No. 7 Washington Rolls Past Arizona State, 44-18
SEATTLE (AP) — Jake Browning overcame a sluggish start to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 7 Washington routed Arizona State 44-18 on Saturday night to stay in the College Football Playoff mix.
Washington (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will likely to move up in both the AP Top 25 and the CFP ranking after snapping a 10-game losing streak to the Sun Devils. But the Huskies appeared to let last week's loss to Southern California linger early before a 21-point second quarter put Washington fully in control.
Browning completed 27 of 44 passes with 12 of those going to John Ross for 95 yards. Myles Gaskin ran for 127 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Washington's victory sets up one of the biggest Apple Cup's ever Friday in Pullman against Washington State with the winner claiming the Pac-12 North title and a spot in the conference title game. The two are tied on top of the North Division standings after Washington State's 38-24 loss at Colorado on Saturday.
Washington's defense dominated from the outset, holding Arizona State (5-6, 2-6) to 48 yards in the first half and just 84 through three quarters before reserves took over. Arizona State's Manny Wilkins was 20 of 32 passing for 227 yards but was sacked six times. N'Keal Harry had six catches for 114 yards, but the Sun Devils managed only 15 yards rushing.
Jay Jay Wilson had Arizona State's only touchdowns, catching a pair of fourth-down TDs in the fourth quarter. And if the night needed to be any wackier, Washington linebacker Keishawn Bierria scooped up an onside kick attempt and returned it for a touchdown with 6:03 remaining.
The Huskies slogged through the first 16 minutes before Kevin King jolted Washington awake. The senior cornerback intercepted Wilkins' pass in the end zone, making a spectacular one-handed grab just three plays after Browning had a pass intercepted for the second time in the first half.
Two plays after King's interception, Browning hit Chico McClatcher on a screen pass and the speedy wide receiver raced 75 yards to start Washington's 21-point second quarter. Browning added a 46-yard TD pass to Pettis, but was at his best on the final drive of the first half. Browning was 6 of 6 for 61 yards on the last drive and Lavon Coleman finished off the final yard for a 24-0 halftime lead.
If there is such a thing in a 26-point win, it came in the opening moments of the second quarter. Browning was intercepted by Koron Crump, who returned the pick for a touchdown. But the TD was nullified by a blocking penalty at the 3 on Maurice Chandler. Instead of taking a 7-3 lead, the Sun Devils got nothing out of the turnover thanks to King's interception.
Arizona State: The worst pass defense in the Pac-12 did get two interceptions but also gave up loads of yards. Browning was especially good in the second and third quarters, hitting receivers underneath the coverage and taking shots deep when available.
Washington: The Huskies rediscovered their pass rush that had been missing the previous four weeks. Washington had four sacks in the first half, after having four sacks in the previous four games combined. The success came by bringing pressure from the secondary with safeties Budda Baker and Ezekiel Turner finding success getting to the quarterback. The Huskies finished with six sacks.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils travel to Tucson to face Arizona on Friday night.
Washington: The Huskies close the regular season Friday at rival Washington State.