Trenton Bourguet rises to the occasion as ASU upsets No. 21 Washington
TEMPE — Let Trenton Bourguet cook.
After Arizona State (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) starting quarterback Emory Jones exited the game with an apparent head injury in the second quarter while sliding on a scramble, backup QB Bourguet led the Sun Devils to a 45-38 win over the No. 21 Washington Huskies (4-2, 1-2).
The upset in the “Rising Devils” uniforms at Sun Devil Stadium also marks the first win for interim head coach Shaun Aguano, who called Saturday the greatest day in his coaching career.
Bourguet finished the game with 182 passing yards and three touchdown passes on 15-of-21 attempts for a 71% clip. His lone blemish on the afternoon was an interception thrown at the beginning of the fourth quarter that allowed Washington to tie the ballgame at 38-38.
“I’ve seen it in practice for the last couple of years and I’ve always mentioned to him that he has to prepare,” Aguano said of his backup QB’s performance. “He’s not the tallest, he’s not the fastest, he doesn’t have the strongest arm. But he has the traits of a great quarterback because he knows how to anticipate, he knows how to rally around his guys and his guy rally around him.
“So I’ve seen that leadership in him. It’s playing right off of me, once you get that opportunity, make sure you take advantage of it and he has today.”
And despite ASU being without starting right tackle Des Holmes all game and losing starting left guard LaDarius Henderson in the second half, the offensive line had perhaps its best performance of the season thus far.
After allowing five sacks in the second half alone last week at USC, Arizona State’s OL didn’t allow a single sack to Washington while also blocking for 156 yards on the ground. That metric was provided by another 100-plus-yard performance from Xazavian Valladay, who had 111 and a TD on 23 carries. Daniyel Ngata added 39 yards and a score on four attempts.
“I think just trusting in my training, taking what the defense gives me,” Bourguet said. “It was kind of nice to be able to rely on the run game. We had some pretty good runs and the pass protection held up pretty well.
“Washington has a great defense and I think we had a great plan coming in against them and I just stayed focused the whole time this week watching film and breaking down stuff. I just trusted coach Thomas’ game plan and executed it.”
Bourguet, a Tucson native, found Valladay for one of his touchdown passes and wide receiver Elijhah Badger for the other two.
The 11-play, 90-yard drive is probably ASU’s best of the season.pic.twitter.com/nm5QDOGvUk
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) October 8, 2022
The backup QB took a hit on the first two TD passes he threw before his game-winner to Badger in the fourth quarter, illustrating his presence and poise in the pocket of when Washington’s pass rush was coming.
“I’ve prepared the last four years like I’m the starter,” Bourguet said. “You’re always a play away and I’ve been told that. … I just prepared like the starter the whole week and at the end of the day, we came out victorious against a very good Washington team. It was a lot of fun.”
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) October 8, 2022
And perhaps the most noticeable difference between ASU’s two quarterbacks is Bourguet’s accuracy despite having slightly less zip on his passes than Jones. On Arizona State’s penultimate touchdown drive, the backup QB had two nice throws to convert on third down, which the Sun Devils did nine out of 13 times (69%).
So with a bye week on the horizon before a trip to Palo Alto to play Stanford, is there a quarterback battle once again in Tempe?
“Now it’s going to be a battle. … I say battle because it’s competition in everything,” Aguano said. “In the quarterback room, it’ll be competition and competition makes everybody better.
“So when I say battle, I’m not saying (Bourguet) is going to be the starter, but it’s going to be a good battle from a competition standpoint to make each other better.”
– Arizona State played without three starters from the start of the game, two of which were on the defensive line, before losing two more starts on the offensive side of the ball during the contest. DE Anthonie Cooper, DL Omarr Norman-Lott and RT Des Holmes were all ruled out before kickoff, while LG LaDarius Henderson and QB Emory Jones both left midgame.
– Sun Devils kicker Carter Brown hit a 53-yard field goal, a career-long, which is the longest for a true freshman in school history.
ASU goes into its bye week before coming back for a Pac-12 matchup at Stanford on Oct. 22.