Washinton’s (4-2, 1-2) 45-38 loss to the Sun Devils (2-4, 1-2) on Saturday extended its losing streak in Tempe, Ariz. to eight — the Huskies last victory at Sparky came in 2001. It was a heartbreaking loss that saw UW overcome a 14-point deficit in the second half to tie it at 38 with 12:09 left in the fourth quarter. A stop would have given the Huskies the ball back with an excellent chance to eat the clock and take the lead.
Instead, UW’s defense gave up a third down conversion on third and ten early on in the drive and then a third and six a couple plays later to keep the drive alive. Arizona State picked up 32 yards on that third and six, then 13 yards on the next play to get into the red zone. On second and goal Trenton Bourguet found Elijah Badger to take the lead for good.
The Huskies offense, with a recently shaken Michael Penix Jr., failed on its final two drives to find any consistency as it pressed to make plays happen.
Now, Washington wouldn’t have been in this situation if it hadn’t been for a pick six by Jordan Clark with 2:51 left in the first half. Clark’s touchdown three plays after Bourguet hit Xazavian Valladay to give Sparky a 17-10 lead, the pick six made it a 24-10 lead right as both teams were prepared to head to the halftime locker room. From that point on Washington had to play catch-up…which they did.
But the Husky defense couldn’t shut down an electric ASU offense and that’s why they lost their eighth straight game in the desert.
1) USC Trojans
No. 6 Southern California was the beneficiaries of some questionable calls against WSU on Saturday night in the Coliseum. The ground game, led by Travis Dye, ground the Cougars’ defense into dust as the Trojans pulled away in the second half for a 30-14 win at home.
2) UCLA Bruins
No. 11 UCLA put together its best performance of the year as they took the lead in the first quarter and never relinquished it. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson looked every bit the experienced fifth year senior as he sliced and diced the Utes defense both through the air and on the ground — when you take the two sacks out of the equation. But it was an even bigger game for tailback Zach Charbonnet who averaged nine yards per carry. This was a huge game that gave UCLA a huge leg-up in the race for the conference title game.
3) Oregon Ducks
A garbage time touchdown made this game look closer than it actually was for No. 11 Oregon as the Wildcats 49-22 in the desert. Bo Nix averaged 10.6 yards per pass and 8.8 per carry while Noah Whittington averaged 15.6 yards per carry as well. The Ducks grounded Arizona into a dust while their defense continually harassed Jayden De Laura and kept him uncomfortable in the pocket. It was a recipe for success that saw the North’s best squad move to 5-1 on the season.
4) Utah Utes
That was an absolutely ugly game for the defending conference champs. No. 19 Utah fell into a hole early and when it seemed like they were about to dig themselves out of it they were outscored 14-8 in the third quarter and there was no real recovery from that. It leaves the Utes an uphill battle path to defend their conference championship.
5) Washington State Cougars
Unlike in the win over Cal, Cam Ward didn’t through any boneheaded interceptions; but he also wasn’t able to stretch the field due to the offensive line’s inability to pass protect. It was one of those games were once the deep pass was taken away, there was very little WSU could do. Add in the fact that the defense was hosed by some awful officiating calls to extend USC drives and that’s all it took for this game to get out of hand quickly.
6) Oregon State Beavers
A narrow one-point win over a hapless Stanford squad is not exactly a confidence booster a week after Utah absolutely rocked your shit. What makes it even worse is the fact that the Beavers had to mount an 18-point come back to pick u pthe W in Palo Alto, Calif. The comeback was fueled by some big passes from Ben Gulbranson, who got the start over Chance Nolan, along with an aggressive rushing attack that had struggled to find consistent success throughout the first three quarters.
7) Washington Huskies
We’ll see how Penix fairs after his injury in the final frame, it was good to see him get off the field under his power. The continued problems on the defensive side of the ball for Washington have seriously undermined its offensive attack. While a rare interception from their quarterback in the hole, the Husky defense had been unable to stop ASU with any consistency. With some explosive offenses on tap, UW could see itself in more barn burners that its purple clad fans’ hearts.
8) California Golden Bears
A bye week right after they got throttled in Pullman, Wash. has to feel relaxing. If the offense can do a better job of game planning around their offensive line’s weakness, it could make the Bear life a little easier…particular with Washington and Oregon looming in the not-so-distant future.
9) Arizona State Sun Devils
Chaos in Tempe? While I can’t believe it. The upset victory over a then ranked No. 21 Washington team has to feel extremely good for a program that’s undergone such tumult over the last couple of weeks. Three red zone touchdowns through the air helped keep the Huskies defense off guard throughout the game. It will be interest see how this team moves forward throughout it’s remaining schedule.
10) Arizona Wildcats
Arizona had its first sellout in nearly six years on Saturday night, and it didn’t matter. The No. 12 Ducks came into Tuscon, Ariz. and absolutely steamrolled the wildcats. De Laura had little time to look down field or to make multiple reads. It was also difficult for the Wildcats to find any gaps for their running game. But, at 3-3, UA has outperformed my preseason expectations which is a big deal for the head coach.
11) Stanford Cardinal
Oh Stanford, you had the Beavers on the ropes, and let them off the hook. It’s been clear to me for the last four, or five, years that the program had begun to erode under David Shaw; now we get to see the aftermath of the decision to hold onto him. This is not going to be a fun stretch for the one Stanford fan.
12) Colorado Buffaloes
A bye week after firing your coach? Ouch. Watching your instate rival earn its first win of the season — which leaves you as the only winless team in the state? Even bigger ouchies.