ASU’s offensive line ‘has hands full’ vs. Washington’s defensive front
The Arizona State Sun Devils offensive line will be the deciding factor if ASU wants to pull off the upset over the No. 21 Washington Huskies on Saturday afternoon.
Washington comes into Tempe with one of the better front sevens in the country and the defensive line is the catalyst of the Huskies’ defensive unit.
“They have some big ol’ guys up front,” offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas told reporters on Wednesday. “They really anchor in there and support the run game, do a good job that way. The offensive line has their hands full with those guys up front.
“They have two defensive ends that are really big, stout, athletic, long that bring some problems not only in the pass game but the run game,” he added. “So we’ve tried to explore in pass protection and the run game, how can we minimize that effect and create some production.”
Those two defensive ends are senior Jeremiah Martin and sophomore Bralen Trice, the latter of whom graduated from Phoenix’s Sandra Day O’Conner High School.
Trice leads Washington with 4.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss, while Martin is tied for second in sacks (3.0) and third in TFLs (3.5).
The Huskies also have a total of 16 sacks this season, which ranks tied for the 13th-most in the country for an average of 3.2 a game.
“They’ll change some personnel groupings a little bit here and there,” Thomas said. “They have a couple of linebackers who are pretty athletic who can run and match up with the running backs pretty well. I think they bring a lot of problems to the table. We’re going to have to play well.”
Washington has the 44th-best total defense in the nation at 341.4 yards allowed per game and ranks 57th in scoring defense, allowing 23.2 points per contest.
The Huskies also boast the country’s No. 31 run defense at 108 yards conceded per ball game to go along with seven takeaways in five games via five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
In the secondary, Washington likes to play a lot of cover one and cover four, which should allow for opportunities in the passing game along the outsides and underneath — if ASU quarterback Emory Jones is able to get the ball out cleanly.
“We’re going to have to get a lot of beaters for that,” tight end Jalin Conyers told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re excited, I think we have a big opportunity in front of us with the obvious situation we have going on and the two teams we played last, it’s another big game — that’s three in a row. We want to go out and get one for everybody.”
And despite ASU going 2-2 against Washington since 2016, the Sun Devils are 12-2 against the Huskies since 2002, with the last loss at Sun Devil Stadium coming in 2001.