Devils bounce back, shut out Cougars

No trick, all treat. On Halloween eve ASU played their most complete game of the year blanking Washington State 42-0. After a 50-17 drubbing by Cal last weekend, the maroon and gold returned on homecoming weekend to a .500 record, giving themselves and their fans hope that the 2010 season is still salvageable.

With this win Arizona State (4-4, 2-3 Pac-10) recorded its third-largest shutout win in ASU's Pac-10 history. The last shutout for the Sun Devils was a 31-0 victory over Washington State on Nov. 15, 2008.

"We needed a win," said ASU head coach Dennis Erickson. "We don't have much room for error to accomplish a goal that we want, which is to go to a bowl game so we've just got to focus every week. That's what we're trying to accomplish and we have to take one at a time.

"It was good coming off the performance we had a week ago, obviously it was good to see us come out and compete and show a lot of character because that's not easy to do."

Washington State (1-8, 0-6) may have been confident earlier in the week that could prevail over the then struggling Sun Devils, but the hosts came out strong from the opening kickoff and in their first possession dissected the Cougars defense during a 15 play 76-yard drive consuming 6:12 minutes and culminating with a 7-yard run by Cameron Marshall.

That score marked fifth straight game this season where ASU scored first.

ASU quarterback Steven Threet shook off a horrendous outing in Berkeley last Saturday, and threw for three scores and no interceptions. Two of his touchdown passes in the first half went to Jamal Miles and sandwiched between both those scores was a 3-yard scamper by Deantre Lewis which gave the Sun Devils a commanding 28-0 edge at halftime.

In the first half the ASU defense forced the visitors into two interceptions and three punts. When they stopped the Cougars on downs late in the first half this allowed the second of Miles' touchdowns with just 11 seconds left in the period.

The second half was less explosive offensively for ASU but at this point it was all academic. Once again the Sun Devils scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the stanza, which was Threet's third touchdown pass of the evening - a seven yarder to Marshall. Following that Threet score Brock Osweiler took the rest of the snaps for the remainder of the contest. Kyle Middlebrooks sealed the game's final score with a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

The Sun Devil defense caught a break en route to their shutout when Washington State muffed a field goal snap with just over two minutes left in the contest as they turned over the ball on downs for the second time this evening.

Threet perhaps had his best game as a Sun Devil completing 26 of 32 passes for an even 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Marshall and Lewis each had nine carries collecting 43 and 40 yards respectively. T.J. Simpson paced all players with five catches and 90 receiving yards.

ASU outgained Washington State 493 to 264 in offensive yards. The Cougars averaged a measly 0.2 yards a carry much in part to the Sun Devils' five sacks, there of them recorded by defensive end Junior Onyeali. Cornerback Osahon Irabor led ASU with six total tackles. Washington State signal caller Jeff Tuel completed 17 of 26 passes for 200 yards and two interceptions.

The Sun Devils begin their quest to win three out of the next four games for bowl eligibility with a road meeting at USC, who tonight dropped a 53-32 decision to Oregon. It's anyone's guess what the Trojans' mindset will be after that defeat, and needless to say that it will perhaps take another complete effort by ASU to come away with a victory that could go a long way in improving their chances for post-season play.

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