HUSKIES’ OPPONENT THIS WEEK
UTAH UTES (7-1 overall, 4-1 Pac-12)
4:30 P.M. SATURDAY, HUSKY STADIUM, CH. 13, 1000-AM/97.7-FM
COACH: Kyle Whittingham (91-44 in 11th season at Utah and overall)
AGAINST THE HUSKIES: Washington leads the all-time series 8-0.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Pac-12’s final undefeated team this season was Utah, which began the year with six consecutive victories and climbed to No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll before suffering its first loss, a 42-24 drubbing at USC on Oct. 24. The Utes rebounded with a 27-12 victory over lowly Oregon State last weekend, and still control the Pac-12 South race. … Utah’s defense sets the tone by being stout against the run, allowing just 3.47 yards per carry, a figure that leads the Pac-12. In conference games only, the Utes rank second in scoring defense at 21.4 points per game, trailing only Washington. … Utah linebacker Gionni Paul has been particularly productive, ranking 27th nationally with 75 total tackles in eight games. … The Utes’ offense is serviceable, but it doesn’t exactly incite fear. They average 5.61 yards per play (tied for 76th in the nation), and are led by star tailback Devontae Booker, who has rushed for 966 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He leads the league in rush attempts with 200, and is the focal point of Utah’s offense. … Quarterback Travis Wilson ranks third in the conference in completion percentage (68.9), fifth in pass efficiency rating (142.3) and sixth in yards per attempt (7.5). His top receiving target is Britain Covey, who has 32 catches for 381 yards and four touchdowns. Kenneth Scott, with 27 receptions, 348 yards and two touchdowns, isn’t far behind. … The Huskies are currently a 1 1/2-point favorite. … Washington has never lost to Utah, and is 2-0 against the Utes since they joined the Pac-12 in 2011. The teams haven’t played since 2012, when UW took a 34-15 victory at CenturyLink Field.
DID YOU KNOW? Former Huskies quarterback Troy Williams, who transferred from UW following the 2014 season, has committed to play for Utah next season. Williams is currently a third-year sophomore at Santa Monica College.
Utah’s 2015 schedule
Sept. 3: W, 24-17, vs. Michigan
Sept. 11: W, 24-14, vs. Utah State
Sept. 19: W, 45-24, at Fresno State
Sept. 26: W, 62-20, at Oregon
Oct. 10: W, 30-24, vs. California
Oct. 17: W, 34-18, vs. Arizona State
Oct. 24: L, 42-24, at USC
Oct. 31: W, 27-12, vs. Oregon State
Nov. 7: at Washington
Nov. 14: at Arizona
Nov. 21: vs. UCLA
Nov. 28: vs. Colorado
COUGARS’ OPPONENT THIS WEEK
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (4-4 overall, 2-3 Pac-12)
12:30 P.M. SATURDAY, MARTIN STADIUM, FOX Sports 1, 710-AM
COACH: Todd Graham (32-16 in fourth season at ASU; 81-45 in 10th season overall)
AGAINST THE COUGARS: ASU leads the all-time series 26-13-2.
SCOUTING REPORT: Todd Graham described the Sun Devils before the season as the most talented team he’s had in his four years at ASU, but they haven’t looked it. After winning 10 games in 2014, ASU has beaten just one FBS opponent with a winning record this year, and is already essentially out of the Pac-12 South race. … ASU ranks 60th nationally in offensive yards per play with 5.69, and ranks 52nd in scoring offense with 32.4 points per game — relatively modest numbers for Graham’s fast-paced offense. Senior quarterback Mike Bercovici completes only 58.9 percent of his passes and averages only 6.9 yards per attempt, which ranks ninth in the conference. … Demario Richard leads the Sun Devils in rushing with 664 yards on 120 carries. Kalen Ballage also will see time in the backfield, and he has 310 yards rushing on 65 attempts this season. … D.J. Foster, Devin Lucien and Tim White headline ASU’s receiving corps. The trio has combined to catch 100 passes for 1,180 yards this year. … ASU hasn’t been great defensively, allowing a mediocre 5.52 yards per play overall and 31.5 points per game against Pac-12 teams, which ranks 10th in the league. … The Sun Devils lost a heartbreaking, 61-55 triple-overtime game to Oregon last week after Bercovici threw an interception on a slant pass at the goal line. … WSU hasn’t beaten ASU since 2011, when quarterback Connor Halliday set a Pac-12 freshman record by throwing for 494 yards (and four touchdowns) in a 37-27 win in Pullman.
DID YOU KNOW? ASU’s only player from Washington is Sammamish native Jordan Simone, a starting senior safety who began his career as a walk-on at WSU.
Arizona State’s 2015 schedule
Sept. 5: L, 38-17, at Texas A&M
Sept. 12: W, 35-21, vs. Cal Poly
Sept. 18: W, 34-10, vs. New Mexico
Sept. 26: L, 42-14, vs. USC
Oct. 3: W, 38-23, at UCLA
Oct. 10: W, 48-23, vs. Colorado
Oct. 17: L, 34-18, at Utah
Oct. 29: L, 61-55 (3OT), vs. Oregon
Nov. 7: at Washington State
Nov. 14: vs. Washington
Nov. 21: vs. Arizona
Nov. 28: at California
Christian Caple, staff writer