First look: ASU at WSU
When/Where: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Martin Stadium, Pullman
Records: WSU (4-4, 2-3 in Pac-12); No. 25 ASU (5-2, 3-1 in Pac-12)
Last time: Arizona State defeated Washington State 46-7 in Tempe (2012)
The line: ASU by 12.5
What it means for WSU: The Cougars have lost their last two games by a combined score of 114-62. While their opponents in those games certainly weren’t pushovers, neither is Arizona State. The Cougars need to show that they can be competitive with the “good” teams in the conference. Additionally, WSU needs two more wins to go bowling, and will have a shot at a win with what should be a raucous Halloween crowd.
What it means for ASU: For the second straight year the Sun Devils can qualify for a bowl game with a win over WSU. They can also give themselves a cushion against UCLA (5-2, 2-2) in the race to win the Pac-12 South. ASU has a lot of momentum coming off a 53-24 thrashing of No. 20 Washington but still isn’t getting much national attention. The Sun Devils will need to keep winning to steadily improve their No. 25 ranking, and can’t afford a slipup against the Cougars.
Key matchup: Taylor Kelly vs. Daquawn Brown
Cornerback Daquawn Brown turned down an offer from ASU to play for the Cougars, and he’ll be an integral part of the effort to stop the Sun Devils on Thursday. The freshman has quickly rounded into quite the player for WSU, and has looked dominant in practice. He’ll need to translate that success to the field for the Cougars to have a chance against ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly, who completed 20 of 23 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns against the Cougars a season ago.