TEMPE, Ariz. — Another blitz came and Keith Price had nowhere to go but backward. Washington’s senior quarterback made a valiant effort to just get an awkward, off-balance throw away before another screaming Arizona State defensive lineman delivered another crushing blow.
The third-down pass landed harmlessly out of bounds. Price landed on his side in the south end zone at Sun Devil Stadium. He rose like Grandpa after an afternoon nap on the recliner, holding his right hip and limping off.
That about summed up the day for the No. 20 Huskies, who limped home after a third consecutive defeat, this one by a 53-24 score Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.
In a game in which the Huskies (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) hoped to regain their footing in the Pac-12 Conference, they instead fell further back. Again. And again. And again.
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“This one stings,” said Price, who was sacked a season-high six times before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter to have an X-ray on his right thumb. The result of the X-ray, he said, revealed no broken bone.
Price was hit, hurried and hurt much of the game, Bishop Sankey was a non-factor, and the UW defense was again gashed for big play after big play in the Huskies’ most lopsided defeat of the season.
It was UW’s eighth consecutive setback against Arizona State (5-2, 3-1), and this was the ugliest of them all.
The 53 points were the most the Sun Devils have ever scored against UW in 31 meetings, and the Huskies finished with minus-5 yards rushing.
“That was embarrassing. That was embarrassing,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We weren’t good enough. We weren’t well enough coached, we didn’t perform well enough, and we weren’t physical enough.”
Since 2004, UW has had a losing streak of at least three games in every season. And it’s happened again in a season in which the Huskies expected to finally take that elusive “next step.”
“Before any of that talk,” Sarkisian said, “we need to go play a good football game next Saturday. And then we can start to try to look ahead. But right now, we have to live in the moment and (figure out) how we’re going to fix the issues we had tonight.”
And there were a lot of issues.
First up: Who plays quarterback for the Huskies against California at home next Saturday?
Sarkisian said if Price isn’t healthy enough, redshirt freshman Cyler Miles would be considered. But Price insisted he’ll be ready to go. The hit from ASU defensive end Carl Bradford in the end zone late in the second quarter left Price with a sore right hip. And he was wearing a large brace around his thumb and wrist after the game.
“I’m healthy enough to be out here,” said Price, who finished 16 of 39 for 217 yards with two touchdowns. “Some of those throws were just on me. It had nothing to do with my thumb. I just missed ’em. Easy throws that I normally make. If I wasn’t healthy enough to make those throws, I wouldn’t jeopardize our team’s chances of winning the game. So if I’m healthy enough to play, then I’m healthy enough to make those throws.”
Even after getting the X-ray, Price returned to the field in the fourth quarter and lobbied Sarkisian to get back in the game. Sarkisian stuck with Miles. By then, UW trailed 46-24 and most of the many Huskies fans who made the trip from Seattle were shuffling out of Sun Devil Stadium.
ASU had 585 yards of total offense to UW’s 212. Sankey, averaging an FBS-best 149.8 yards a game coming in, had 22 yards on 13 carries. His 1-yard touchdown run capped an impressive opening drive for UW, which took a 7-0 lead.
The Sun Devils then scored 29 consecutive points and led 29-7 at halftime. The Huskies scored on their third play of the third quarter on Price’s 70-yard connection with Kevin Smith to close to 29-14, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
“I felt we could’ve moved the ball better than we did today, that’s for sure,” Sarkisian said.
Washington’s Travis Coons had 11 punts. The Huskies had 12 first downs.
ASU’s Taylor Kelly threw for 271 yards, ran for 84 and had four total touchdowns.
Marion Grice added 158 yards rushing and three total scores for the Sun Devils.
“Very surprising,” said UW receiver Kasen Williams, who fumbled a punt return late in the second quarter. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Games like these are shocking and just hard to explain, you know. No one can really figure out what was the reason, what were the reasons. It just happened. They came out to play, they beat us up, they wanted it more.”
|Change of fortunes|
|The Huskies failed to pick up a victory in a key stretch of games this season.|
|Statistic||First 4 games||Last 3 games|
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @a_jude