Behind the Numbers: ASU football pulls off improbable upset against Washington

The Sun Devils' defense shut down the Huskies high-powered offense on Saturday

In front of a raucous crowd on Saturday night in Tempe, ASU football authored a script nobody saw coming. 

The Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) defeated No. 5 Washington (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) 13-7 in a blackout game at Sun Devil Stadium, sending the college football world into a frenzy. 

Not only did ASU defeat a team that came into the night with the top-scoring offense in the Pac-12 and the second best defense in the country, but the Sun Devils also dominated on defense. 

Nobody knows what this win means for ASU going forward, but when the clock hit zero and the fans ran onto the field to celebrate, this program-defining win will ultimately put head coach Todd Graham and company right in the thick of the Pac-12 South division race. 

Here's a look at how the Sun Devils captured its second win over a ranked opponent at home. 


With the win on Saturday, ASU defeated a top-five team for the first time in 21 years and only the third time overall in program history. 

In 1996, quarterback Jake Plummer and the Sun Devils shut out No. 1 Nebraska in Tempe, 19-0. 


ASU's defense held Washington to seven points, marking it just the third time since 2012 that the Huskies were held to under 10 points.

Washington entered Saturday night's showdown with the top scoring offense in the Pac-12, with an average of 43 points per game in its first six contests. 


ASU defensive coordinator Phil Bennett's unit held the Huskies to a season-low 230 yards of total offense. 

Head coach Chris Petersen and the Huskies entered the game averaging 432.3 total yards of offense per game. 

The 230 yards is the fewest for Washington versus a Pac-12 opponent under Petersen. 


The Sun Devils' defensive line sacked Washington junior quarterback Jake Browning five times for a loss of 45 total yards. 

Before facing ASU, the Huskies offensive line had given up only six sacks in the preceding games. 


In addition to sacking Browning five times, the Sun Devils defense also generated nine tackles for a loss of 51 yards. 

ASU's ability to generate negative plays forced Washington to constantly compensate for lost yards early in drives on third down and long.


The Huskies needed an average of 8.1 yards to move the chains on third down. 

Washington came into its seventh game of the season having converted 51 percent of its third down opportunities, but the Huskies were only 3-for-14 on third down (21.4 percent) against ASU. 


Washington senior wide receiver Dante Pettis began Saturday's contest leading the nation in yards per punt return (31.8) and had an NCAA record tying eight career punt returns for a touchdown. 

ASU limited Pettis to three returns for a total of seven yards, around two yards per return. 


Washington's defense came into the game with the second best defense, but the Huskies could not produce a turnover. 

Graham said winning the turnover battle was a big key to beating a top-five team. 


Washington redshirt freshman kicker Van Soderberg missed both of his field goal attempts in the third quarter for a combined distance of 48 yards. 

Soderberg's misses from 27- and 21-yards out equaled the combined distance of ASU freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz's 47-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. 


ASU's offense was a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth down. 

The last fourth down conversion, a miraculous throw and catch into traffic from redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins to junior tight end Ceejhay French-Love sealed the game. 

 Reach the reporter at or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.