Saturday nights 27 to 20 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils( 2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) was about the end justifying the means. The whole goal for the Washington Huskies (3-1, 2-0 Pac 12) was to walk away with a win. How they did it was of no consequence. Just win baby.
The tone of the game was set on the game first offensive play when Husky head coach Chris Petersen dialed up a trick play that backfired when wide out Andre Baccellia’s caught a ball from quarterback Jake Browning and tried a double pass that was intercepted by ASU defender Chase Lucas who returned the pick nineteen yards to the Huskies 20 yard line
The Sun Devils turned the botched trick play into a 7-0 lead when running back Eno Benjamin ran the ball in from the one yard.
The Husky offense was able to shake off disempowering thoughts on its next possession by marching downfield tying the game with a nine play 80-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard pass from Browning to Aaron Fuller.
Like the Huskies, the Sun Devils had their own trick up there sleeves. Arizona State head coach switched up his offensive strategy by committing his offensive to a run game rather than the passing game he had been emphasizing in the Sun Devils last three games. The change in techniques momentarily confused the Huskies defenders resulting in the Sun Devils taking a 10-7 lead on their next offensive possession courtesy of 48-yard field goal by ASU kicker Brandon Ruiz.
Browning engineered another Husky offensive drive to answer the visitor’s score when completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ty Jones to give the Huskies a 14-10 lead with 57 seconds left in the first quarter. The Husky defense settled down and began to take control of the game. Peyton Henry’s 26-yard field was the only scoring by either team in the second quarter and it looked like the Huskies were well on their way to victory when they went into the halftime break with a 17-10 lead.
After trading field goals in the third quarter, Browning completed a five-yard pass to Cade Otton for his third touchdown of the day and victory looked certain for the Huskies with a 27 to 13 lead with 10:59 left in the game.
While Huskies defense led by Ben Burr-Kirven continued its stout play, the special teams specifically the punt coverage team has a momentary lapse of concentration that allowed ASU punt returner Harry N’Keal to return a Husky punt 42 yards to the ASU 42 yard. The punt return teams lack off concentration became contagious as the Husky defense allowed a Manny Wilkins one-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left in the game and the Huskies holding a 20-27 lead.
The Husky offense was able to run out the clock and register its second conference win.
” Hard to win games in this league, proud of the way the guys fought. The defense did a really nice job again. Arizona State had a different plan than we thought, running the ball and trying to keep those third and short situations and they did a nice job converting third down, ” said Petersen in his post-game conference.
“Our defense did a great job on N’Keal (Harry) and those wide receivers, and Ben BurrKirven is something special, he is a heck of a player.
“Thought our O-line did a real nice job. The second to last drive we had an assignment error, and when the game is on the line it would be nice to not have that, but Jake (Browning) was able to set his feet and we didn’t have a sack. With that awkward defense those guys did a nice job of covering guys up and allowing our backs to find some creases. Overall, good to get a win in this league. ”
Ben Burr-Kirven racked up 20 tackles, the most by a Husky since John Fiala had 22 at Arizona State on Sept. 7, 1996. He had 11 tackles by the end of the first half and passed his previous career high of 13 during ASU’s first drive of the third quarter when he notched three tackles.
• Jake Browning passed Cody Pickett to become Washington’s all-time leader on total offense. He now has 10,170 for his career, passing Pickett’s previous Husky high of 10,103. He is also the 21st Pac-12 player to accomplish the feat.
• Browning also passed the 10,000 career passing-yard mark in the third quarter to become the second Husky to do so (also Pickett, 10,220). He is also the 17th Pac-12 player to go over 10,000 yards. He now has 10,070 for his career.
• Browning’s 11-yard touchdown strike to Fuller in the first quarter was the 83rd TD pass of his career, moving him into the Pac-12’s top-10 list. He added two more later in the game to move into a tie for eighth most all-time in the Pac-12, joining ASU’s Rudy Carpenter and Andrew Walter with 85.
• Browning has now accounted for 97 career touchdowns, 13 by rush, 84 by pass.
• Myles Gaskin rushed for 86 yards and now has 4,412 for his UW career. He passed Johnathan Franklin(UCLA, 4,403) to move to sixth all-time in Pac-12 history. Up next: Marcus Allen of USC (4,810).
• Washington held ASU to 104 yards passing, 215 yards below their average coming into the game.
• The Huskies have yet to allow touchdown in the second or third quarters. They have allowed just two field goals in the second and third quarters. They have allowed three TDs in the first quarter and two in the fourth quarter.
• Saturday night crowd of 71,200 was the eighth largest crowd at Husky Stadium since it re-opened in 2013