Preview: Arizona State at Washington State
Arizona State (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (3-6, 1-5) Time: 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium. TV: Versus. Radio: KTTH 770 AM. The line line: Arizona...
Arizona State (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (3-6, 1-5)
Time: 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium.
TV: Versus. Radio: KTTH 770 AM. The line: Arizona State by 12.
The setup: Arizona State, not in control in the Pac-12 South race as a result of the defeat last week against UCLA, needs to win to stay in the running to get to the league-title game. WSU has a five-game losing streak and must win to keep alive flickering hopes of becoming bowl eligible.
Key matchup: WSU interior line vs. ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Best way for Cougars to help beleaguered passing game is to establish the run, but it won't be easy against the tenacious Burfict.
What to expect: ASU, a quick, athletic team, attacks with a high-percentage passing game, running back Cameron Marshall (800 yards rushing) and a ballhawking defense that is fourth in the country in turnover margin at plus-14. The Cougars, sagging recently offensively after a promising start, say they will give RS freshman Connor Halliday some snaps at quarterback. WSU, allowing sacks at the highest rate in the Pac-12 (3.22 a game), will need to protect him.
Notes: It's ASU's latest start on the clock ever at WSU. ... Saturday's Pullman forecast is for a high of 37, rain or show showers in the afternoon and 15-25 mph winds. ... The conditions might not bother ASU QB Brock Osweiler, who is from Kalispell, Mont. He committed to the Gonzaga basketball program after his freshman year of high school before flipping to ASU football before his senior year. ... ASU leads Pac-12 in third-down defense at 29.2 percent conversions. ... Burfict has five sacks. ... ASU receiver Aaron Pflugrad, who attended Pullman High, returns to familiar turf. ... In past four games, the Cougars have lost by 30, 23, 15 and 23 points. ... WSU will honor former Cougar LB Steve Gleason, who is battling Lou Gehrig's disease. ... It's only WSU's second appearance at home since Sept. 10.
Injuries: ASU — No new injuries. Washington State — QB Jeff Tuel (collarbone) is out.
Upset brewing? It's not out of the question, especially if the conditions and the road trouble the Sun Devils. But the need to win should help their focus, and WSU's resolve might be waning late in the season.
Prediction: Arizona State 35, Washington State 14.
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