Report Card: Grading ASU football's comeback win vs. Washington

The Sun Devils are now just one win away from bowl eligibility.

Valedictorian: Redshirt senior linebacker Antonio Longino

Longino, by all accounts, was not supposed to play in Saturday's wild 27-17 comeback win over Washington. Yet, after pleading with coaches and taking the minimum four practice reps necessary to play, Longino came out and dominated. His four tackles for loss and two sacks inspired the defense's strong second half effort.

"I mean this young man has accomplished a lot and sacrificed a lot and there's only two more times, this one and then next week, that's it," Graham said of the senior's performance. "He ain't never going to play in this stadium again."

The offense stumbled out of the game much like it has in most games this season. Few outings started out as putrid as Saturday did, with ASU punting on each of its first six possessions. 

The Sun Devils put together just 133 total yards of offense in the first half, but were seemingly woken up when redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici got popped on a sack early in the third quarter. Bercovici went 12 of 14 for 156 yards and a touchdown in the second half, but the real star was sophomore Kalen Ballage. Ballage finished with 11 carries for 92 yards and two scores, including the game-clinching 48-yard score to put ASU up 27-17.

This defensive unit was shorthanded by the loss of Kareem Orr before the game and losses of Laiu Moeakiola and Jordan Simone early on, and it showed in the first half. Washington freshman quarterback Jake Browning and freshman running back Myles Gaskin seemingly had all the time and space they needed to throttle the Sun Devils. 

Gaskin finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, but was largely silenced in the second half as the team shut the Huskies out. Takeaways, which had eluded the Sun Devils all season, came in bunches on Saturday. ASU forced turnovers on each of Washington's last four offensive possessions, with senior cornerback Kweishi Brown, sophomore linebacker Christian Sam and redshirt sophomore linebacker Marcus Ball all picking up interceptions while redshirt junior defensive lineman Edmond Boateng recovered a fumble.

ASU saw junior punter Matt Haack much more than expected due to the offense's struggles, but he lived up to expectations. Five of his 11 punts exceeded 50 yards as he pinned Washington within its own 20-yard line five times throughout the game. Junior kicker Zane Gonzalez was reliable, hitting both of his field goal attempts from 40 and 23 yards, respectively. Tim White kept ASU out of bad situations in the return game, and Gonzalez's kickoffs helped the kick coverage team avoid being burned by explosive returns. Overall, a solid effort.


Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow @fardaya15 on Twitter.

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