The road has not been kind to Arizona State, which has lost eight straight conference games away from Sun Devil Stadium dating back to 2015. The Sun Devils look to end the streak Saturday against Stanford, which boasts the nation’s leading rusher in 5-foot-10, 196-pound junior Bryce Love, a dynamic big-play back averaging 196 yards per game.
Love was named Pac-12 offensive player of the week after rushing for a career-high 263 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday’s 58-34 win over UCLA while Arizona State snapped a 10-game losing streak to Oregon with a 37-35 victory. If the Sun Devils are going to build on their surprising win over the Ducks, they’ll need to slow down Love, whose 787 rushing yards through four games are the second-most by a FBS player in his team’s first four games in the last decade. “He’s as good a back as you’re going to play against,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham told reporters. “You better not think somebody else has got him tackled because this guy is really, really good. If he breaks, he’s got big-time speed.” Stanford’s biggest question mark is at quarterback, where sophomore K.J. Costello could make his first career start after starter Keller Chryst left last week’s win over the Bruins with an undisclosed injury.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Stanford -15
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12): The Sun Devils were 1-8 in their last nine games before last Saturday, when they played hard for embattled coach Todd Graham and held the high-powered Ducks to a season-low 401 yards. Quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 347 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores while wide receiver N‘Keal Harry caught seven passes for a career-best 170 yards and a score to lead the Sun Devils, who are the only team in the country to have five players post 100-yard receiving games. The improving defense features several playmakers, including defensive end A.J. Latu and linebacker Christian Sam, who had a team-high 11 tackles against Oregon.
ABOUT STANFORD (2-2, 1-1): Costello impressed off the bench in last Saturday’s win over UCLA by throwing for two touchdowns and running for another, while the defense bounced back from losses to USC and San Diego State by forcing four turnovers. Running back Cameron Scarlett had three touchdowns against the Bruins and has proven to be a perfect complement to Love and the Cardinal running game, which ranks 16th nationally at 259 yards per game. Harrison Phillips has 32 tackles to lead the defense, which has struggled against the run and will need to contain Arizona State’s duo of Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage.
1. Stanford has won four of the last five games in the series.
2. Arizona State is 34-12 when scoring first under Graham.
3. Stanford leads the nation with seven plays from scrimmage covering 50 or more yards.
PREDICTION: Stanford 27, Arizona State 17