Suggs, ASU bedevil Dawgs

<b>TEMPE, AZ:</b> Terrell Suggs tied an NCAA mark for sacks in a season and the havoc raised by Arizona State's defense was enough to seriously rattle Cody Pickett and the Washington offense as the Sun Devils rolled to a 27-16 win in front of 56, 101 Devil faithful in Tempe Saturday evening.

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  • Suggs harassed and hurried Pickett for 4.5 sacks on the night, giving him 17.5 for the season, tying him with Syracuse's Dwight Freeney, who set the mark last year. Ironically enough, the NCAA didn't keep sack stats until just recently, so Terrell needs 1.5 more sacks to tie the Pac-10 record, held by Arizona's Tedy Bruschi (1993) and USC's Tim Ryan (1989). The ASU single-season record is also 19, held by Al Harris (1978). The Sun Devil defense had 8 sacks altogether and a whopping 17 tackles for loss against a Husky offensive line already suffering from a lack of cohesion and semi-healthy.

    Pickett was held for under 300 yards for the first time this season, completing 18 of 37 attempts for 210 yards and 1 touchdown. He was also victimized by Solomon Bates, who picked Cody off early in the game to cause a momentum shift the Huskies were never able to recover from. The only thing that went well for Washington was the coin toss, which they won. After that, Sun Devil Head Coach Dirk Koetter put together a plan to methodically wear down the Husky defense, and sophomore QB Andrew Walter ran it well, completing 18 of 27 passes for 184 and two touchdowns.

    Washington was buried early inside their own 5 after the opening kickoff and were able to muster a couple of first downs before the Sun Devil pass rush got to Pickett for a loss of ten yards on the Washington 23. Derek McLaughlin handed ASU beautiful field position inside Husky territory with a 19-yard punt, setting up a 7 play, 42-yard drive that lasted 2:27. The key play was a backside screen to Mike Pinkard from Andrew Walter that had the Dawgs fooled. Only a fumble on the run and some serious hustle by Ben Mahdavi kept Pinard from finding paydirt. Tailback Cornell Canidate was happy though to push it the extra yard for 6.

    The next big swing came courtesy of ASU's Mason Unck. Unck creamed Charles Frederick on a punt return, forcing the football loose. Brett Hudson scooped up the loose ball for the Devils. On a 4th and 1 from the Washington 37, Koetter rolled the dice and almost came up big. With a quick snap, Hakim Hill was running all alone down the sideline and all he had to do was catch it and he was gone for a touchdown. Problem was, Hill let the ball slip from his hands and Neuheisel's team dodged a big-time bullet.

    But Suggs was just getting warm. He showed why he's an All-American candidate by ripping through the UW line on the Huskies' next possession, sacking Pickett for a 7-yard loss. Suggs got his mitts on Pickett again, and forced Pickett into an ill-advised throw. Bates was more than happy to grab Pickett's miscue, taking it 22 yards to the Washington 6. From there, Walter hooked up with Hill on a swing pass for all the yards ASU would need on the drive. Mike Barth put through the PAT on a scoring drive that lasted 3 plays, 6 yards and took off 1:27 on the clock. The first period would end with the home team on top 14-0 and the visitors still searching for answers they would never find.

    Another Husky three-and-out had Sun Devil Stadium rocking and the opponents reeling. But just when it looked like ASU might try and salt away a victory, Washington's defense came up with a fumble recovery. Hill's fumble was pounced on by Washington's Joe Lobendahn, and for the first time the Huskies saw what the view was like from within Sun Devil territory.

    But it didn't last long, as Washington's offense did a whale of an imitation of a car going backwards out of control. After a couple of penalties and a sack by ASU's Jimmy Verdon, Derek McLauglin got his foot into one but the Husky defenders couldn't keep it in play.

    At their own 20, Walter and the Devils went right back to work. Mike Karney got ASU a quick first down but then Washington's defense stiffened up and forced a Tim Parker punt. The punt traveled 44 yards to the Washington 17.

    The option slowly crept into Washington offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson's game plan Saturday night, and Zach Tuiasosopo was a big part. He earned a first down and helped move the pile to the Husky 32. Eddie Jackson made a first down grab to bring the ball out to the UW 46. Braxton Cleman was the recipient of a giant hole opened up by Kevin Ware, Robin Meadow and Elliot Zajac, and he rolled down to the ASU 36. Paul Arnold kept the drive alive with a key third down grab, but Suggs once again came up with another sack of Pickett, his third of the half, to force a 40-yard field goal attempt by John Anderson.

    Anderson's FG conversion made the score 14-3 with 1:57 left in the half and capped off a 13-play drive that consumed 60 yards and ate up 6 minutes of clock. ASU tried to get down into position for a field goal, but Terry Johnson would have nothing of it. The junior from Tempe sacked Walter for a 9-yard loss and forced a Parker punt. Parker's 50 yard boot was fielded by Frederick at the Washington 7, and he returned it 9 yards to the 16. A Cleman draw netted 4 more, but ASU's Nick Johnson squelched any hope of a Husky big play with another sack of Pickett to end the half. Ironically enough, Washington nearly doubled the Devils in time of possession in the first two frames, 19:31 to 10:29 and held ASU to 0 net yards rushing.

    Canidate was the workhorse for the Devils coming out for the third period. He accounted for all the first downs as ASU methodically drove down to the Washington 15. Walter then went to his bread-and-butter man, Shaun McDonald. McDonald split his defenders in the middle of the endzone and Walter was right on with his pass to give ASU 6 more on the board. Barth's PAT gave ASU a commanding 21-3 lead at that point.

    The drive was just what Koetter wanted. It ate 5 minutes of clock and re-established an anemic Sun Devil rushing attack.

    The Huskies fed off of ASU's generosity during their next drive. A pass interference call on third-and-19 and a spearing penalty moved the ball into ASU territory, but Suggs racked up his fourth sack of the day and Tuiasosopo was stuffed on a 3rd and 2, forcing Neuheisel to make a decision.

    Neuheisel went for it, but Pickett was woefully short on a pass out to the flat to Frederick, and the Devils took over on downs.

    McDonald once again caught a long pass from Walter, but Marquis Cooper was able to get pressure on the ASU QB, and Anthony Kelley and Jerome Stevens were able to clean it up, forcing another Parker punt. His 37-yard boot was downed by the Devils at the Washington 27.

    After a pass interference call on Hudson, the Devils clamped down on Pickett and forced a McLaughlin punt that quickly turned into a botched handle and a 13-yard loss, giving ASU possession at the Washington 28.

    Nate Robinson, the true freshman corner from Seattle, looked to have come up with a big theft of Andrew Walter, but the officials ruled the catch was made out of bounds. The replays clearly showed Robinson making the catch. This gave the Devils a reprieve they took advantage of, kicking a 38-yard field goal to stretch their advantage to 21.

    Robinson tried to use the next kickoff to vindicate himself, but he ill-advisedly took a deep kickoff out of his endzone and was only able to reach the 5-yard line. After a 5-yard facemask penalty against the Devils, Reggie Williams was able to get the Dawgs a little bit out of the hole with a first down reception. But the junior QB from Caldwell, clearly rattled by ASU's persistent rush, went for one yard on his next three passes, forcing a 47-yard McLaughlin punt that was fair caught at the ASU 26.

    The beleagured Husky defense finally started to give way on the ground, as Hill, Canidate and Mike Williams started rolling off chunks of yardage. And just when it looked like Koetter was content to keep things rolling on the ground, he sent Mike Karney on a wheel route that left Jafar Williams in the dust. Again, as with Hill earlier, he couldn't keep the handle on a sure TD-throw from Walter and the Devils settled for a 40-yard field goal from Barth.

    The ASU drive lasted 51 yards on 10 plays and took 4:48 off the clock.

    Suggs kept the pressure on again, getting credited with a half-sack, breaking the NCAA mark for sacks in one season. Pickett was undeterred, throwing a bomb to Williams that went for 41 yards on a third-and-18. Safety Joey Smith got in on the fun, taking Pickett down for an 11-yard loss and putting a big exclamation point on a night that saw the Devil D tear apart Washington's offensive line.

    After that, it was fairly academic. The Huskies did get back in the scoring column a couple more times, via a Paul Arnold touchdown pass and Chris Singleton one-yard burst, but by then the Devils had more than put things away. Singleton came in during Washington's first possession in the third quarter when Rich Alexis got banged up. Rich would not return to the game.

    Braxton Cleman led the Husky rushing attack with 40 yards on 5 carries, while Singleton added 33 yards and Tuiasosopo 18. Nine Dawgs caught passes from Pickett, led by Pat Reddick's 4 grabs for 43 yards. Reggie Williams was a non-factor for most of the game until the 41-yard bomb with 8 minutes to go in the game. The Husky defense had three sacks and 9 tackles for loss, led by Ben Mahdavi's 10 tackles and Jafar Williams' one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Top Stories