Herm Edwards: ASU football responded to adversity in past few weeks
Amid an NCAA investigation and after an ugly two-game skid that halted any talk of winning the Pac-12 South, the Arizona State Sun Devils saw the bottom.
Two wins in a row that followed the consecutive losses indicated ASU found a light switch to flip when things get dark.
“We hung together,” head coach Herm Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Monday. “That was the mindset going into it … all we have is each other. We have to count on each other.”
ASU’s past two games haven’t been pretty.
Rainy weather Saturday in Seattle may have played into the Sun Devils’ hands with its ability to ride running back Rachaad White. He posted 32 carries for 184 yards and two scores, as his team piled up 286 rushing yards in a 35-30 win against the Washington Huskies.
But a little resiliency was shown. It’s significant for a program that, in mid-October losses to Utah and Washington State, looked like it had run out of gas by allowing 56 points and scoring none over a span of less than two halves bridging those games.
Staying in those dark moments haven’t lasted during the two wins in a row that followed.
Arizona State, now 7-3, went down 14-0 within the first quarter and trailed Washington 24-14 by the end of the third on Saturday.
To Edwards, the team’s first turning point with adversity in its face wasn’t in this past weekend’s game. It was a week prior, when ASU had a shaky start against the USC Trojans.
“I felt like it happened last week against USC when it was a 17-16 game and then in the fourth quarter we found a way to go up two scores,” Edwards said. “When this hit again (on Saturday), we stared it in the face, continued to play.”
ASU scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Washington, going ahead by 11 on a 37-yard interception return by linebacker Merlin Robertson in the waning minute to seal things.
Sticking with White and the ground game paid off before that.
Responding to the 24th point scored by UW that put it ahead 10 points, ASU leaned on the run to begin the fourth quarter, calling 16 successful runs over a 20-play drive that cooked more than nine minutes off the game clock. Partially, the play-calling was due to the weather.
But White had been heating up, too.
“It’s fun to watch (White) with the ball in his hands. Just felt at that point in time, due to the conditions, we weren’t going to be able to throw it a whole lot,” Edwards said.