The Washington Huskies are coming off a significant 21-7 road win against the Utah Utes last Saturday in Salt Lake City.
With the Huskies winning in a hostile environment at Utah, it gave them a ton of confidence and momentum heading into this weekend’s contest against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
“It definitely builds momentum, I think that’s one of the things we came out with is just building some confidence going into a hostile environment. Obviously, you know, playing our first game in a hostile environment we were already prepared for it, but to go into the first conference game like that and come away with a “W” is huge.” Defensive backs coach Will Harris said earlier this week.
The Huskies return back to the comforts of Husky Stadium this Saturday when they face off against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
In regards to the teams vibe, they are excited to play in front of Husky Nation and continue to build upon their momentum.
The Arizona State Sun Devils roll into town with a new look and different era of football under first year head coach Herm Edwards.
Last year, the Huskies suffered a demoralizing 13-7 loss down in the desert which proved to be their undoing in their quest to win the Pac-12 Championship.
Make no mistake, the Huskies still have that game on their minds, and are excited at the opportunity to avenge that loss come Saturday night.
Here are some keys to the game that the Huskies must do in order to put themselves in a good position to win this game…..
Come Out With A “Killer Instinct”
When looking at the Huskies first few games so far, one thing has been missing from their makeup has been a “killer instinct”. With all the preseason hype and expectations that have been bestowed upon them as a top-ten team, the ability to demolish an opposing team has eluded them. They need to come out and impose their will on an opponent and show them that they don’t belong on the same field as them. This weekend, they have the perfect opportunity to do that against the Sun Devils. Elite teams have a sense of urgency where stepping on somebody’s throat and not letting up is the norm. This weekend, the Huskies must make a statement and put the rest of the conference and nation on notice!
Limit The Amount Of Explosive Plays
Against the Sun Devils, you are dealing with a dual threat quarterback, and a receiving corps that can make some spectacular plays. The Husky defense is very elite and will be up to the challenge of keeping the talented Arizona State offense in check. One way that the Sun Devils can continue to stay in the game and keep it close is by explosive plays. The Sun Devils have one of the most prolific wide receivers in the entire country in N’Keal Harry. The dude can flat-out play and the Huskies will have to limit his explosive play ability throughout the course of the game. If Arizona State can gain big chunks of yards on single plays, then things could get interesting.
Keep Quarterback Manny Wilkins Inside The Pocket
Facing a dual threat quarterback can be one of the toughest things for a defense to try and contain. Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins is very talented because he can beat you with legs and his arm. The nice thing for the Huskies is that they just had some preparation for him. Last week, the Huskies faced off against a similar type of quarterback in Utah’s Tyler Huntley. The game plan for this week will be the same with trying to keep Wilkins inside of the pocket. Defensively, the Huskies will need to keep outside leverage and not let him break contain and run free. They will deploy a spy and constantly keep Wilkins in their sights so he doesn’t break off massive runs.
Control The Time Of Possession
In a game like this against an opposing team like the Sun Devils, controlling the time of possession is important for so many reasons. Limiting the amount of possessions for an offense that has big playmaking ability with Wilkins and Harry is crucial. By establishing a consistent running game early and often, it will allow the Huskies to methodically wear down that Sun Devils defense. Implementing a “ground and pound” attack will keep the Sun Devils offense off the field which will keep the Husky defense fresh for the fourth quarter of the game. Last year, the Husky defense was gassed at the end of the game, and controlling the ball in this game will prove to be vital.
The Offensive Line Must Become Nasty
Heading into the season, one of the biggest strengths of the team was the offensive line. With the departure of Trey Adams at left tackle, the coaches have struggled to find the right combination to offset his absence. In order to facilitate a successful running game and control the time of possession, the offensive line has to play nasty! Up until this point in the season, the offensive line has yet to push people off the ball on a consistent basis. It is time for them to have a dominant performance and just manhandle that Arizona State defensive front. The game of football is won and lost in the trenches and everyone is waiting for the Huskies offensive line to dominate an entire game like they should!