Survive and move on.
That’s exactly what Arizona State did on a windy Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
The 14th-ranked Sun Devils overcame a pick-6 and two empty trips inside the red zone in a 24-10 victory against Washington.
“We all know sometimes you got to battle adversity,” said reshirt junior receiver Gary Chambers, whose seven-yard touchdown catch snapped a 10-10 tie with three minutes remaining.
Freshman corner Armand Perry sealed the victory, the ninth straight over Washington, with a 61-yard interception return for the final margin of victory.
With its third straight win, ASU improved to 6-1 and 4-1 in the Pac-12.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly returned after missing three games with a right foot injury and completed 14-of-25 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Sun Devils scored twice in the second and took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
ASU looked poised to break the game open in the third.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Laiu Moeakiola sacked quarterback Troy Williams, who was making his first start, forcing a fumble that was recoved by redshirt junior defensive lineman Demetrius Cherry at the Washington 1-yard line. However, the Sun Devils failed on four attempts to punch the ball into the end zone.
First, Washington’s John Timu ran a Kelly interception — his first in 85 attempts — back 63 yards for a touchdown and then following an ASU botched field goal attempt, the Huskies connected on a 23-yard field goal to tie the game at 10.
That’s when Kelly and the Sun Devil offense went to work, driving 75 yards on nine plays for the go-ahead score, Chambers’ second touchdown of the season.
The win was ASU’s fourth on the road this season, the most since 1997.
The Sun Devils’ first score of the game—a 16-yard reception by Jaelen Strong—was set up in large part by freshman running back Demario Richard, who had his number called five straight times, including a 23-yard rush, the longest since Kelly’s 50-yard touchdown run against Colorado.
The Sun Devils blocked their second field goal of the season. It was redshirt senior defensive lineman Paul Crawford, a 6-8 walk-on transfer from Florida International, who got his right hand on Cameron Van Winkle’s 40-yard attempt in the second quarter.
For the second straight game, the Sun Devils defense shut out its opponent in the first half. Washington was held to 119 total yards (77 rushing, 42 passing) on 35 plays and six first downs through the first two quarters.
Kelly’s first pass attempt was a 31-yard completion to DJ Foster, who has now caught at least one ball in each of the 34 games he has played at ASU. Foster finished with four catches for 52 yards.
Zane Gonzalez has made five straight field goals and nine of his last 10.
Strong has a touchdown catch in three straight games.
Special teams, as good as the unit performed against Stanford, appeared to regress some this week, especially on kickoff coverage. In the first half, John Ross returned two kicks for 58 yards though a 77-yard return to the ASU 15 near the end of the second quarter was called back because of a holding penalty.
Punter Matt Haack was the Sun Devils best offensive weapon early in the game. In the first half, he punted four times for 190 yards, including a career-long of 64 yards. Between the teams, punts (seven) out-numbered first downs (six) in the first quarer.
The Sun Devils did a poor job protecting the quarterback, allowing a season-high seven sacks, including a pair by Hau’oli Kikaha, who became Washington’s all-time single-season sack leader with 14.5.
ASU’s five first-half penalties were more than they had in three games this year.
STAT OF THE GAME
290: The total number of yards gained by Washington, marking the second straight game the Sun Devils defense held an opponent under 300 yards
HE SAID IT
Asked at halftime whether or not the wind was affecting their offensive game plan, head coach Todd Graham laughed, before adding, “Is that a question? Yeah, what the heck!? That’s football.”
Redshirt sophomore Stephon McCray played left guard for the final quarter-and-a-half, filling in for redshirt junior Christian Westerman, who appeared to hurt his left leg late in the third quarter
Kelly’s second touchdown was the 65th of his career, moving him into a tie with Jake Plummer for third all-time at ASU
Kelly in the first half moved past Plummer for third on ASU’s all-time total offense list
The Sun Devils improved to 21-0 when leading at the half under Graham
The Sun Devils improved to 19-5 in their last 24 games
The Sun Devils return home to host Utah (6-1, 3-1) in a key Pac-12 South Division match-up. The game on Saturday, Nov. 1 will kickoff at 8 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning two hours earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Last season, ASU won its 10th straight against Utah, needing a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a 20-19 victory in Salt Lake City.