Jermaine Kearse (© Max Waugh, 2010)
In a game that looked like it was going to be a shootout, the UW ran out of bullets as Arizona State defeated the Huskies 24-14 Saturday night in the pouring rain at Husky Stadium. The win broke ASU's (3-3, 1-2) three-game losing streak, while the Huskies (2-3, 1-1) failed to capitalize on an opportunity to stay undefeated in the chase for the Pac-10 championship.
ASU had their way with the Husky defense to the tune of 387 total yards, while the UW offense struggled to finish off drives, though they picked up 354 yards of total offense. Sun Devils QB Steven Threet overcame six drops in the first half to shred the UW secondary for 288 yards and two touchdowns, leaning on primary receiver Mike Willie, who caught five balls for 96 yards and a score, as well as drawing a 15 yard pass interference call on Desmond Trufant.
The UW defense did do a fair job stopping the run, holding the two ASU primary ball carriers to 99 yards combined.
The UW offense, behind Jake Locker, was unable to make the plays they needed when it mattered most, going 5-14 on third down and 2-5 on fourth down. Some of that may have come down to health, as starting left guard Erik Kohler was held out of the game with mononucleosis. Locker was also tested for mono during the week after not feeling well, but his test came back negative. It's clear, however, that Locker was not feeling himself.
Devin Aguilar was a game-time scratch after tweaking his hip flexor on the last play of Thursday’s practice. He participated in warm-ups, but was unable to go. His status for next week is uncertain. He joined Johri Fogerson, who is also trying to shake off a hip flexor.
In the first half, the Huskies went for it and failed on fourth down twice, the second of which, after Jermaine Kearse dropped another pass on 4th and 5, came with 1:01 left in before half and allowed ASU good enough field position to mount a five-play 65 yard drive which culminated with a 20 yard TD pass to Willie.
Locker was 23-38 for 209 yards and a touch through the air and one score on the ground and was sacked three times. He did throw a late interception in the end zone on a fade to Jordan Polk, but it was after the game was largely decided. He was much more confined to the pocket tonight as opposed to against USC and never looked confortable there. He rushed several throws, and generally looked tightly wound.
One positive was D’Andre Goodwin, whose 4th down catch against USC clearly inspired some confidence in Jake and the coaching staff as he looked to be option number one, especially with Devin Agular out with a strained hip flexor. He caught 8 balls for 78 yards and a 15-yard TD on 4th down. Chris Polk also finished with a nice day, breaking the century mark with 110 yards on 18 carries.
The inability to finish even afflicted Kicker Erik Folk. He missed a 47 yard FG attempt, ending his perfect run so far through the season. He had earlier missed from 53, but was given another shot thanks to an ASU illegal substitution penalty that moved the ball up five yards, but still kicked it wide left.
The key series for ASU came after Cort Dennision picked off Threet at the UW 30 with the score 21-14 ASU. They forced a quick three and out and Jamal Miles returned Kiel Rasp’s 58 yard punt 30 yards to the ASU 42. Threet then led a three-minute, 20-second, eight play drive that was capped by a 22-yard Thomas Weber field goal. That stretched the ASU lead to 10 with 6:32 remaining.
The UW’s following possession ended in a turnover on downs, eliminating any opportunity the Huskies had at mounting a last-minute comeback.
Linebacker Cort Dennison had 10 tackles tackles and a sack in addition to his pick and Mason Foster contributed 12 and a sack. Safety Nate Williams also had a sack to go with his 8 tackles.
Officially 65,685 fans tried to brave the rain, which vacillated between torrential downpour and cats and dogs for most of the game.