Arizona State head coach Todd Graham thinks highly of the No. 20 Washington Huskies, who the Sun Devils will take on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.
In fact, despite the fact that the Sun Devils just wrapped up a brutal four-game stretch that included the Big Ten champion, then-fifth-ranked Stanford and a Notre Dame team that played for a national championship last season, he thinks ASU’s toughest challenge is still yet to come.
“There’s not a team on our schedule that’s more talented than the team rolling in here Saturday,” Graham said Tuesday. “And we’ve played some really good football teams.”
Though the Sun Devils don’t play No. 2 Oregon this season, Washington features the nation’s leading rusher, a quarterback in Keith Price who seems to have finally found his stride, and a defense that’s been impressive in every game it has played despite giving up 45 points to the Ducks.
“We’ve played against some good ones, and I think that’s helped prepare us for conference play,” Graham said. “To this point, USC is the most talented team, physically, that we’ve played. No doubt. Up front, their line, linebackers … we think [Washington] is every bit as good as them up front.”
But Washington’s talent doesn’t end with its defensive front. Price has the luxury of throwing to a likely first-rounder in Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who ASU safety Alden Darby called the best tight end in the country. Price also has Bishop Sankey, the nation’s leading rusher, as his backfield-mate.
Still, despite its talent, Washington is coming off of back-to-back losses against Stanford and Oregon. Darby said he expects the Huskies to be hungry for a win after losing to the top two teams in the Pac-12 North.
“If we were to lose two tough games, we’re going to come back hungry,” Darby said. “I wouldn’t want to be the team to play us, because we’re going to do anything we can to win.
“They’re going to be mad. They’re going to play with a lot of anger.”