The Daily of UW predicts a No. 5 Washington win against ASU

The Daily of UW sports editor shares what he foresees when the Sun Devils take on the Huskies Saturday

In preparation for ASU football's conference game against the University of Washington, The Daily of UW sports editor Josh Kirshenbaum answered some of the glaring questions regarding No. 5 Washington (6-0, 3-0) and the Sun Devils (2-3, 1-1).

1) ASU has one of the deepest receivers groups in the Pac-12. How does UW match up against the Sun Devils' best group?

Well, we won't find out for sure until Saturday. Going into this season, the secondary was the perceived "weakness" of the UW defense, after losing three starters to the NFL. So far, the DB's have been the opposite of a weakness and picked up right where last year's group left off. Jordan Miller has been good at corner, and when Byron Murphy (who was probably the star of the first couple weeks) went out with an injury, Austin Joyner filled in and has played well. Sophomore Myles Bryant has been a stud at nickelback, and the two returning starting safeties, Taylor Rapp and JoJo McIntosh, are as good as last year. That being said, the only real test they've had was three weeks ago at Colorado. The Huskies held that offense to under 200 yards passing, but ASU's wideouts will be a whole other animal.

2) UW has yet to play a "real" opponent this season. Is ASU the first or should the Huskies keep looking?

First of all, thank you for not using the word "cupcake." Second, I think you just made a lot of people in Boulder and Berkeley a little mad. Seriously though, Chris Petersen has coached this team well, and all we have heard this week is that Arizona State is the best team Washington has ever played or will ever play. No matter how good ASU is, it's the only team Washington will play this week, and I highly doubt Petersen will let his team overlook the Sun Devils for even a second.


3) What matchups are exploitable for the UW offense and defense? Why?

On offense, the question all year has been who will step up into the No. 2 receiver spot. Dante Pettis is really good, to put it bluntly, but unlike last year, where Pettis was the complement to John Ross, there is no solid "other" receiver. After last game, it looks like true freshman tight end Hunter Bryant could be another solid target for Jake Browning, but one game does not a star make. If ASU can effectively take Pettis out of the game, it could be trouble for the UW offense. On defense, I honestly have trouble identifying a weakness. If anything, it's mid-range (4-8 yard or so) plays. The Huskies do a better job at limiting chunk plays than almost anyone, but the few times opposing offenses have had success against them have come when opponents dink and dunk their way to 3rd-and-manageable situations and work their way down the field. That's how Rutgers, Fresno State and Colorado scored touchdowns on the starters -- the only three TDs Washington's first string has given up all year.

4) How has Browning kept command of this team with so many developing leaders on the defense and across the offensive spectrum? 

We don't have access to the locker room, so anything I say about the cohesion of the team is obviously speculation. From what I can see from the press box and the sidelines, though, there's no trouble in terms of morale and chemistry. Petersen, Browning and everyone else on the team are too professional to let anything like that get in their way.


5) Prediction? 

When the schedule came out, I circled two games that worried me as possible upsets: Colorado and this week. I am a firm believer in #Pac12AfterDark, and I can't think of a more conducive setting to the phenomenon than a 7:45 p.m. kickoff in Tempe, so that itself makes me worried. Washington has also suffered from slow starts, especially on the road, so I think this could be close early on. That being said, every time the Huskies have found themselves in close games on the road this year, they've taken control out of the gate in the second half and never looked back. I think that happens again, and Washington works its way to a 38-16 win.


 Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.

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