ASU VS. WASHINGTON STATE
Halloween Nightmare at Homecoming
by: Doug Seagrave/Excel H Sports West
The Arizona State Sun Devils were back in action against the Washington State Cougars after a bye week. The Sun Devils entered the game with a 5-2 record, including 3-1 in the Pac-12. They were in a tie with Utah for the Pac-12 South lead, however, Utah owns the head -to-head tie-breaker. The Cougars came to Tempe with a 4-4 record, 3-2 in the Pac-12. The Cougars lost to BYU last week 21-19.
It was a beautiful day for football in the desert. Sunny, 81 degrees and 20% humidity. Unfortunately, it seemed like a Halloween nightmare came a little early. The Cougars came in a more than 2-touchdown underdog. They left with a big win.
Washington State was coached by interim coach Jake Dickert after the vaccine-related dismissal of Head Coach Nick Rolovich. Herm Edward’s Sun Devils were hoping today’s Homecoming game would help them find their true identity. Are they the juggernaut that at times resemble a national power program, or are they the team capable of a staggering amount of penalties and turnovers that lost to BYU and suffered a second half collapse against Utah? The answer came quickly as the Sun Devils got off to a horrible start.
The 1st half Sun Devils looked like both a team coming off a long break, and the team that was outscored 28-0 in the 2nd half of the last game against Utah. ASU took the opening kickoff and quickly turned it over when sophomore running back Deamonte Trayanum fumbled, and Washington State took over possession on the ASU 39-yard line. The Sun Devil defense made a big stop on 4th down to stop the Cougars from scoring.
After taking over on downs, the Sun Devils again fumbled on their 2nd possession. The Cougars took over but appeared to be stopped on 3rd down. However, a face mask call against ASU resulted in a 1st down. The Cougars capitalized when sophomore quarterback Jayden De Laura took it to the end zone from a yard out. The Cougar drive was 6 plays, 20 yards, and took 2:38.
The Sun Devil’s 3rd possession was a familiar refrain. Junior quarterback Jayden Daniels was intercepted by Washington State with 4:16 left in the 1st quarter. The Cougars marched down the field on 6 play, 87-yard drive that took 3:01 and ended with touchdown pass from De Laura to senior Lavell Harris.
The next Washington State possession resulted in a turnover as De Laura was intercepted by senior Merlin Robertson at the Cougar 14 yard line. The ensuing Sun Devil possession ended with junior Cristian Zendejas missing a 32 yard field goal attempt.
Deon McIntosh punched in a Cougar touchdown from a yard out with 5:09 left in the 1st quarter to cap a 13 play, 80 yard drive that consumed 5:44. That made the score 21-0 in favor of the Cougars.
The Sun Devils fumbled again with 2:37 left in the 1st half. For those counting at home, that is 3 fumbles and 1 interception in the half. Washington State capitalized with a drive culminating in a 45 yard TD pass from De Laura to senior wide receiver Calvin Jackson, Jr. to make the score 28-0.
The Sun Devils finally put a marker on the board with an 11 play, 78 yard drive capped by a 12 yard TD pass from Jayden Daniels to LV Bunkley-Shelton. Halftime score, 28-7. Game over.
Perhaps the only positive part of the day was the halftime recognition of the 1996 Pac-12 Championship team.
The defenses settled in for the 2nd half. The Cougars would only add 2 field goals to finish with 34 points. The Sun Devils scored 2 late touchdowns to make the final score 34-21. Deamonte Trayanum had a 1-yard TD run with 4:54 left in the game. Backup QB Trenton Bourguet threw an 11-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson to complete the scoring.
ASU lost 3 fumbles and Jayden Daniels threw 2 interceptions. Daniels finished 23/35 for 228 yards and 1 TD. Running back Deamonte Trayanum carried 19 times for 89 yards and a TD. Ricky Pearsall led the receiving corps with 9 catches for 83 yards.
Jayden De Laura was 17/27 for 234 yards, 2 TD’s, and 1 interception. Deon McIntosh and Max Borghi led the Cougar rushing attack with 68 and 67 yards. Calvin Jackson, Jr. led the receivers with 8 receptions for 139 yards and a TD.
The opportunistic Cougar defense forced 5 turnovers to take control of the game. Many ASU fans headed to the exits at halftime.
The Cougars are now 5-4, 4-2 in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils fall to 5-3, 3-2 in the Pac-12. Coach Herm Edwards and his staff have a week to get things back on track as the USC Trojans visit Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday. Sun Devil Nation is hoping the Halloween nightmare is over.