be different, and I wouldn't be surprised if they do break through because they are that talented - but I'm not betting on it.
Prediction: ASU 34, Washington 31
Scott Eklund – Recruiting Editor: How will Washington rebound from their last two emotional losses? We'll find out on Saturday vs. ASU. The Huskies need to win this game. They have more talent than ASU and should be able to put up points, but with the Dawgs not beating them in over a decade and this being on the road, it will be a nail-biter for Husky fans. I see UW pulling away in the fourth quarter to get the win.
Prediction: Washington 41, ASU 31
Jay Torrell – Sports Washington Creative Director: Did anyone realistically think that the Huskies would be better than 4-2 at this point? The Stanford/Oregon games gave the Dawgs massive national street cred with impressive showings in games they were expected to lose. While a win would have been nice the true measure of this team lies ahead of them and they should have the confidence that if they play to their potential they can run the table and land a major bowl. I think the Dawgs have what it takes not to take a step backwards and fully expect them to make the plays necessary to beat a team that is also looking to prove they belong in the upper echelon of the Pac-12. Dawgs have more talent and gas in the tank. Sankey runs wild, defense rebounds.
Prediction: Washington 42, ASU 32
Pat Thrapp – Statistics Coordinator: Oregon really lit us up passing the ball. We know ASU likes to toss the rock around. For me the question will be, “Can we cover teams that can pass the ball?” I believe we can go down to the desert & win. We just have to be on our game. I am fairly confident that they will not be as fast, team-wise, as we saw last week with Oregon. Also I liked that fact we are a good rush defensive team, and we can run the ball on probably anyone. Here is to hoping we smash the ball down their throat with Sankey, and get our passing game going - down field!
Prediction: Washington 35, ASU 31
Marshall Cherrington – Intern: This matchup in the desert to cap off the week of Seattle football in Arizona will be the most exciting game of the season for Huskies fans. With the game being in Tempe, this matchup looks pretty much deadlocked on paper. The Huskies are a better team than Arizona State, but the setting neutralizes this to an extent. The better team is supposed to win and that’s part of the reason why I think it is such a “must win” game for Coach Sark and his Dawgs. I think the Huskies will start off well in this game, but will fade a little and just escape with a victory in the end. The Huskies are 25th in the nation when it comes to points allowed and the Sun Devils are 11th in the nation when it comes to points scored. Something has got to give here and I think it will be the Arizona State offense. The Huskies have an answer to every one of ASU’s offensive weapons. Jaelen Strong? Meet Marcus Peters. Marion Grice? Meet Shaq Thompson and John Timu. Taylor Kelley? Meet Sean Parker and one of the best linebacking cores in the conference that will contain you on the ground. I think Keith Price will have a great day through the air as it could be tough for Sankey to run on Will Sutton and ASU’s tough defensive line. The only reason I have ASU only losing by a touchdown is because I think UW will get worn down by the heat factor (high of 88 degrees on Saturday) and the fact that the game is being played in Tempe. This win will give the Huskies their confidence and swagger back as they start the second half of the season.
Prediction: Washington 31, ASU 24
Andrew Dore – Intern: Many people are pegging this game to be the matchup of the season for UW. UW has always had a 3 game losing streak during Sarkisian’s tenure. A win on the road is never a give me game to win but I still have confidence in the Dawgs. Bishop Sankey seems to be a guaranteed 100+ yards a week. Arizona State is giving up almost 170 yards per game on the ground. The Huskies need a steady dose of Sankey combined with the rest of the Husky passing attack. I hope to see a little more use of the star receivers in Kasen and ASJ. Taylor Kelly is 8th in the nation in passing yards per game. I think the pass rush will be key for the Huskies to head home with the victory.
Prediction: Washington 31, ASU 28
David Samek – The Dawgman: I was dead wrong last week. Washington was unable to take the next step. Now they go back on the road to a place where they have struggled. ASU has an offense capable of abusing Washington, and since the Huskies have such minor pass rush, I expect the Devils to move the ball at will. They will take some shots deep and succeed because the Husky DBs won’t be able to cover the ASU receivers for upwards of six seconds at a time. Bishop Sankey keeps the game close but in the end, Keith Price gets chased, knocked down, and forced into some bad throws and turnovers that will be the difference in the game. If the Huskies had better special teams it would be a difference-maker, but they simply do not this year. Todd Graham’s kids look inspired and they are buying into what he’s telling them. Washington CAN win this game, but I don’t believe that they will.
Prediction: ASU 41, Washington 31