Tough Break-ASU Suffers a Tough Loss to WSU

The Arizona State Sun Devils' slim hopes for a postseason berth were dealt a crushing blow after visiting No. 12/11-ranked Washington State beat ASU 28-16 at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils were victimized by big plays, a porous pass defense and some untimely calls by the officials. It all added up to another Pac-10 loss for ASU (now 1-5 in the conference) and set the Sun Devils below .500 (at 4-5) for the first time this season.

The turning point in the game came in the third quarter. With ASU trailing 14-9, backup quarterback Andrew Walter, subbing for the injured Jeff Krohn, scrambled to avoid the rush. But a blindside hit jarred the ball loose. Raonall Smith picked up the fumble and scampered 27 yards for a touchdown. Replays clearly showed Walter was down, but the refs never blew the whistle. The crucial play gave WSU a 21-9 lead.

"I'm on the other side of the field at ground level. Everyone of you had a better view of it than I did," Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said after the game. "We get the benefit of replay, and you guys saw the replay."

Both starting quarterbacks went down with injuries. Jeff Krohn didn't play in the second half for Arizona State because of a sore right shoulder. Washington State's Jason Gesser left in the third quarter with a slight concussion. Even Walter, Krohn's backup, got nicked on a quarterback sack, giving way to Matt Cooper for a few plays. No matter the quarterback, the results were the same-an inconsistent offensive performance by ASU.

Cooper led Arizona State on its final scoring drive, which ended when Delvon Flowers scored from the 2-yard line with 9:42 to play, cutting the lead to 21-16. The Cougars answered when running back Dave Minnich took a handoff and tossed a 21-yard pass to a receiver Collin Henderson to make it 28-16.

With the win, Washington State snapped a string of four consecutive defeats to the Sun Devils. Delvon Flowers paced ASU with 137 yards on 31 carries. Krohn tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Shaun McDonald in the first quarter. McDonald caught five passes for 169 yards. But it was the loss of Krohn that seemed to let the air out of ASU's offense.

"I couldn't put anything on the ball when I was trying to warm up for the second half," Krohn said. "They tried to tape it up but I still couldn't and there was no way I could really go."

The Sun Devils next face Arizona the day after Thanksgiving. All that's left to play for is pride. That game still has a lot of meaning to boosters, fans and the program. ASU has two weeks to get healthy for the intrastate battle.

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