Saturday night's game is one of the biggest wins of ASU football history

In a match against the No. 5 Washington Huskies, it was the Sun Devil defense that reigned supreme

ASU fans walked out of Sun Devil Stadium with pride on Saturday night, and now the dust can finally settle on what was one of the greatest upsets in Sun Devil history. The victory was nothing short of remarkable as the Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1) beat the No. 5 Washington Huskies (6-1, 3-1) 13-7. 

At the helm of the surprise was ASU’s defense, which was expected to get steamrolled by the Huskies’ high-scoring offense.

However, five sacks flustered junior quarterback Jake Browning. 

While the players dominated, it was the well-executed game plan, designed by head coach Todd Graham, that was critical.

“Browning is a really good quarterback, and we affected him tonight,” Graham said. “Our players are smart. They executed the plan — they stayed disciplined throughout the whole night, and man, it was a thing of beauty.” 

Browning, the Huskies’ soon-to-be NFL gunslinger, proved to be flawed — especially on third and long. 

A high-powered UW offense converted three of 14 first downs. 

“Since I’ve been here, that is the best defensive performance, as far as how we pulled it off and how we did it — just the execution that it took. That was phenomenal,” Graham said.

The abundance of defensive pressure came from senior defensive lineman Tashon Smallwood and redshirt junior linebacker Christian Sam.

“Back ends, defensive ends, D-line — we all clicked," senior defensive lineman JoJo Wicker said. "Pretty much everybody had a sack except me.” 

Not only did they come up on the sack list, but so did senior linebacker DJ Calhoun and multiple others.

With such dominating defensive play the Sun Devils maintained possession for 34:55, nearly 10 minutes longer than the Huskies. 

“I am speechless on our performance,” Wicker said. “They scored on us one time, and they should not have done that. I don’t think they should have scored those points.”

Not only did ASU bring down Browning time after time, but the defense was a swarming unit from start to finish — so much so that UW had 17 total offensive yards at the end of the first quarter. 

On the offensive side of the ball, the Sun Devils never really got in a rhythm. 

ASU averaged a measly 3.9 yards per play and completed about 27 percent of its third downs. 

However, tonight was not about being pretty and perfect — it was about doing what was necessary.

It just so happens that the necessary was getting the ball to a trio of high-caliber wide receivers. Redshirt junior wide out Jalen Harvey and sophomore wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams combined for 22 of redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins’ 29 completions.

Not to mention, the three snagged 196 of the team’s 245 passing yards. 

Despite the outstanding effort from Harry, Williams and Harvey, it was junior tight end Ceejhay French-Love who came up with the best catch of the night — a 30-yard reception down the right sideline on fourth down. 

"Ceejhay made a hell of a play," Wilkins said. "It was a low ball. For a tight end that guy has really good ball skills. He just trusted his training, and we executed at the end to seal the game." 

The Sun Devils will have a week before they travel to Utah to take on the Utah Utes (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday, Oct. 21.


Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.

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