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Washington’s College Football Playoff’s chances dim after Arizona State upset: Instant Reactions

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Two missed field goals doomed the Huskies

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Huskies don’t belong in the desert. Washington hasn’t won a road game against Arizona State since 2001 and Saturday night didn’t change that fact. Poor special teams combined with a punchless first-half offense doomed UW to a 13-7 upset at the hands of Arizona State.

Washington struggled to move the ball through the entire first half. UW averaged 2.1 yards per play at the break with only two first downs.

Arizona State didn’t have the same problem. It wasn’t a big chunk play but a series of trident pricks that the Sun Devils used on their first possession that went for 63 yards and a touchdown. No plays went for more than eight yards but it was seven points all the same.

The Huskies forgetting how to move the ball was the biggest story of the first half (combined with the bottom-feeder defense of ASU) but not to be overlooked was that left tackle Trey Adams went down with what looked like a non-contact knee injury early and didn’t return.

After Arizona State’s opening drive, the consistent short plays dried up enough that the touchdowns came to an end, even when a blocked punt gave ASU the ball within Washington’s 30. A 52-yard field goal by Brandon Ruiz (no, he isn’t transferring to Washington, why would you ask?) put ASU up 10-0, and a shorter three-pointer pushed the lead to the halftime score of 13-0.

After the halftime break the Sun Devils only had three plays before giving it to Washington. The Huskies had a touchdown on the following drive until a yellow flag reared its head as Jesse Sosebee’s holding penalty called back a 50-yard touchdown for Salvon Ahmed on a reverse. On its second fourth down of the drive the Huskies elected to go for the sure points and kick the field goal.

The Husky kicking game is anything but sure.

The Husky kicking game is anything but sure.

Yes, that was typed twice, once per missed chip shot field goal.

With the game winding down, those two missed field goals were the difference. Had Van Soderberg knocked in both of those kicks, the score would have looked quite a bit different. The Dawgs did have their successful touchdown drive but that single possession wasn’t enough to overcome the ineptitude it showed for most of the game.

The Husky defense was on the field for 73 plays but it took until the end for them to break. Todd Graham decided to dial up a pass on fourth down to seal the game and it passed over the head of a receiver (likely the intended receiver) and JoJo McIntosh (prepping to hit said intended receiver) before it settled into the hands of CJ French-Love, who made it down within the Husky 10-yard line to seal the game.

Dots:

  • The Husky D is legit. Arizona didn’t move the ball with ease even on their scoring drives. It took until ASU’s final drive of the game before the Sun Devils were able to make it down the field with consistent offense, first drive excluded.
  • Jordan Miller and Trey Adams are both likely done for the year. I’m squeamish due to a lengthy injury history so I didn’t watch but Miller’s injury was gruesome and Adams wend down with what looked like the ACL shuffle. It sucks.
  • The Husky receivers couldn’t get open. Browning was desperate for offensive success at the end. He did his best to move around to try to make plays but there weren’t plays to be made most of the time. His final stat line was inefficient: 17-30, 139 yards.
  • To make the Playoff, Washington is going to need perfection from here on out with help from around the country.