Arizona State pulls away late to beat Washington
Taylor Kelly scrambled and threw to Gary Chambers in the right corner of the end zone for a 7-yard, game-winning touchdown with three minutes left late Saturday night, lifting No. 14 Arizona State to a 24-10 victory over the Huskies before an announced crowd of 64,666 on a cold, wet and windy night
Seattle Times staff reporter
Finally, the Washington offense had its breakthrough.
Immediately after, Arizona State finally pushed through the Washington defense.
Taylor Kelly connected with Gary Chambers in the right corner of the end zone for a 7-yard, go-ahead touchdown with three minutes left in the game late Saturday, lifting No. 14 Arizona State to a 24-10 victory over the Huskies before an announced crowd of 64,666 on a cold, wet and windy night at Husky Stadium.
On a night when redshirt freshman quarterback Troy Williams made his starting debut in nearly impossible weather conditions, widespread injuries were too much to overcome for the Huskies (5-3, 1-3 Pac-12), who have lost two in a row.
“I have to take accountability on the offense,” Williams said. “I’m the leader. I just have to go out there and play hard, but obviously it wasn’t good enough.”
Williams, filling in for injured sophomore Cyler Miles, finished 18 for 26 passing for 139 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble.
“I feel bad for Troy,” UW coach Chris Petersen said, “being thrown into his first start and having to deal with winds that were tough.”
With a minute left, Williams made a desperation heave on fourth-and-25 that ASU’s Armand Perry intercepted and returned 60 yards for a touchdown to clinch the win for the Sun Devils (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12). On the play before, Williams had taken a sack on third-and-20.
Before the Sun Devils’ go-ahead drive, the UW offense had put its first points on the board with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter on Cameron Van Winkle’s 23-yard field goal. That tied score at 10-10 and capped off the Huskies’ best drive of the night — 15 plays, 82 yards, covering 5 minutes, 42 seconds.
Up until ASU’s final drive, the UW defense had been stout. In the third quarter, UW had made a huge goal-line stand by stuffing the Sun Devils on four straight runs from the UW 1-yard line. On ASU’s next series, senior linebacker John Timu returned an interception 63 yards to put UW on the scoreboard for the first time.
That cut Arizona State’s lead to 10-7 with 4:13 left in the third.
On a night when the wind — gusts of 61 mph were reported on the 520 floating bridge — hit as hard as anyone wearing pads, the UW defense did its part in slowing down Arizona State, which finished with just 285 total yards.
“The wind really surprised us,” Petersen said. “… That really handcuffed us hard (on offense).”
Shaq Thompson, UW’s linebacker-turned-emergency running back, had 21 carries for 98 yards on a night when UW played without its top two running backs. He appeared to play only one snap at linebacker.
“We’ve just got to get better as a whole,” Thompson said.
Williams was just 3 of 7 for 5 yards to start, and Arizona State stacked up its defensive front to stop the UW rushing attack.
“I knew they were going to come at me,” Williams said. “They got a couple good shots on me. I made a couple bad decisions throughout the game, but besides that I thought I had an OK game. ... It just didn’t work out in our favor.”
By halftime, the Sun Devils (6-1, 4-1) had built a 10-0 lead. UW’s offense couldn’t sustain much of anything. Of UW’s first seven drives, six ended in a punt and the other ended in a blocked field-goal attempt from 40 yards into the wind.
The Huskies were without their top two rushers in Dwayne Washington (chest) and Lavon Coleman (shoulder), so fifth-year senior Deontae Cooper made his first career start. Cooper, who became UW’s fourth running back to start a game this season, had 70 yards on 11 carries.
The teams combined for 10 punts in the first half before the Sun Devils (6-1, 4-1) scored the game’s first points. That came on Taylor Kelly’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong, the Pac-12’s leading receiver who beat UW’s Marcus Peters.
UW’s best scoring chance in the first half, Van Winkle’s 40-yard field-goal attempt, was blocked by ASU’s Paul Crawford.
Petersen lost consecutive games for the first time since the end of the 2007 season when he was at Boise State.
“We’ve just got to get better and more efficient on offense,” Petersen said. “That’s going to be the sense of urgency around here.”
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org