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A game which could have big implications in the PAC 12 here as the Arizona State Sun Devils host the Washington State Cougars. These teams haven't played each other since 2016, when Washington State won 37-32. Oddsmakers have the Sun Devils as about a field-goal favorite for this one, which will be televised on the PAC 12 Network.
Washington State went 3-0 relatively easily in non-conference play, and it looked like Mike Leach was building something special in Pullman yet again. Then they collapsed in their first conference game and blew a massive lead to UCLA late. They were shellshocked from that loss and followed it up with an ugly defeat at the hands of Utah. They desperately need to get things turned around with a win here.
Arizona State has been having even more success in the second year of the Herm Edwards era. Edwards has led the team to an impressive 4-1 record, and they now sit at #18 in the most recent AP poll. After beating #15 Cal in a Friday night showdown two weeks ago, they had a bye week to give them some extra time to prepare for this pivotal game.
Wazzu Taking Step Back?Mike Leach has done an incredible job building a consistent winner in Pullman. He's managed to pull off some magic with several different quarterbacks, but it appears that magic could finally be running out. After three straight wins to start the season against weaker teams, they've now dropped back to back games. Their first loss came to UCLA, in one of the most epic collapses you'll ever see. They weren't able to shake off that loss, as they then fell to Utah in their next game. They didn't just lose, they lost it badly, as the Utes dismantled them by 25 points. Anthony Gordon looked pretty good to start the year against weak defenses, but he averaged a pitiful 5.1 yards per attempt against Utah and threw two interceptions.
Washington State had to replace defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who decided to resign.
“I don’t know what led to his decision because he was very vague about it,” Leach told The Spokesman-Review. “My speculation is he just got burned out.
“It caught us all by surprise.”
That was the first time all season he had to play a real defense, which isn't a good sign moving forward. Perhaps there's a reason he had to go to junior college at first and wasn't a candidate to start last year. As per usual, the Cougars have a pretty weak defense. The secondary doesn't have much talent, and they're giving up 8.86 yards per pass attempt. They gave up 67 points to UCLA, a team that just lost at home to Oregon State. Washington State relies so much on their passing game, that if it isn't working they don't stand a chance. Unfortunately for them they're playing a stingy Arizona State pass defense that only allows 6.57 yards per attempt.
Edwards On TopA lot of people mocked Arizona State when they brought Herm Edwards out of retirement to be their head coach, but they aren't laughing now. Edwards has not only been a great recruiter, but he's also defied everyone's expectations on the field. Arizona State is competing for a PAC 12 title this year and they enter this one at 4-1, with their only loss coming by three points to Colorado. In a huge game for the program, they beat Michigan State on the road with a freshman quarterback. Jayden Daniels, taking over for Manny Wilkins, certainly doesn't look like a freshman with his poise. He's averaging a robust 8.9 yards per attempt this season, and he's only thrown one interception all year.
Jayden Daniels is putting this team on his back pic.twitter.com/CLWbMBkSy2— Barstool Pac 12 (@PAC12Barstool) September 14, 2019
He's also a threat with his legs and is the team's second-leading rusher, and I think he'll be able to run on these weak Wazzu linebackers here. The real story of this Sun Devils team is their defense though. In three of their five games, they've limited opponents to only seven points. The only game the defense wasn't rock-solid was against Colorado, and I've been very impressed overall. The secondary has been very stingy so far this season, so they should have more success than most slowing down this Washington State Air Raid offense. The Sun Devils don't want to put too much pressure on Daniels, so establishing the run is key. If they can have some success on the ground, they'll be in for a big day.
Sun Devils are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. Washington State
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Getting ASU at nearly even here is a steal. This Washington State team clearly isn't as good as in years past, and they've lost back to back games in ugly fashion. Gordon struggled mightily in their most recent game, and threw two interceptions while averaging only 5.1 yards per attempt. That's hard to do in an Air Raid offense. ASU has already won multiple tough games against the likes of Michigan Sate and Cal, and Daniels has a lot of grit for a freshman. Wazzu is getting too much credit because of their brand name here.
Prediction: Arizona State -1
Full-Game Total Pick
It's hard not to take the over in a game involving Washington State right now. Their defense is so bad, they allowed UCLA to score 67 points. It's so bad they just gave up 38 to Utah, and Utah is a very run-heavy slow team. Daniels is already averaging 8.9 yards per attempt, and I think he'll have a lot of success. ASU's defense isn't quite as good as it seems, as they've played a very weak schedule of opposing offenses so far.