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Fork Report: Arizona State’s losing streak up to five after loss to Washington

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham reacts on the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The result was expected — heck, oddsmakers pegged the Arizona State Sun Devils as four-touchdown underdogs on the road against the country’s sixth-best team.

Though Washington failed to cover, they did dominate, in just about every statistical category.

Perhaps needing to impress the College Football Playoff committee, the Huskies posted a 44-18 win, Washington’s first in 11 tries, covering 15 years, against ASU, which had not lost in Seattle since 1997.

The Sun Devils’ losing streak has reached five, the longest since Dennis Erickson’s final season in 2011. Overall, ASU (5-6, 2-6) has lost six of seven and seven straight conference road games.

Jake Browning passed for two touchdowns; Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman each rushed for a touchdown and Keishawn Bierria added a 45-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Browning finished with his sixth career 300-yard passing game, going 27-of-44 for 338 yards and two interceptions. At one point, he completed 15 consecutive passes.

Washington (10-1, 7-1) led 24-0 at halftime, and then scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter to go up 30-0.

ASU struggled mightily, especially offensively. They were outgained 539-245, 161 of which was gained in the fourth quarter when they scored their only two touchdowns.

Manny Wilkins went 20-of-32 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception and was sacked six times.

N’Keal Harry once again impressed with six catches and 114 yards, his second straight 100-yard receiving game.

The Sun Devils’ 10-game winning streak in the series had been the Pac-12’s longest active streak among conference teams.

THE GOOD

Twice in the first half, the Sun Devils picked off Browning. Kareem Orr (first quarter) and Koron Crump (second quarter) each recorded their first interceptions of the season. It was Orr’s seventh of his career — after setting the ASU school freshman record with six a year ago — and Crump’s first; the latter of which should’ve been a pick-six if not for an illegal block in the back call on Maurice Chandler. By the way, Browning had just five interceptions all season entering the contest.

Playing his second-to-last regular season game, Zane Gonzalez added to his resume. He kicked his seventh field goal of 50 yards or better (7-of-8 overall; and 13-of-14 on kicks over 40 yards this season), making a 50-yarder for ASU’s first points at the 2:17 mark of the third quarter, 30-3 Washington. It was Gonzalez’s 17th consecutive make, the longest active streak in the country and tying his own school record. He’s now scored a point in all 50 games of his Sun Devils career.

On the Sun Devils’ fourth-quarter scoring drive, Harry caught three consecutive passes, including a team-best 37-yard reception, that pushed him ahead of Zach Miller (552 yards in 2004) for the most receiving yards by an ASU freshman. The possession ended with Jay Jay Wilson recording his second touchdown of the season, an 18-yard grab on 4th-and-goal. Add the two-point conversion, another grab by Wilson, and it was 30-11 Washington with 10:27 remaining in the game.

THE BAD

Two plays after Wilkins was intercepted in the end zone — picked off by Kevin King, who made an incredible one-handed grab while covering Harry — Chico McClatcher covered 75 yards on a catch-and-run for a touchdown and 10-0 Washington lead at the 13:08 mark of the second quarter. This marked the 15th scoring play of 50-plus yards allowed by the Sun Devils.

Two possessions later, the Huskies went 84 yards on just four plays, including a pair of explosive plays (20+ yards), for another touchdown, a Browning 46-yard pass to Dante Pettis, who beat Chandler, to extend the Washington lead to 17-0 at the 4:08 mark of the second quarter. Earlier on the drive, Gaskin gained 24 yards, his longest run of the first half.

Between Washington’s scoring drives going into and coming out of halftime, Browning went 11-of-12 for 101 yards and a touchdown. The only incompletion was his last throw, an attempted pop pass on 3rd-and-goal at the ASU 5. The Huskies settled for a field goal, Cameron Van Winkle’s second, to extend their lead to 27-0 at the 9:49 mark of the third quarter.

At halftime, the Sun Devils offense had three first downs and 48 total yards. Of the 28 plays they ran, 13 either lost or gained zero yards. Here’s how their nine first-half possessions went: punt, fumble, 3-and-out, 3-and-out, interception, punt, 3-and-out, 3-and-out, and taking a knee to end the half. Their struggles were largely the result of going 1-of-8 on third down.

STAT OF THE GAME

1-of-14: The Sun Devils converted only one of their 14 third-down opportunities, and the one they did convert was their first, a 3rd-and-2 with Tim White catching a six-yard pass on the game’s opening possession

HE SAID IT

“The story of the night, we had nine penalties. That might be a record for us. Way too many penalties,” head coach Todd Graham said. “Obviously, their defense just dominated us. Couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

NOTED

Though healthier, ASU played minus tight end Kody Kohl plus starting guards Sam Jones and Stephon McCray.

ASU had its first multi-interception game since UCLA, ending the team’s four-game streak of not forcing an INT.

ASU had not been this much of an underdog since 2008, when they were 28-point dogs traveling to No. 9 USC.

UP NEXT

It’s the Duel in the Desert, one of the nation’s longest-running in-state rivalries.

And once again, the Sun Devils find themselves on the road. They travel to Tucson to play the Arizona Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning two hours earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

ASU has won three of the past four matchups, including last year at Sun Devil Stadium, 52-37, meaning the Territorial Cup currently resides in Tempe.

On its last trip to Tucson in 2014, ASU lost 42-35.

Overall, UA leads 48-40-1 in the all-time series, which dates all the way back to 1899.

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