One of Arizona State’s marquee wins under Herm Edwards came against the Washington Huskies in 2021. It was cold. It was rainy. Both teams combined for 261 passing yards on the day.
But Rachaad White literally carried the Sun Devils to victory with 186 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona State broke down the Huskies on a 20-play drive that helped seal the victory. The next day, Husky head coach Jimmy Lake, who was suspended for this game, was fired.
In many ways, the 2021 bout is the “upside down” version of this year’s matchup. Saturday’s forecast in Tempe calls for 88 degrees and sunny skies. Shaun Aguano will lead the Sun Devils in his third game as interim head coach after Herm Edwards and ASU mutually parted ways after Week 3. Meanwhile, first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer has the Huskies ranked and boasting a 4-1 record.
Many key players from last year’s matchup are gone as well, including White, who just scored his first NFL touchdown with Tampa Bay on Sunday, Jayden Daniels and both head coaches. Michael Penix Jr. is now starting for Washington at quarterback, while Dylan Morris and Sam Huard – who both appeared in the game last year – are backing him up.
But for as different as this year’s matchup will be, offensive line captain LaDarius Henderson still looks back on last year’s win – one of his favorites in his time in Tempe – when preparing for Saturday’s game in Tempe.
“We were able to get the job done last year, and now I feel like – even though we don’t have the same personnel up front – we have some strengths in some areas that we didn’t have last year that we are trying to work through and make click. That’s something that I’m optimistic about.”
Henderson pointed to the athleticism up front as a strength of this year’s line. Pair that with Aguano’s more aggressive approach and attention to the little things, and the captain is hopeful the offense will continue to evolve.
“I feel like Coach Aguano has been harping on the details a lot,” Henderson said. “That’s really helped us out. I feel like a lot of people can fall short off of details. With having Coach Aguano, we’ve been able to do that a little bit better – still not to the point that we want to be, but it’s been a progressive climb.”
The climb was evident in the first half of the USC game, where you could argue it was the strongest 30 minutes of football ASU had played thus far this season.
Now, the Sun Devils look to keep pace with Washington’s conference-leading offense and a Husky defense that is giving up the third-fewest yards per game in 2022.
While the weather conditions and status of each program are far different from where they were the last time these two squared off, expect the ASU run game to be just as present as last year.