Devils tame Huskies in dramatic victory

Bizarre win? Improbable win? Redeeming win? You can pick you own title for ASU's 24-17 win over Washington but the end result would still be the same. The Sun Devils have had their miscues on both sides of the ball, but both the offense and defense were clutch when it all mattered, culminating with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Danny Sullivan to Chris McGaha five seconds from the end of the game.

"We were just trying to get something about 18, 20 yards, so that we would have a chance for Thomas [Weber] to kick a field goal," Danny Sullivan said about the winning play. "We had the inside guy kind of going the opposite hash and their safety went for him. I saw [McGaha] over here running, wide open, and just told myself 'do not overthrow this,' and I made the throw and he made the catch."

Ironically it was Chris McGaha's only catch of the game. Furthermore, due to the flu the senior didn't practice all week and just a couple of days before kickoff it was decided he would play. He sparingly participated during the game, but naturally made the most of his golden opportunity.

"It seemed like it took forever for the ball to come down;" McGaha described his winning play. "It was in the air for awhile. I'm just happy I got the opportunity to score a touchdown and win the game."

In the first half it seemed that everything would go but Arizona State's (4-2, 2-1 Pac-10) way. A personal foul, the first of three, on linebacker Vontaze Burfict kept a drive alive for Washington (3-4, 2-2), which culminated with a 49-yard score from Jake Locker to Devin Aguilar just two and half minutes into the game.

The hosts answered quickly in a drive which covered 74 yards and ended with a Sullivan one-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone. The ASU offense showed much creativity, especially in the first stanza, and no play manifested it larger than a trick play where wide receiver Kyle Williams got the ball on an end around play and threw an ill-advised pass which luckily landed in the hands of a tightly covered T.J. Simpson for a 32-yard score and a 14-7 lead.

"I probably shouldn't have thrown it," Williams admitted. "We've been practicing that for about two years. Oddly enough, we finally ran it. T.J. (Simpson) was covered. I give all the credit to him. It was a terrible throw, but he made a great play and all the credit goes to him for that one."

But the oddity of this football game was just beginning.

In the ensuing Husky possession, Burfict was called for two personal fouls, Pierre Singfield committed a pass interference, and Corey Adams was flagged for a face mask. All penalties advanced the visitors to a 1st and goal situation on ASU's 10-yard line.

Locker threw an interception from that spot to ASU's Ryan McFoy, a play that would obviously attest to be costly later in the contest.

The maroon and gold seemed poised to make Washington pay for that aforementioned turnover when Williams caught a Sullivan pass deep in the red zone. Alas, the senior fumbled on the 5-yard line and the pigskin rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.

Both team exchanged missed field goals, and after ASU's Thomas Weber connected on a 24 yarder, The Huskies' Chris Polk answered with a 23-yard scamper.

The Sun Devils couldn't capitalize on a Washington kickoff fumble, while Weber missed another three-point attempt. Washington drove the ball into the red zone but could only muster three points.

Both teams punted the ball in their next respective possessions, and when ASU got the ball back with 13 seconds there weren't too many in attendance at Sun Devil stadium who could have predicted the dramatic finish that eventually took place.

Head Coach Dennis Erickson liked his team's resiliency in the win; however he was disappointed with the missed opportunities to add points on the board.

"We had to win it like we won it," Erickson stated. "They (Washington) had to win a couple of those themselves. I guess it evens out when it's all said and done. All the years I've been coaching I remember winning a game on the last play like that.

"To win a game like that, right now in this program and where we are at. It's a huge win for us."

It's anybody's guess how ASU's season will eventually unfold, but if the Sun Devils did ultimately qualify for post-season play, it would be hard not to point to this game as the catalyst for the turnaround from last season.


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