Huskies lose another one

In a game between two teams on downward spirals Washington and Arizona State faced off for the first time since 2002 in Sun Devil Stadium with ASU pulling out a 44-20 win over the hapless Huskies. ASU was able to stop their "out-of-control" spin by taking advantage of several Husky miscues and again the Dawgs were unable to take advantage of situations tailor-made to help right a lost season.

The game started off well for the Dawgs as they took the opening kickoff and QB Isaiah Stanback hit wideout Anthony Russo on a crossing pattern that went for 61 yards down to the Arizona State 19 yard-line. However, as has been the case the last two seasons and especially in 2005, the Huskies were unable to punch the ball in for a touchdown, settling for a 30-yard Evan Knudson field goal and they were quickly out to a 3-0 lead, much like last week against the USC Trojans.

On the following kickoff, the Huskies pinned the Sun Devils on their 22 yard-line, but as is the Huskies way, they simply continued to make mental errors as they were penalized for being offsides on the kickoff. After the five-yard penalty and a re-kick, ASU's Terry Richards, second in the conference in kickoff returns with a 28.5-yard average, hit the wedge hard and brought the ball all the way up to mid-field.

Sun Devils starting QB Rudy Carpenter took the Sun Devils to a touchdown, hitting all of his passes. While the versatile Rudy Burgess gained 21 yards rushing and eight receiving, it was Carpenter who finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown on a sneak.

The Huskies started their next drive on their own 20 and gained two first downs, but when Stanback tried to struggle for an extra yard for another first down, he fumbled the ball on a hit by junior S Zach Catanese and the Devils again had excellent field-position recovering the ball on their own 43.

The Devils wasted little time in taking advantage of the Husky miscue as Carpenter hit 4 of 5 passes for 27 yards and completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Matt Miller to put the Sun Devils up 14-3.

For once the Huskies did have an answer, as they started their next drive on their own 26 yard-line and proceeded on a nine-play, 76-yard march ending with RB James Sims going in from one yard out. On the drive, Sims ran as hard as a Husky back has in some time, gaining 24 yards, 15 after he was hit in the backfield. Sims capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run on second down and the Huskies were quickly within four at 14-10.

ASU came back quickly going 80 yards in three plays as Carpenter hit a streaking Miller, who beat Husky CB Roy Lewis, for a 69-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field.

After an exchange of possessions, the Huskies took over on their own 27 yard-line, following a missed field goal by ASU, and Sims continued to rack up huge yardage after contact rushing for 27 yards, getting into the endzone on a tough three-yard run and the Huskies again were within reach at 21-17.

Sims had 99 yards rushing in the first half and finished with game with a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury.

When Carpenter led the Devils back onto the field with 1:48 on the clock the Husky defense was called upon to make a stop and get their offense another chance to score, but as has been the Huskies' bugaboo for the better part of the last five seasons, they could not make a play on third-and-long.

Carpenter dropped back to pass on third-and-nine and while being hit by LB Joe Lobendahn, threw the ball up for grabs down the middle of the field. Sun Devils WR Moey Mutz was bracketed by LB Scott White and S C.J. Wallace, but somehow Mutz came away with the ball and a 38-yard gain.

In a bit of a moral victory, the defense held strong against the ASU attack holding the Sun Devils to a field goal as time expired in the first half.

At halftime ASU had 285 yards of offense, but Washington was hanging tough themselves with 273, a majority on the ground and the score was closer than some expected as the Sun Devils held only a seven point lead, 24-17.

ASU got the opening kickoff of the second half and again the Huskies had a chance to hold them to a three-and-out, but again they were unable to do it as big-play WR Derek Hagan caught an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 in front of CB Durrell Moss for a first down.

Even with the first down, the Huskies began to get a lot more pressure on Carpenter as DE Greyson Gunheim and true freshman LB Chris Stevens recorded sacks. Gunheim also had a near-miss on a sack blowing up T Stephen Berg and hitting Carpenter on 3rd-and-11 and forcing an incomplete pass.

After the first punt of the game for the Sun Devils, on their first possession of the second half, the Huskies took over on their own 21 yard-line and Stanback again found Russo for another big gain on the first play from scrimmage going for 34 yards all the way down to the ASU 36. After a couple more first downs, Stanback and the Huskies stalled on the Sun Devils 18 and had to settle for a 35-yard Knudson field goal.

On 2nd-and-8 from the ASU 10, Stanback had Russo in the flat with no one in front of him, but the junior quarterback misfired and the Huskies missed a golden opportunity to pull even. As it was they pulled within four a 24-20 and were very much in the game in the middle of the third quarter.

The Sun Devils came out and drove the ball from their own 15 down to the Huskies 22 and appeared headed for another touchdown, but the Huskies defense stiffened again as Lobendahn sacked Carpenter on 3rd-and-nine and took ASU out of field goal range.

The sack by the senior linebacker was made even more impressive by the fact that Lobendahn was helped off the field two plays before.

Sims continued to impress with his hard running early on the next drive, but another problem arose for the senior from Las Vegas as he fumbled the ball on a tough hit at mid-field and ASU had excellent field position yet again. Following that play, Sims left the field and underwent X-Rays on his forearm, but he did return late in the game.

ASU, the second-most penalized team in the conference, continued to hurt themselves with penalties all night. Throughout the game they prolonged UW drives with penalties on their defense and on the drive following the Sims fumble they had a 45-yard pass called back because of an ineligible receiver penalty.

After two more sacks, one by a trio of Dawgs and the last by senior DT Mike Mapuolesega the Huskies held the Sun Devils to another punt and they had a chance to take the lead with a long drive.

Replacing Sims was junior RB Kenny James who continues to suffer with a sore shoulder. James was held short of a first down on 3rd-and-one and head coach Tyrone Willingham decided not to go for it even though the Husky offensive line had had their way with the Sun Devils front-seven.

Willingham appeared happy to let his emerging defense hold ASU deep in their own territory, but Richardson had different ideas. After fielding the 40-yard punt by P Sean Douglas, Richardson juked two Washington tacklers and scampered 20 yards to the ASU 35.

The Husky defense also didn't cooperate, allowing the Sun Devils to march 64 yards on nine pays as Carpenter eventually hit his favorite target on the night, Miller, for a 10-yard touchdown. Miller finished the night with a game-high five catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns.

Down 11, Stanback continued to show why he is still unable to lead this team to victory. On first down, he had about 20 yards of open-field in front of him, however he decided to throw into triple-coverage instead and almost had his pass intercepted. Never fear, Stanback gave it up two plays later when he was intercepted by ASU senior linebacker Jamar Williams, effectively ending any chance the Huskies had to come back and win the game.

Arizona State capped off the scoring with a Preston Jones 10-yard touchdown run and a 60-yard interception return of a Johnny DuRocher pass by Sun Devils CB Josh Golden as time expired.

Stanback had his worst game of the season hitting only 8 of 20 passes for 171 yards with no touchdowns and the one interception. He did finish with eight carries for 48 yards, prolonging two drives with big runs, but alas, it wasn't enough as the Huskies continued their 10-game road losing-streak, and 12-game conference losing streak.

Defensively, the Huskies allowed Carpenter to pass for 401 yards and three touchdowns, but they did post seven sacks and harassed him all throughout the second half.

The Huskies return home to face the reeling Oregon State Beavers who were upset by Arizona 29-27 at home.

Dawgman.com Top Stories