After electing to defer possession to the second half, the Huskies forced an ASU three-and-out right away. The three-and-out was aided by instant replay overturning a potential first-down catch along the sideline. UW responded by marching down the field for a Bishop Sankey touchdown sprung by Erik Kohler springing the RB by pulling around and sealing a defender off from Sankey.
UW didn't have another first down for the rest of the quarter.
The teams traded three-and-outs, and a Travis Coons punt was coming up. Coons shot a line drive into the gap, the gap between the two ASU punt returners. It bounced all the way to the ASU 15-yard line, a net of 61 yards.
The Sun Devils drove their way into field goal range and scored. UW had another quick possession that involved zero points. The next ASU possession involved one of the strangest trick plays that you will ever see. ASU snapped the ball, but none of the offensive line moved. Kelly appeared to be receiving calls from the sideline, but caught the snap cleanly. He attempted a pass to a streaking WR down the right sideline, but Marcus Peters was right there, and intercepted the pass.
The offense was unable to do anything following the interception, and Washington was forced to punt. Price was unable to hit an open WR down the field on second down and long, his second deep miss of an open WR. Have to wonder how much the thumb is bothering him.
Arizona State's ensuing possession featured Marion Grice, and it culminated in a 15-yard touchdown reception to Grice to give Arizona State a 9-7 early in the second quarter. It stayed that way after UW blocked the PAT attempt. Grice had two carries for 12 yards plus the touchdown reception to give him 23 yards on the drive.
Washington's offense showed some signs of life, gaining a first down with two passes to Jaydon Mickens and John Ross. Washington wouldn't have any more first downs until a Price scramble as the clock expired to end the half. Arizona State did not struggle.
The Sun Devils were able to move the ball through the air and on the ground. Initially, the Washington defense was able to show their collective resolve in the red zone until and hold ASU to field goals. That didn't last very long, and the Sun Devils scored touchdowns on their last two possessions of the half.
When Washington came out with the ball for the second half, things looks bad. First, Will Sutton blew up a screen to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Next, the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year sacked Price. Many expected to see Price on the bench to start the second half after he injured his hip late in the second quarter.
Then, facing a long third down, Price received time in the pocket for what felt like the first time all game. He found Kevin Smith on a crossing route, and Smith took it the distance for a 70-yard score. It appeared Washington still had a shot to come back.
Arizona State drove all the way down the field with Taylor Kelly accounting for all but 11 yards by either running or passing. He scored on a 1-yard run where he spun around two defenders and straight into the end zone.
Washington had to settle for three points after a delay of game penalty on fourth down put UW nine yards out of the end zone. That was when it was near-certain that Washington wasn't going to come back. When ASU scored another TD once they got the ball? 36-14? That's when the game was over. The final score became nothing more than a formality.
My Instant Reaction Dots:
- The offensive line allowed penetration all game long. Whether it was in pass protection or the run game, defenders were in the backfield. Bishop Sankey found no room to run. He has been great at avoiding tacklers in the backfield up to this point, but even he couldn't avoid three defenders in his face as soon as the football met it hands. Negative five rushing yards. Negative five rushing yards. ASU came into this game giving up 169 yards per game on the ground.
- Shaq Thompson looked bad in coverage, relative to what we have come to expect from him. He was consistently late reacting to quick in and out routes, including at least one TD. The pass defense as a whole struggled. It seemed that the longer the game went on, the more the pass D was burned. That leads me to this...
- UW wore down. ASU's quick tempo combined with the heat (probably) led to the tiring of the Washington defense. As the heat took its toll, more tackles were missed and more assignments were blown.
- Cyler Miles got into the game after Price finally was removed from play. Price's thumb was bothering him greatly throughout the game. It appeared to be having an effect on accuracy. He missed on quite a few open receivers, and his ball placement was off. There were a lot of factors that went into his struggles. The thumb was a major one, along with the offensive line playing the role of a sieve.
- When ASU was running the clock out early/towards the middle of the fourth quarter, Travis Feeney took the place of Shaq. Feeney is a converted safety, so his cover skills are going to be better than the typical linebacker. I really wonder if Shaq was in the doghouse or was just tired. Feeney was hurt (it appeared to be his shoulder) on the second-to-last play of the drive, and Shaq went in for the play. The touchdown would have happened no matter who was in at nickel, with the ball being run to the opposite side.
- I did not do the Sankey leg today.
Stay tuned, Anthony will have his game awards up tomorrow morning and Kirk will have his grades tomorrow afternoon.