TEMPE, Ariz. — Another big victory, but it’s time to prepare for the next challenge.
That’s the feeling inside the Arizona State locker room these days coming off two consecutive victories over ranked opponents. Yet, they play in the Pac-12, so there’s no time to waste dwelling on the past.
This Saturday, the 14th-ranked Sun Devils travel to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies — a team they’ve beaten eight straight times dating back to 2002.
“The team we’re playing is a very good football team, a 5-2 team that has only lost to Oregon and Stanford. That’s the only two losses they have, and they’re a very well-coached team,” head coach Todd Graham said during his Monday press conference.
Graham believes this Washington team resembles Stanford in a lot of ways.
“We think it’s a very similar game to last week, as we’re playing another very explosive defensive team that has the ability to rush the passer,” Graham said.
“They’re probably the best we’ve played up to this point, as far as their ability to impact the quarterback and create explosive plays defensively.”
Statistically, he’s right on the money as the Huskies are second in the Pac-12 with 27 sacks, and first in the conference with a +12 turnover margin.
UW’s Hau’Oli Kikaha leads the nation with 1.79 sacks per game and teammate Danny Shelton is sixth, averaging 1.07 per contest.
Also at stake is the Sun Devils’ six-game road winning streak, something that hasn’t happened since the 1995-1996 seasons under former head coach Bruce Snyder. That 1996 team went to the Rose Bowl.
First-year Washington head coach Chris Petersen hasn’t faced ASU since the 2011 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas when he coached Boise State to a 56-24 blowout victory.
It was also during his time at Boise State where he and Graham used to study football and defensive schemes together in the offseason.
Graham mentioned Monday that when he used to coach at Tulsa, he and Petersen picked each other’s brains on different philosophies.
“Before we competed against each other, we used to exchange ideas and visit with each other.”
The losing head coach in Saturday’s game may have some regrets about that.
The game kicks off at 7:45 p.m. Saturday night from Husky Stadium and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, with pregame coverage starting at 5:30 p.m.