Relief is right around the corner.
For one more week, however, the Huskies will again try to right their ship against one of the nation’s most explosive offenses.
Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) carries a two-game losing streak into Saturday’s pivotal matchup against Arizona State (4-2, 2-1) at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., where UW hasn’t won in 12 years. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. for a Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
After ASU, the Huskies return home to host California (Oct. 26) and Colorado (Nov. 9), with a bye in between. The Bears and Buffaloes are a combined 0-6 in Pac-12 play.
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“The schedule that we had is tough,” senior quarterback Keith Price said after UW’s 45-24 loss to No. 2 Oregon at Husky Stadium on Saturday. “We understood that all through the offseason. We prepared for this moment. … We understand that we have Arizona State, another excellent football team, ahead, so we’re going to do our best to prepare (for) them.”
The Huskies dropped four spots to No. 20 in The Associated Press poll Sunday.
The UW defense allowed 631 yards to the Ducks, giving up 24 plays of 10 yards or more and eight plays of 20 yards or more. The Huskies came into the game as the best in the nation in defending such plays, having allowed just 10 plays of 20 yards or more in their first five games.
Those big plays helped the Ducks score on their first four possessions of the second half to pull away from the Huskies in the fourth quarter.
“That’s as explosive an offense as you’ll see,” UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 366 yards, ran for 88 more and had four touchdowns against the Huskies.
“I don’t have a Heisman vote,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said, “but I’d be hard pressed to say we’ll see a better quarterback this year. That guy is special. I don’t know when he is planning on going to the NFL, but when he does I think he’ll be a top-five draft pick.”
ASU runs a similar ultra-tempo offense as Oregon, and the Sun Devils rank fifth in the country with 46 “explosion” plays of 20 yards or more this season.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly is third in the Pac-12 with an average of 327 yards passing per game, with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Taylor is also a capable runner, with five carries for 36 yards and one rushing touchdown in the Sun Devils’ 54-13 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
ASU running back Marion Grice leads the nation with 15 touchdowns.
UW counters with Bishop Sankey, who again leads the nation in rushing at 149.8 yards per game after his 167-yard, two-touchdown effort against Oregon.
The Huskies, presumably, will need to roll with him even more Saturday if they hope to turn that corner.
“It’s really important,” Sankey said of the ASU game. “Coach Sark has preached ‘the next game,’ and each and every game is the most important one on our schedule as far as we’re concerned. We’re just going to go back to the drawing board and fix the things that we need to work on and get ready for Arizona State.”
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @a_jude.