(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
After losing its final home game to No. 11 Utah 49-26, Arizona State now embarks on its final two games with plenty of uncertainty and the prospect of ending the season on a six-game losing streak a very real possibility.
On the docket this weekend is a No. 7 Washington Husky team with a 9-1 record on the year.
ASU head coach Todd Graham mentioned how the upcoming matchup will be a challenge in his Monday press conference. Graham noted that the Huskies are a tough team to contend with and said they are “probably the best team in our league.”
In regards to what the Huskies excel at, Graham singled out their explosiveness on both sides of the ball.
“[John] Ross is probably the best player, the most dynamic player in our league,” Graham said. “They’re really physical defensively against the run.”
Washington junior wide receiver John Ross ranks second in the Pac-12 in receiving, averaging 89.6 yards per game. As a team, Washington ranks first in scoring offense with 448 points on the season, and is averaging 44.8 points per game.
Upon reviewing the film from his team’s loss to Utah, Graham said he felt the run defense of the Sun Devils held steady in the first half. In contrast, Graham expressed disappointment in regards to the overall defensive effort.
In total, Utah had four touchdown drives that were executed in fewer than five plays.
“Our plan was to keep it in front and inside,” Graham said. “We didn’t do that on two occasions. We gave up two touchdowns there and gave up two long touchdown runs. That’s been the big deal and it’s just frustrating.”
Although plenty of shortcomings were apparent, there were also some positive glimpses for ASU. Graham heaped praise on freshman wide receiver N’Keal Harry once again for the effort he brought and his rapid development into a dangerous weapon.
Harry collected eight receptions for 114 yards, a rushing touchdown and even a completed pass off a trick play.
“He’s a guy that has a lot more tools that we can use,” Graham said. “N’Keal’s the guy and we’ve been really proud of him and how he’s improved. His fundamentals of the game as well as his physicality.”