Sun Devils Clamp Down On Huskies
Oct 27, 2002
by Travis Breedlove, ASU Sports Information
The top twenty-five ranked Sun Devils (7-2, 4-0) were looking to improve on their perfect Pac-10 record and move to 4-0 in conference play while the visiting Huskies from Washington (4-4, 1-3) were hoping to break their one game losing skid and get their first road win of the year. Following the homecoming festivities in Tempe the Devils would go on to defeat the Huskies 27-16 thanks to a tremendous defensive effort and in part to junior defensive end Terrell Suggs four and a half sacks to tie the NCAA single-season sacks record at 17.5.
Washington would win the coin toss to start the game and elected to receive the ball. Due to an illegal block on the return against the Huskies they would start at their own seven-yard line. The Maroon and Gold defense would not allow Washington to move the ball far thought limiting them to nine yards on their first series before the Huskies would punt it away to the Devils. However, Huskie punter Derek McLaughlin, under a heavy Sun Devil rush, would only get 19 yards on the punt.
Arizona State would take advantage of the short field starting at the Washington 42-yard line. Seven plays and 2:27 minutes later ASU would be the first to score on a Hakim Hill one-yard touchdown run. Two Andrew Walter passes to Mike Pinkard for 13 yards each and a Cornell Canidate 12-yard run set up the touchdown. Mike Barth would hit the extra point giving ASU a 7-0 lead.
Washington would get the ball back, but again would be limited to only 16 yards before punting it back to ASU. 'They physically out played us on the defensive front and made it a long night for our offense,' commented Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel.
ASU would start at their own eight-yard line on the next possession, but would fail to move the ball so Tim Parker came in to punt the ball away. On the ensuing return the Sun Devil special teams and Mason Unck would force a fumble by Charles Frederick and get the ball back with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
The Sun Devils would not capitalize though. When Dirk Koetter went for it on fourth and one Hakim Hill could not hold onto the pass from Andrew Walter and ASU gave the ball back to Washington on downs.
Terrell Suggs had already sacked Washington quarterback Cody Pickett once in the game and on their next series Pickett would see Suggs even more. This time Terrell would sack Pickett on second and 12 at the Huskie 35-yard line losing seven yards. On the next play Suggs would have Pickett in his grasp forcing him to throw the ball away only to see it get intercepted by ASU senior linebacker Solomon Bates, who would return it 22 yards to the Washington six-yard line.
'Terrell Suggs was unstoppable, we were double teaming, and chipping him, but he just got up the field and created mayhem. It goes back to if you can't block then you obviously can't run the ball, then you become one dimensional, and when they have a pass rusher like Suggs it can be a long night,' said Neuheisel.
ASU would kickoff to end the first quarter leading the Huskies 14-0. Washington would again be held to only eight yards on its series as the Sun Devil defense kept putting the pressure on the Huskies offense and forcing another punt.
The Sun Devils would start at their own 36-yard line as Andrew Walter would throw on first down to Mike Karney for 13 yards and a Sun Devil first down. On the following play Hakim Hill would fumble the handoff turning the ball back over to Washington.
Thankfully, the defense would hold the Huskies led by a Jimmy Verdon sack of Pickett for a seven-yard loss. Washington would again be held scoreless and be forced to punt it away to ASU.
The Sun Devils would be held on their next possession to 19 yards and forced to punt again.
U-Dub would finally get some points on the board with an impressive six minute, 13 play, 60 yard drive capped by a John Anderson 40-yard field goal to bring the score to 14-3 in favor of ASU going into halftime.
Arizona State would receive the second half kickoff as Hakim Hill would take it 44-yards on a big return to give ASU the ball at their own 44-yard line to start the third quarter. The offense would make short work of their great field possession and march down the other 56 yards to add to their lead. The drive was capped off by a Walter to Shaun McDonald 15-yard touchdown, with a Barth extra point, the Sun Devils extended their lead to 21-3.
Washington would fight back though on their next series. Starting at their own 20-yard line the Huskies led by Cody Pickett would move the ball on five successful downs to the Huskie 37-yard line. Washington would then get two more first downs with the help of a pass interference call and a personal foul call against ASU bringing the ball deep into ASU territory at the Sun Devil 35-yard line. On the following down Terrell Suggs would get his fourth sack of the game causing Pickett to fumble the ball. However, the Huskies would recover the fumble to continue their drive. The sack proved costly though as Washington failed to convert a fourth and three from the ASU 28-yard line and turned the ball back over to ASU on downs.
'It was a case that our offense was overmatched and our rhythm was entirely upset by the pass rush,' commented Huskies head coach Rick Neuheisel.
The team would trade punts again before ASU would get it back just prior to the end of the third quarter. On Washington's last possession of the quarter kicker Derek McLaughlin bobbled the snap taking a 13-yard loss and giving ASU the ball at the Washington 28-yard line.
The Sun Devils drive went into the beginning of the fourth quarter, but they would have to settle for a Barth 38-yard field goal to give them a lead of 24-3. Washington again could not get a sustained drive going and was forced to punt the ball back to Arizona State.
The Sun Devils would start at their own 26-yard line and rely on their running game to get them back down the field. Dirk Koetter called seven consecutive running plays moving the ball on each one to the Washington 27-yard line. All three of ASU's running backs carried on the drive, Hakim Hill three carries 23 yards, Cornell Canidate two carries six yards and Mike Williams two carries 18 yards. Andrew Walter then attempted a pass to the other man in the backfield, fullback Mike Karney, but the pass was incomplete. The drive would finally be stopped by the Huskies and the Sun Devils would have to settle again for a Barth 40-yard field goal to bring the score to 27-3.
On the Huskies first play of their next series Suggs would tie the NCAA single-season sack record taking down Pickett with the help of fellow defenseman Shane Jones for a loss of seven yards. Washington, however, was still able to move the ball, but the drive would be stopped, as Joey Smith would sack Pickett on third and 10 for an 11-yard loss to force another punt.
ASU would not move the ball on their next series and punt it back to Washington. The Huskies would make short work of their possession of the ball when Pickett would find Paul Arnold for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Trailing by 18 points the Huskies elected to go for a two-point conversion, but the Sun Devils would stop Pickett on his rush attempt and leave the score at 27-9 in favor of the Sun Devils.
Arizona State would again fail to move the ball, and with just under three minutes left in the game be forced to punt it back to Washington.
The Huskies would not give up moving the ball 67-yards on eight plays for another score, but still trailing 27-16. Unfortunately, for Washington time was not on their side as ASU would take two knees to eat up the last 51 seconds of the game to win 27-16 in front of a homecoming crowd of 56,101 fans.
Dirk Koetter commented after the game about the win, 'we still have plenty of work to do, we still have four big games to go. That was a physical football game, and man, did our defense make some big hits tonight.'
GAME NOTES: Junior defensive end Terrell Suggs had a career high in TFL with 6.5 against Washington to go along with his 4.5 sacks tying him for the NCAA single-season record at 17.5 (set in 2001 by Dwight Freeney of Syracuse). Suggs needs only 1.5 more sacks to tie the ASU and Pac-10 record of 19 sacks in a season. Suggs also moved into a tie for first place in single-season TFL and career TFL with 24 on the season (tied with Derrick Rodgers, 1996 and Al Harris, 1977) and 58 for his career (tied with Bob Kohrs, 1976-79)...ASU if 4-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1996...Junior wide receiver Shaun McDonald is now tied for fifth in ASU single-season TD history with is catch against Washington. His 21 career TD catches are tied for fourth in ASU records books with J.D. Hill (1967-70) and John Mistler (1977-80). McDonald also ranks tied for 16th place in Pac-10 history with is 21 TD receptions...ASU has outscored its opponent in the third quarter by a combined score (nine games) of 121-52...Senior place kicker Mike Barth has made five straight field goals and has converted on 36 of 36 extra point tries this year.