Sun Devils Slip Up At Washington St.

by Travis Breedlove, ASU Sports Information

Arizona State (7-3, 4-1) ranked 16th in the nation put its three game winning streak and undefeated Pac-10 record on the line as they traveled to Pullman, Washington to take on the 8th ranked Cougars of Washington State (8-1, 5-0) for first place in the Pac-10 standings. The Sun Devils however, would see the home team Cougars go on to win 44-22 in front of a Martin Stadium crowd of 37,444 and take sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 led by senior quarterback Jason Gesser throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

Washington State would jump out early on ASU giving themselves a 17-0 lead before the Sun Devils could move the ball past midfield. Some costly penalties and turnovers would lead to 10 of the 17 WSU points thus far in the game. Jason Gesser had throw two touchdown scores until Mike Barth was able to put ASU on the board with his 36-yard field goal to give the Sun Devils their first points of the game, trailing 17-3 at the end of the first quarter.

The Sun Devil defense would stop Gesser on the next series, as Jason Shivers would intercept a pass in the end zone giving the ball back to the ASU offense.

The Maroon and Gold offense would drive the field 77 yards in 10 plays, but come up just short of scoring. On fourth and one at three-yard line sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter would just overthrow fullback Mike Karney in the end zone to end the Sun Devils scoring threat and give the ball back to the Cougars.

However, Gesser would again throw an interception, this time to ASU defender Brett Hudson, giving the Sun Devils the ball back at the Washington State 34-yard line.

Arizona State would make the most of their short field, settling for a Barth 22-yard field goal and cutting the Washington State lead to 11 points at 17-6.

The defense would again hold WSU scoreless forcing them to punt it back to the Sun Devils.

Starting at their own 31-yard line the offense would fail to move the ball forcing a punt by kicker Tim Parker. Parker's punt went off the side of his foot and only traveled eight-yards giving the Cougars excellent field position.

Washington State needed only four plays to add a Drew Dunning 47-yard field goal to their point total, giving them a 20-6 lead with just over three minutes left in the half.

On the next ASU series, Andrew Walter would lead the team to the Cougar 38-yard line before being intercepted by Marcus Trufant who would returned it 33-yards to the ASU 39-yard line.Unfortunately, the turnover allowed Jason Gesser to find Jerome Riley for a 39-yard touchdown score with 27 seconds left in the first half leading 27-6.

'We just gave them too many chances, and they gook advantage of them,' sophomore quarterback Andrew Walter said.

Washington State would start with the ball in the second half, driving 54-yards down the field to get another Dunning field goal to build their lead to 30-6.

The Sun Devil defense would not give up however, forcing Gesser to fumble in his own end zone and giving ASU a team safety for the third quarter.

After the Cougars got another interception off a tipped pass to Shaun McDonald, Jermaine Green would rush for 13-yards and another WSU score to give the home team a 37-8 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Arizona State would get a pair of Mike Pinkard touchdowns in the fourth quarter with another Cougar touchdown sandwiched in between to bring the game to a close with Washington State winning 44-22.

'Turnovers hut us a lot,' Shaun McDonald said. 'You can't give the number 8 team in the country turnovers, especially when they've got Jason Gesser and their receivers.'

'You can't play a game of this magnitude and make the mistakes we made, ' coach Dirk Koetter said.

GAME NOTES: Junior defensive end Terrell Suggs, with his sack against Washington State, set the NCAA single-season sack mark with 18.5 sacks on the year...the sack also set the school single-season and career marks for tackles for loss with 25 and 59 each...Hakim Hill, with nine kickoff returns for 162 yards, set the ASU single-game record of returns in a game and return yards, previously held by Kevin Galbreath (vs. Houston 1990) with seven returns for 159 yards. Hill needs just two more returns and 47 yards to tie the single-season marks of 32 returns and 713 yards (set by Chris Hopkins, 1995)...with his seven catches for 78 yards Shaun McDonald set the school single-season record for single-season catches with 65, surpassing the previous mark of 64 by Ron Fair in 1989...with 18 interceptions ASU has doubled its total of nine from all of last year.

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