Arizona State falls to Washington after untimely pick-six

Oct 21, 2023, 11:38 PM

Carson Bruener #42 of the Washington Huskies pressures Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Su...

Carson Bruener #42 of the Washington Huskies pressures Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first quarter at Husky Stadium on October 21, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — Mishael Powell returned a fourth-quarter interception 89 yards for a touchdown and No. 5 Washington overcame Michael Penix Jr.’s three turnovers to beat Arizona State 15-7 on Saturday night.

Powell stepped in front of Trenton Bourget’s throw on fourth-and-3 from the 12 and sprinted down the left sideline to help Washington (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) win its 14th straight, sidestepping Bourget near the 20 for a 12-7 lead with 8:11 left.

The Huskies desperately needed the stop after the Sun Devils (1-6, 0-4) intercepted two of Penix’s passes in the first half and recovered a botched handoff to take a 7-3 lead.

Arizona State handcuffed Penix, the Heisman Trophy hopeful and nation’s top passer, like no other defense this season. His fumbled handoff late in the first half helped the Sun Devils take a 7-0 lead on Cam Skattebo’s 4-yard dive.

Penix then drove the Huskies 73 yards with the help of a roughing-the-passer call, but failed to pick up a first down and settled for Grady Gross’ 25-yard field goal to make it 7-3 at halftime.

Penix, who leads the nation in total offense and passing yards per game, had thrown 20 touchdowns to three interceptions this season. He entered the game No. 1 in total offense and passing yards after leading the Huskies to a last-play victory over No. 9 Oregon last week.

Arizona has lost six straight after a season-opening win over FCS Southern Utah, matching the team record set in 2009.

Ro Torrence snagged Penix’s poor pass on the Huskies’ first possession, though Arizona State failed to convert when Dario Longhetto’s 31-yard field-goal attempt bounced off the right upright. Longhetto also had a second-half attempt blocked.

Penix drove the Huskies down to the 7 early in the second quarter. But linebacker Caleb McCullough tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and Shamari Simmons intercepted it at the 3. Simmons added a fumble recovery on Washington’s next drive at the Huskies 47 after Penix botched the handoff to Dillon Johnson to set up the Sun Devils’ first score.

Washington had little more success in the second half, hearing boos from fans as two late drives petered out. A pass-interference call helped move the Huskies to the Arizona State 27 early in the first quarter, but Penix was 2 of 5 on the drive and Washington settled for a 47-yard field goal to make it 7-6.

The Sun Devils were putting together a gritty drive before Bourguet’s interception, which came on a telegraphed pass to a receiver on a long throw to the right sideline.

Gross added a 24-yard field goal.

Penix was 27 of 42 for 275 yards and the two picks, while the Huskies were outgained 341-288. Bourguet passed for 196 yards with the interception.

The takeaway

Arizona State: The Sun Devils had beaten the Huskies 13 out of 15 times this century, so the punch in the nose they delivered wasn’t unexpected. But the team desperately needed a win with three out of the next four games against ranked teams.

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