One knock on ASU’s defense all year has been its struggles with stopping the run.
In three games against Wisconsin, Stanford and USC, the Sun Devils gave up more than 200 rushing yards in each game. Then, against Notre Dame, things got better as ASU gave up 145 rushing yards.
Finally, against Colorado, something clicked. The defense allowed only 99 rushing yards, the fewest since surrendering only 51 yards to Sacramento State in the season opener.
The defense’s performance helped them get back some of their swagger said senior linebacker Chris Young, who had seven tackles against the Buffaloes.
“It builds our confidence back,” Young said. “It just reiterates that we are a good defense. We just have to come back out and do the same thing against Washington.”
Having a repeat performance against the Huskies will not be easy, though. Washington’s offense is loaded with playmakers including senior quarterback Keith Price, junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and junior wide receiver Kasen Williams.
But the Huskies’ most dangerous offensive player lines up perfectly against ASU’s most glaring defensive weakness: junior running back Bishop Sankey.
Bringing Sankey down means getting all available defensive players to the football, redshirt junior Devilbacker Carl Bradford said.
“He makes you tackle him; he runs through arm tackles,” Bradford said. “Pursuit is going to be big, gang tackling, everyone running to the ball, that’s big on it.”
For Young, the key is simple: Hit Sankey hard.
“He runs hard and obviously he has great cuts,” Young said. “Against running backs like that you have to bring them down. Hit him hard and obviously make plays. Against Bishop Sankey, (those are) going to be the main things we have to do.”
- Graham said freshman safety Marcus Ball will not be ready to play this week and is at least “a week or two away.” Ball suffered a shoulder injury back in camp Tontozona and has been in a green no-contact jersey ever since.
- Redshirt freshman safety Laiu Moeakiola saw time with the second team at Spur linebacker Tuesday.
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