Saturday’s area college football games
Southern Utah at EWU
Kickoff: 5 p.m. at Roos Field in Cheney
Records: EWU (4-2 overall, 2-0 Big Sky), Southern Utah (5-2, 2-1)
TV/Radio: SWX/700-AM ESPN
Outlook: One thing for sure: Southern Utah doesn’t beat itself. A conservative offense, hard-hitting defense and a big turnover margin have the Thunderbirds in contention for the postseason. T-birds quarterback Aaron Cantu (137 for 208, 8TDs and 8 INTs) throws short, safe routes, and his two RBs are averaging about 4 yards per carry. The Southern Utah defense ranks second in the Big Sky in scoring defense (19.1 ppg) and rushing yards (115.1 ypg). “They know what they’re about,” said Eastern coach Beau Baldwin, who’s getting more from his own defense and running game lately. A key may come in the red zone, where Eastern has scored on 20 of 21 chances, while the T-bird defense has given up just 15 scores in 22 drives by opponents. Eastern QB Vernon Adams has 21 TD passes, five INTs – good enough for a national-best pass-efficiency rating of 118.3.
UW at Arizona State
Kickoff: 6 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Records: (20) Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12), Arizona St. (4-2, 2-1), 6 p.m.
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network/590-AM
Outlook: A critical game for two teams hoping to stay in the Pac-12 division races. Washington had a brutal opening to the conference schedule, following a win over Arizona with losses to then-No. 5 Stanford and No. 2 Oregon. They’re already two games behind the Ducks and Oregon State in the North Division and can’t afford another loss. Arizona State is a half-game behind UCLA in the South with more tough games coming up.
Arizona State has won seven straight in the series. … Keith Price has 7,529 career passing yards, 110 behind the No. 2 spot on Washington’s all-time list. … Arizona State is 4-0 at home with three games left. The Sun Devils have gone undefeated at home once (2004) over the past 16 seasons. … Washington had a losing streak of at least three games in each of coach Steve Sarkisian’s first four seasons. … Sun Devils RB Marion Grice leads the nation with 15 points per game and has scored 15 TDs.
Linfield at Whitworth
Kickoff: 1 p.m., at the Pine Bowl.
Records: Whitworth (2-4, 0-2), Linfield, (4-0, 1-0)
Outlook: The Pirates play the role of spoiler as Northwest Conference powerhouse Linfield invades the Pine Bowl. Making the task even more daunting, it appears the Pirates will be without starting quarterback Bryan Peterson as they face a defense that is giving up an average of 8.8 points per game. Coach John Tully is expected to make a game-time decision on Peterson’s shoulder. If he can’t go, look for freshman quarterback Ian Kolste to get his first start. The 6-foot-3, 181-pounder from Oak Harbor came on in relief of Peterson in the 50-21 drubbing last Friday at No. 22 Williamette. Former Gonzaga Prep star Griffin Hare, a freshman, also got an expanded role last week, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Most of the ground attack will again fall on the shoulders of senior running back D.J. Tripoli, who has run for 495 yards and six touchdowns.