Washington State and Arizona State are both coming off competitive losses last week on the road against two of the Pac-12’s best teams, Oregon and Washington, respectively.
The struggling teams will meet on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.
The Cougars (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) fell 38-24 to the then-No. 9 Ducks after trailing by only a touchdown until 3:56 remained in the third quarter.
The Sun Devils (1-6, 0-4) took the No. 5 Huskies down to the final minutes before succumbing 15-7.
Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham’s program remains competitive despite being on a one-year, self-imposed bowl ban for alleged recruiting violations under previous coach Herm Edwards.
“We’re building the right culture here,” Dillingham said. “We can see how close we are in year one, through all of this, all the banged up, all the negative, we’re this close.”
Washington State and Arizona State have significant injury issues with linemen.
The Sun Devils are so thin on the offensive line, especially with their field-goal unit, that Dillingham put out a call to students to possibly join the team.
“I don’t know if there are big bodies at ASU who just go there that want to play (special teams) for us,” Dillingham said. “If you weigh 330 pounds, and I mean it, reach out to our team.”
The lack of healthy offensive linemen forced Dillingham to try a passing play on fourth-and-3 at the Washington 12-yard line instead of kicking a field goal to lengthen a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter.
The ensuing play was an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown that put Washington ahead 12-7 with 8:11 to go.
Washington State will be without starting edge rushers Quinn Roff and Raam Stevenson for the Saturday game.
Cougars coach Jake Dickert said Roff is out after experiencing a “medical emergency” and that Stevenson is “nicked up.”
Dickert is leery of defending 5-foot-10, 225-pound Arizona State running back Cam Skattebo, who has rushed for 413 yards and six touchdowns on 104 carries.
“Skattebo is as physical as it gets — downhill,” Dickert said. “They’re physical, downhill, run behind their pads, and he’s getting everything extra, and you’re not going to bring them down just with one guy.”