The defense played a crucial role in the football game but couldn’t secure a win against No. 5 Washington.

The defense played a crucial role in the football game but couldn’t secure a win against No. 5 Washington.

In a Saturday night matchup at Husky Stadium, Sun Devil football (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12) had their hopes of an upset dashed as they fell short with a 15-7 loss to No. 5 Washington (7-0, 4-0). Arizona State held a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter and had advanced deep into Washington’s territory when Mishael Powell intercepted a pass from Trenton Bourguet and returned it 89 yards for a game-changing touchdown. The ASU defense then successfully thwarted the subsequent 2-point conversion attempt, maintaining the deficit at 12-7.

After the Huskies scored their third field goal of the game, Bourget managed to advance the Sun Devils to midfield. However, his pass to Jalin Conyers was broken up, ending their hopes of an upset.

Bourguet threw for 196 yards, completing passes to eight different receivers. His primary target was Elijah Badger, who made eight receptions for 50 yards. The Sun Devils amassed 145 rushing yards, with DeCarlos Brooks contributing 63 and Cam Skattebo adding 51.

The Sun Devil defense put pressure on the Huskies’ top-three offense, forcing four turnovers and preventing them from scoring a touchdown. Washington finished the game with 288 yards of total offense, their lowest since the last game of the 2021 season. Notably, the Huskies’ 13 rushing yards were the fewest allowed by an ASU defense since they held Stanford to the same total on October 8, 2021.

The defense played a crucial role in the football game but couldn't secure a win against No. 5 Washington.

Caleb McCullough led the team with eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a pass breakup. Ed Woods, Dashaun Mallory, and Elijah O’Neal each contributed one tackle-for-loss. Woods also had six tackles and forced a fumble.

Despite generating those turnovers, ASU managed to score only seven points from them. They were successful on just one of their three trips into the red zone and missed both field goal attempts.

In addition to causing problems for the Husky offense, the maroon and gold defense forced Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr. into committing four turnovers. He had a season-low of 275 passing yards, the lowest since joining Washington, and failed to score any touchdowns for the first time since ASU’s upset victory over Washington on October 8, 2022.

The Sun Devils will return home to Mountain America Stadium on October 28, where they’ll face Washington State at 5 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network and broadcast on the radio via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM or ESPN 620 AM, with Tim Healey and Jeff Van Raaphorst providing the commentary.

In the first quarter, the highly anticipated showdown between both schools saw Ro Torrence intercepting Penix halfway through the opening period. However, the Sun Devils couldn’t take advantage of the turnover. ASU achieved six first downs during the quarter and outgained the Huskies by 50 yards, demonstrating their determination to control the time of possession as they headed into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, much like the first, Penix was intercepted by Shamari Simmons just when it seemed the Huskies were on the verge of scoring. This marked only the second time in his Husky career that he had thrown two interceptions in a single game and his first red zone interception of the season.

Following an ASU punt, a fumble by Penix provided the Sun Devils with excellent field position at midfield. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the Sun Devils employed a no-huddle offense, and Skattebo scored his sixth touchdown of the season with a 1-yard run. Washington countered with a field goal, bringing the score to 7-3 at the conclusion of the first half.

In the third quarter, as play resumed, Washington suffered its fourth turnover of the game when Woods forced Ja’Lynn Polk to fumble the ball. However, the Sun Devils once more failed to capitalize on the favorable field position. After exchanging possessions, both offenses struggled to gain substantial yardage, and ASU had a field goal attempt blocked.

In the fourth quarter, Washington embarked on a 40-yard drive in seven plays, ultimately kicking a 47-yard field goal courtesy of Grady Gross. This brought the score to 7-6 in favor of ASU. The Sun Devils retaliated with Bourguet connecting with Badger for a 34-yard gain, setting the stage for a crucial interception by the Washington defense.