ASU football prepares for QB test against Washington State’s one-dimensional offense
TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils officially have their backs against the wall when it comes to bowling eligibility.
At 3-6 (2-4 in the Pac-12), ASU must win against Washington State (5-4, 2-4), Oregon State and Arizona to to be able to play in the playoffs.
The first battle unfolds in a cold road test in Pullman against a rather one-dimensional Cougars offense, which relies heavily on quarterback Cameron Ward’s arm as WSU has the fourth-fewest total run attempts. in the country.
“Here we go again, another quarterback,” ASU defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said Monday.
Ward transferred to Washington State this offseason from FCS Incarnate Word School in San Antonio, joining his former head coach Eric Morris after trading his place in charge of the program for the position of offensive coordinator and coach. quarters at Pullman.
The QB takes over from former Cougars caller Jayden de Laura, who transferred his dual threat talents to join the Arizona Wildcats.
“They’re almost similar but they do some things differently than they did last year,” Henderson said. “They’ll be in (four wide receivers) a lot of times, get out of the way, throw the ball.”
In nine career appearances at the FBS level, Ward is averaging 262.2 yards per game while completing 64% of his passes. That’s largely because the Cougars have the 16th most pass attempts in the nation with 342 while tied for 26th with 20 passing touchdowns.
Meanwhile, WSU’s 107.9 rushing yards per game ranks 114th in the nation, with the team’s top rusher, Nakia Watson, averaging 70.1 per game. Luckily for Henderson and Co., they won’t have to worry too much about Ward’s legs, as he’s only rushed for 34 yards on 67 attempts for an average of 0.5 per carry and 3 .8 per game this season.
“That’s what they do, they throw the ball,” Henderson said. “So having and putting a game plan in place now and some of the things we’re looking at are trying to make sure that we don’t give the same looks in the secondary and we dress up a bit more. I think those things come into play a lot when you have those quarterbacks that can throw the ball.
The weather is also not looking as bad as it could be for desert dwellers traveling to the Pacific Northwest, as forecasts call for sunny skies, 5 mph winds and highs of 37. degrees.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.