After a heartbreaking loss against Oregon State to start their Pac-10 schedule, the Sun Devils traveled up to Pullman, Washington and took care of business with a 27-14 win.
Though it may not have been pretty (6 turnovers), ASU did what it needed to do to get their first Pac-10 win of the season, and end their 2-game skid, thanks in large part to an excellent running game, and for the first time all year an outstanding pass rush from the front four.
For the first time in two games ASU drew first blood with a 9-yard touchdown from Danny Sullivan to Kyle Williams, and as was the case against Idaho State and Louisiana Monroe, the boys in Maroon and Gold didn’t look back.
Though the touchdown was a nice start, Coach Erickson planned throughout the week for backup quarterback Brock Osweiler to receive some first half snaps and the opportunity presented itself after Sullivan threw and interception trying to get the ball to Kyle Williams down the middle of the field.
Osweiler was 3 of 4 for 20 yards to go along with 2 rushes for 4 yards. He didn’t make any mistakes, but the offense didn’t exactly dominate with him under center. Still, Sun Devil fans got what they asked for with Osweiler in the game and may ask for him some more after Sullivan threw 3 interceptions.
Sullivan made his return to the game in the second quarter and showed off some play making ability with his feet with a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Devils up 13-0 after Wenzig missed the extra point. Sullivan ended the day 18 of 28 for 165 yards with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
The Devils then opened their lead to 19 points early in the third quarter after Nance punched it in from 9 yards out, but again, the extra point try failed when Wenzig’s kick was low and blocked.
Washington State finally got on the board with 2:22 left in the third quarter with a 23-yard touchdown from Jeff Tuel to Jared Karstetter to make the score 19-7.
True freshman running back Cameron Marshall got the first touchdown of his ASU career early in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run, but this time there was no messing around with the kick as the Devils went for two and converted to make the score 27-7.
That score was short lived as on the Cougars’ next drive resulted in a 99-yard touchdown to Johnny Forzani from Jeff Tuel making the score 27-14, where it stayed till the final whistle.
Although the turnovers were frustrating, there were some positives for the team on both sides of the ball.
Nance got his first career 100-yard rushing game with 21 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown, as the Sun Devils once again rushed for over 200 yards on the game.
On the flip-side of that, the Sun Devil defense held the Cougars to -54 yards net rushing on the day, and were it not for the 99-yard touchdown, the Cougars would’ve been under 100 total yards for the game.
The front four for the Devil defense did their part in the passing game as well accounting for the majority of the teams’ 12 sacks of WSU quarterbacks. Creating most of that pressure was redshirt sophomore James Brooks, but senior stud and future NFL draftee, Dexter Davis, was able to breath a sigh of relief as he finally got on the board with his first sack of the season. Davis also added his first career interception on zone blitz coverage in the first half.
Kyle Williams was the leading receiver for the Devils with a career high 14 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 53-yard rush.
On a personnel note, both Gerell Robinson and Garth Gerhart got starts for the Devils on Saturday.
Next Saturday the Devils will return to Sun Devil Stadium to take on the Washington Huskies and will look to add to their Pac-10 win column.