Arizona State takes on the Washington Huskies at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium. Here's what to look for:
This is another one of those tossup games that will make or break Arizona State’s season. The Sun Devils lost the first one, at home against Oregon State, and badly need a win over the Huskies to improve their chances at a bowl game. A victory moves Arizona State to 4-2 and within two games of bowl eligibility. A loss knocks the Sun Devils down to .500, with four straight games coming up (at Stanford, vs. California, vs. USC and at Oregon) in which they will likely be underdogs. The Arizona State pass rush ignited against Washington State with a school-record 12 sacks, but dominance was expected against an inferior offensive line. Quarterback Danny Sullivan struggled against the Cougars, throwing three interceptions. Backup Brock Osweiler saw playing time in the first half, but he only threw four passes, completing three. Wide receivers Kyle Williams and Chris McGaha have been solid of late, as has running back Dimitri Nance. But, as always, it could come down to the play of the quarterbacks. Sullivan needs to limit mistakes and make a few plays for ASU.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
• Jake Locker: The Washington quarterback should be one of the first signal-callers to be taken in the NFL draft come April, and he is a handful for any team trying to slow him down. Locker is a dual threat, throwing for 1,423 yards this season with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 199 yards on the ground. The Sun Devil defensive line will have to stay disciplined because players moving out of their lanes in the haste to sack Locker could give him an avenue to run. Arizona State matches up favorably in many of the other spots on the field, but Locker is a true difference-maker and a huge advantage for the Huskies.
• The ASU kickers: Thomas Weber has been kicking field goals in practice and could be in line for an early return from a groin injury. Backup Bobby Wenzig missed a pair of extra points against Washington State, one fewer than Weber has missed in his three-year career with the Sun Devils. If Weber returns in any capacity, it is a boost for an Arizona State team that needs all the points it can get.
• Brock Osweiler: He got his first meaningful chance under center against Washington State. While coach Dennis Erickson won’t commit to a specific amount of playing time, if Osweiler continues to improve, he might begin to start stealing some playing time from Sullivan. A platoon might be something that lingers for a while, but both quarterbacks know the pressure is on to perform.