Huskies Edge Devils With Last Minute Field Goal

There were three glaring facts about the Washington Huskies coming into their match with ASU. First, they were ranked nearly last in running the ball. Second, they did a poor job stopping the run s well. Third, they had an unbelievable knack this year coming back in the fourth quarter to win games.

Unfortunately, the first two facts did not materialize at all during the Sun Devils 33-31 loss to the visiting Huskies. Washington out gained Arizona State 188-121 on the ground. Furthermore, the last minute 30-yard field goal by John Anderson painfully proved the third Husky fact and sent the 50,106 in attendance home with frustration and long faces.

Offensively, it was a better showing for quarterback Jeff Krohn. His numbers on the night were 17-29 for 320 yards. He had two TD's to go along with one interception. Krohn's 207 yards and 9-13 efficiency in eth second half speared a furious comeback, which saw the Devils come back from a 24-10 half time deficit. Receiver Shaun McDonald was again the Krohn's main target with 194 yards on nine catches, one of them a 43-yard touchdown. The ground game was a huge disappointment. The Devils gained 60 yards in the first half and only 121 for the game, a far cry from their 314 rushing yard effort last week against Oregon State. Delvon Flowers was effectively contained with 64 yards on 19 attempts. ASU lost the time of possession battle, which turned out to be detrimental to the game's outcome.

When analyzing the Devils' defense there's a lot of mixed criticism to pass on. The 87 rushing yards, and 164 yards in the first half were a main contributor to the hole ASU put itself in eth first half. On the other hand, the final Washington stats which show 188 yards rushing, and 252 yards passing, would imply somewhat of an improvement on defense, not to talk about giving up only 9 points in the second half. Nevertheless, the last Husky drive of 18 plays 78 yards, taking off the final 7:12 minutes of the fourth quarter, is the lasting impression that coaches and fans have of this game. Washington's running back Willie Hurst was a thorn in ASU's side with 185 yards and one score. Hurst's running in that last drive helped Washington moved the ball down ASU's throat and to the eventual winning field goal. Undoubtedly, the Sun Devils help the Huskies, at least for one game, shed the image of a club who cannot run the ball effectively.

Special teams had their ups and downs as well, and a crucial penalty in the waning moments of the fourth quarter is all they will be remembered for this game. With 0:51 seconds left in the game, Washington lined up for a field goal that even when successful, could leave ASU ample time to try and win the game in the fourth quarter. A horrific off sides penalty by the special teams (which virtually consisted of the first team defense), allowed the visitors to milk the clock down and hand ASU its first home loss. A missed 42-yard field goal by Mike Barth in the first half, ultimately came back to hunt the home team. These two blunders negated a solid punting game by Nick Murphy (an average of 42 yards and no returns allowed) and this unit's first blocked punt on the year which helped ASU score a safety, as well as a touchdown following Washington's safety-forced free kick. If anyone doubted the impact that special teams can have on a game's score, the proof came tonight against the defending Pac-10 champs.

History is doomed to repeat itself, and another ASU-Washington game turned out to be a high scoring thriller, where once again the last team to have possession won the game. Now, ASU must pick itself up and venture over to Eugene to play Oregon in one of the most hostile environments in the Pac-10. At 4-3, ASU still has a shot for a 6-5 record, which should award them a bowl game. Nevertheless, many wanted to accomplish more than that, and even that modest goal has been put right now in serious jeopardy.

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