Gary Doran

Advanced Stats 12-Pack: ASU vs Washington


The Sun Devils travel to the Emerald City for their next to the last game of the season still looking to get bowl eligible. ASU has won the last five contests played in Seattle. In fact, the last time ASU lost in Seattle was in 1997 when The English Patient won the Oscar for Best Picture.  So far, coach Todd Graham is a perfect 3-0 against the Huskies, winning two games in Tempe and one in Seattle.

Let’s see what the stats tell us about the Huskies:










1. Washington leads the conference in turnover margin at +15, while ASU is tied for tenth at negative three.
2. The Huskie offense is tied for second in the conference in the number of runs that go for ten yards or more, while the ASU defense is fourth best in the conference in limiting runs of ten yards or more.
3. Washington leads the conference in the average yards per carry, whereas the ASU defense is fifth in the conference in limiting the average yards per carry
4. Washington leads the conference with the highest yards per pass attempt, and the ASU defense is dead last.
5. The Washington offense has the most touchdown pass receptions in the conference, while the ASU defense has given up the most.
6. In the fourth quarter, the Washington offense is last in the conference in the percentage of completions they have made, while the ASU defense is seventh in the percentage of completions they allow in the fourth quarter.
7. The two leading rushers for the Huskies combined have averaged almost seven yards per carry this season.
8. The Washington defense has gotten more interceptions this season than touchdown passes they have allowed.
9. In the first seven games this season, Washington won the turnover battle in every game, whereas in the last three games, they have only won it once.
10. Eight of the twelve interception the Huskie defense has gotten came when they were ahead by more than two touchdowns
11. The 17 rushing yards gained by Washington last weekend against USC was the lowest since they lost negative five yards in 2013 against ASU
12. This season, the Washington Huskies have averaged scoring 55 points per game against four North Division foes, while they have only averaged only 26 points per game against three South Division foes.

Decoding the Stats

From a statistical standpoint, the numbers are not on the side of the Devils playing the Huskies in Seattle, or anywhere else for that matter.  ASU is facing a team that averages almost six yards per carry in conference play against their own defense which allows over five yards a carry in games on the road. Also, if you take out the Washington State game, ASU has averaged giving up over 250 yards per game on the ground to the last three opponents; Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Those stats represent an area of the ASU defense that is a supposed strength.

For the ASU offense, only five of their 26 rushing touchdowns have come on the road. Also, the Huskie defense has only allowed five rushing touchdowns in their six home games this season. The Huskies also have only allowed an average of 2.65 yards per carry when playing at home, which ranks second in the conference while the Devils average 3.23 in road games this season, ranking them tenth in the conference.

Let’s talk the passing game, the ASU defense has allowed 71.3-percent of the passes against them in the last four games to be completed, while giving up eleven touchdown receptions with no interceptions. As for the Huskies in their last four games, they have thrown 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions while averaging 290 through the air. You’re not going to win many games when your defense allows almost three out of every four passes to be completed, while at the same time not getting any takeaways.

From a turnover margin standpoint, it is somewhat surprising that ASU, (12) and Washington, (14) are close in the number of takeaway each has gotten in conference play. The big difference in the overall turnover margins have been that ASU has lost the ball twelve times in conference games, while the Huskies have only lost the ball six times, with five of them coming in the last four games. For the Devils, four of their twelve conference takeaways happened in the UCLA game, meaning that they only have eight takeaways in their other seven conference games. Additionally, ASU has all of its interceptions against three opponents this year. That means they have faced 260 pass attempts against seven other teams this year without getting one interception.

Certainly on paper or a computer screen, this game appears to be a mismatch, however, that’s why they play the game. The stats  seem to point that in order for ASU to win in Seattle, several season trends to date would have to change significantly for both teams.  That could happen, but the probability is very low. Does this mean that the Huskies will finally beat the Devils in Seattle this Century? The stats say it’s looking pretty good for the Dawgs.

Sources:, &

About Gary Doran

Gary Doran

Gary graduated from ASU many years ago. After careers working in banking, finance and the financial administration of academic research funding, he is now interested in utilizing his passion for numbers towards two things he thoroughly loves; Arizona State University and college football. He is looking forward to finding the “stories” buried within the numbers on a football stat sheet. He has gone to ASU football games all the way back to the days of Frank Kush and the WAC. He has been married to an amazing ASU graduate for almost forty years, and they currently live in Ventura, CA. Although this may disqualify him from talking football, he and his wife enjoy the practice of yoga and dancing the Argentine Tango. Ole!

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