Devils Defeat Huskies, Remain Undefeated in Pac-10

Even those Devil fans with rose color glasses wouldn't deny that ASU's 27-16 win over Washington wasn't a thing of beauty. However speaking of roses, this win did bring Dirk Koetter's team closer to that New Year's Day game in Pasadena. This victory, as lackluster as it may be, assured ASU a winning record and most likely an invitation to a bowl game, wherever that may be.

It was a relatively quiet night for the Sun Devil offense. Quarterback Andrew Walter was economical with 18-27 for 184 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. At times he was feeling pressured as he was sacked three times. Taking away his sacks, the team rushed for 94 yards, and just like in recent weeks this offensive aspect was spotty, yet effective when it counted. The leading rusher was Hakim Hill with 35 yards on 13 carries. Hill also scored one rushing touchdown, to along with another passing one. Shaun McDonald hauled down three passes for 50 yards and a score. Overall the Husky defense did a good job taking away the Devils' long pass capability that was paramount in the Oregon win last week.

Defensively, the home team played a near flawless game for three quarters. During that period, ASU gave up only three points and held Pickett, who came in averaging over 350 yards, a game, to only 70. Nonetheless, breakdowns and questionable penalties allowed the visitors to score 13 points in the fourth quarter and prevent a route. Pickett was sacked eight times, and picked off once. Statically it was all about Terrell Suggs. Not only did he tally up 4.5 sacks – good enough to tie the NCAA record, but he also led all Sun Devil tacklers with 12, and forced a fumble. Other defensive standouts were Riccardo Stewart – 10 tackles, three for a loss, and Jimmy Verdon with eight tackles and a sack.

On special teams it was another solid night for the ASU kickers. Mike Barth was a perfect 2-2 on his field goals, and punter Tim Parker averaged 44.2 yards a punt. The 74 yards in kickoff returns and 22 yards in punt returns allowed aren't stellar stats, but they were negated by 52 yards in punt returns and 81 yards in kickoff returns. The 153 penalty yards, debatable calls and all, are a genuine area of concern and must be remedied in a hurry if the Devils wish to be playing in January.

The joyless feeling in the locker room following the win is a healthy indicator of the team's ambitions. This ASU team isn't satisfied by just winning, but it does greatly care about the manner in that their feat is achieved. Now the stage is set for a battle of the last couple unbeaten conference teams, which will take place in Pullman, Washington. And while ugly wins are frowned upon in Tempe, a victory over Washington State on the road will be welcomed with open arms this Saturday.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories