Arizona State gave the No. 5 Huskies their first loss of the season in a mess of a game in Tempe. Fixing the kicking game must be a priority as the Huskies head into their bye week.
“It wasn’t no fluke, either. We whipped ’em.”
Those were the words of Arizona State coach Todd Graham late Saturday after his team stunned No. 5 Washington, 13-7, at Sun Devil Stadium.
It’s hard to argue with him.
UW’s defense, as has become the rule, was solid Saturday night, except for the Sun Devils’ first and last drives. But on offense and special teams, Arizona State was the more inspired, more prepared team.
The Huskies’ offensive woes were especially troubling.
Arizona State (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) handed the Huskies (6-1, 3-1) their first loss by manhandling UW’s offensive line much of the night. Jake Browning was sacked five times, and was often running in circles the wrong way or sideways. The Huskies managed 91 yards rushing on 31 carries and could never build momentum in the running game.
UW’s 230 yards of total offense — on 61 plays, an average of 3.8 yards per play — were the fewest UW has had against any Pac-12 defense under Chris Petersen. Likewise, UW’s seven points matched the lowest output of the Petersen era.
Browning said Arizona State didn’t blitz as much as it typically does; instead, the Sun Devils disguised up their coverages and effectively disguised where they would bring pressure. UW’s offense looked out of sorts, and out of options.
“Give them some credit,” UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. “I thought those guys were playing physical and hard. Early on we weren’t matching them physicality. That first half we struggled to get some rhythm. In the second half we got things moving more and didn’t finish some drives.”
The Huskies, no doubt, missed left tackle Trey Adams, who exited with an apparent right knee injury late in the first quarter.
UW’s two missed field goals obviously loomed large, too.
Both were chip-shot attempts for redshirt freshman Van Soderberg — from 27 and 21 yards — that Petersen said both of his kickers make regularly in practice.
Soderberg is now 1-for-3 on field-goal attempts. Senior Tristan Vizcaino is 4-for-9, and fixing the kicking game must be a priority as the Huskies head into their bye week.
“That’s hard because they can make those (field goals) in their sleep, and they do at practice over and over again,” Petersen said. “That’s hard on everybody.”