Sun Devils use strong defense to stun No. 5 Huskies 13-7
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The desert air is not kind to the Washington Huskies.
Manny Wilkins completed 29 of 41 passes for 245 yards, Arizona State’s defense smothered Washington most of the game and the Sun Devils stunned the No. 5 Huskies 13-7 on Saturday night.
It was the highest-ranked team the Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) have beaten since they defeated then-No. 1 Nebraska on Sept. 21, 1996.
“A monumental win for our program,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said, “and we’re not surprised.”
Washington (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) lost at Arizona State for the seventh straight time and hasn’t won in Tempe since 2001.
“We expected to win this game,” Arizona State defensive back J’Marcus Rhodes said. “It’s not a shock to us. This game is what’s going to turn the ship around. We dominated them tonight.”
The Huskies were the fourth top-10 team to lose this weekend, joining No. 2 Clemson, No. 8 Washington State and No. 10 Auburn.
“A tough day at the office,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said. “We could not get any rhythm going whatsoever and when we did we get a penalty and couldn’t capitalize in the red zone.”
“One of the more frustrating nights we have had in a long time on offense.”
The Sun Devils had allowed at least 30 points in 11 straight games. They had a bye last week, giving them two weeks to prepare for the Huskies.
“We told ourselves for the past two weeks ‘believe,'” Wilkins said. “We’re underdogs. Nobody else is going to believe.”
Washington entered the night averaging 43 points per game but struggled all night against the Sun Devils.
Huskies freshman Van Soderberg missed field goals of 27 and 21 yards, the first one wide left, the second off the right upright.
Washington finally scored with a 14-play, 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter, Jake Browning sneaking in from the 1 to cut Arizona State’s lead to 13-7 with 5:32 to play. Tristan Vizcaino replaced Soderberg for the conversion kick.
The Huskies never got the ball again. On fourth-and-three at the Washington 37, Wilkins connected with Ceejhay French-Love for a 30-yard gain to the 7-yard line.
Wilkins took a knee three times to run out the clock.
“Am I shocked that they came ready to play after an off week, at home, at night?” Browning said. “No. Anybody can lose to anybody.”
Arizona State scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game and got field goals of 52 and 25 yards from freshman Brandon Ruiz to lead 13-0 at the half.
The Sun Devils sacked Browning five times. The Washington quarterback had only been sacked six times total in the first six games but he was under duress most of the night, often because the Arizona State secondary blanketed his receivers.
“He had nobody open,” Sun Devils defensive lineman JoJo Wicker said, “so we were just chasing him around and getting him.”
Trey Adams, Washington’s 6-foot-8, 327-pound left tackle who was first-team all-Pac-12 last season, left the game in the first quarter with what appeared to be a right knee injury.
In a drive that chewed up 8:03 of the first quarter, Arizona State went 63 yards in 16 plays — no play longer than eight yards — and took a 7-0 lead on Kalen Ballage’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Curtis Hodges blocked Joel Whitford’s punt on the first play of the second quarter to set up Ruiz’s 52-yard field goal, matching the longest of his young career.
Later in the second quarter, Arizona State drove from its 44 to the Washington 7 and settled for Ruiz’s 25-yard field goal that made it 13-0 with 5:40 left in the half.
The Huskies managed just 230 yards of offense. Browning was 17 of 30 for 139 yards.
Graham called it “the best defensive performance since I’ve been here.”
Petersen’s Huskies had gone 21-2, including 9-0 on the road, since its 27-17 loss at Arizona State in 2015.
The loss was a blow to Washington’s national playoff hopes. It knocked the Huskies into a tie with Washington State and Stanford for the lead in the Pac-12 North.
Arizona State picked up one of its biggest wins under Graham, who entered this season on the hot seat after a 5-7 season a year ago.
Washington has a bye next week and next plays at home against UCLA on Oct. 28.
Arizona State plays at Utah next Saturday.