A look back at ASU’s 53-24 win over Washington Saturday afternoon:
A bad night for UW’s offense
What happened to the Huskies offense?
First and foremost, give credit to ASU’s defense. After being criticized for not being able to stop the run, the front-seven responded by shutting down Huskies junior tailback Bishop Sankey, the nation’s leading rusher, to just 22 yards and harassing senior quarterback Keith Price.
Still, what an uncharacteristic loss for a team that was supposed to be a dark horse for the Pac-12 Championship, tying its season-low in points scored in one game.
Price had a game that he probably wants to forget. A 69.3 percent passer coming into the game, he finished throwing 16-for-39 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and had -26 net rushing yards.
ASU sacked Price seven times, but the defensive line hurried him many more times throughout the entire night. Toward the middle of the game, Price was slower to get up every time he got hit. He finally left the game for good in the middle of the fourth quarter, and Washington brought in true freshman quarterback Cyler Myles.
It wasn’t all due to ASU’s defense. Price had several chances of hurting the Sun Devils by targeting wide-open receivers running deep inside slants, but he overthrew them several times. Price finally made ASU pay by finding senior wide receiver Kevin Smith up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown.
Surprisingly, the ASU secondary didn’t come up with an interception the entire game, though it tipped many errant passes. The only other game the Sun Devils didn’t have an interception was against Wisconsin on Sept. 14.
So if Washington was having a bad game in the air, the logical move for the Huskies is to turn to Sankey, right? They hardly did that.
Sankey scored the first touchdown of the game and looked like he was about to torment ASU for the rest of the night but he remained quiet from that point. Sankey had just 13 carries and averaged 1.7 yards per carry. Washington had 40 total pass attempts while rushing just 25 times (including sacks).
Again, give credit to the Sun Devils’ defensive line. Sankey’s longest carry only went for 10 yards. Even redshirt senior defensive end Gannon Conway played well against Sankey and once tripped him in the backfield for a loss, so there really was no reason for Washington to adjust into a running team midgame.
The Huskies’ offense averages 481.9 total yards (after Saturday’s game). It only had 212 yards in Tempe.
Larry Scott addresses media
During Saturday’s game, the Pac-12 referees made sure every call was correct, especially the questionable ones that needed to be reviewed.
That’s because Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was in Tempe watching the game. Scott addressed the media in the press box before the game.
Of course, the Pac-12’s negotiations with DirecTV were among the topics discussed. Scott said the conference will not take a bad deal and concede to DirecTV.
“We’ve already got an obligation with 50 distributors we already have deals with on the same basis,” Scott said. “In fairness and legally, we can’t do a (different) deal with someone else that we wouldn’t have done for them. We already have a responsibility with the schools. We know we have a great product. … We got to do it in a way that’s financially responsible but also in a way that allows us to keep programming and doing more shows like ‘The Drive’.”
He also added that he thinks DirecTV will eventually make a deal and noted it took the NFL Network eight years to finally reach an agreement with Time Warner Cable.
Scott was also impressed with how receptive ASU has been about the Pac-12 Networks series “The Drive” all season. The Pac-12 Networks has been shooting the Sun Devils’ practices and has featured the team in every episode.
“(ASU coach) Todd Graham was great,” Scott said. “He was the first to raise his hand and say, ‘If you’re going to do something like that, I want to be in on it. I want the country to see what I do with this program.’ He’s been terrific. I’ve been delighted with the quality of the show. I think it’s great for fans to get to know Todd, get to know his program. He thinks it’s a great recruiting advantage.”
The conference has also been scrutinized over the past year for several officiating debacles, including the end of the ASU-Wisconsin game and the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals in April when UA coach Sean Miller was handed an unwarranted technical foul that cost the Wildcats the game against UCLA. Scott said he was unhappy with the end of the ASU-Wisconsin game but said the conference is always grading officials and adjusting their assignments to ensure quality.
“There’s always going to be issues that come up with officiating,” Scott said. “You strive for perfection but that’s never an attainable goal.”
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