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Instant recap: Arizona State rallies to beat Washington State 52-31

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Our instant recap of Saturday's showdown between the Cougars and Sun Devils.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: This is the instant recap, with the second half on top of the first. Stay tuned to House of Sparky for our full recap and post-game articles with quotes and analysis.

Second Half

Leading by three points at the half, Washington State received the opening kickoff in the second half, looking to build on its 24-21 lead. But Arizona State head coach Todd Graham dialed up the blitz early and often, and it resulted in a pair of sacks of Cougar quarterback Luke Falk. Tashon Smallwood and Salamo Fiso brought Falk down in the backfield for losses of 7 and 9 yards, and Arizona State forced a Washington State punt.

Arizona State fed D.J. Foster on its first drive of the second half, and the running back carried the Sun Devils into Washington State territory. But the Arizona State drive sizzled after that, and Taylor Kelly pooch-punted back to the Cougars.

Washington State converted a 4th-and-1 to move into Arizona State territory, but Sun Devil cornerback Kweishi Brown made the best play of his junior season, tipping a Falk pass to himself and corralling it with one hand for an interception. Arizona State wasted no time making their way back to the redzone, as Taylor Kelly hit Cameron Smith open downfield for a 67-yard completion that set the Sun Devils up at the Washington State 3-yard line. The connection was Kelly's longest completion of the season. Three plays later Foster plunged in from a yard out, and Arizona State took its first lead of the day at 28-24, a lead they'd hold through the duration of third quarter.

The Arizona State defense that allowed a total of 337 yards of offense in the first half continued its second half dominance, and forced another Washington State punt. Kelly and the Sun Devil offense drove down for a 47-yard Zane Gonzalez field goal to take a touchdown lead over the Cougars at 31-24.

On Washington State's ensuing drive, the Cougars put together their best drive of the second half, working their way from their own 33-yard line down into Arizona State territory. A pair of completions to Vince Mayle helped drive Washington State down to the Sun Devil 33, but Arizona State defensive end Marcus Hardison added to his stellar senior day, tracking down Falk in the backfield and stripping him of the ball. Villiami Latu recovered for Arizona State and rumbled his way down to the Cougar 18-yard line, and Foster dashed his way to the end zone on Arizona State's first offensive play for a touchdown.

The score marked 17 unanswered points from the Sun Devils, but they weren't done yet, and Arizona State's defense gave its offense the ball right back for another scoring opportunity on Fiso's interception of Falk. Kelly found Cameron Smith for his second touchdown of the afternoon, and the delayed rout was finally on as Arizona State held a commanding 45-24 lead.

Another late touchdown pass from Kelly to Kody Kohl upped the lead to 52-24, and Washington State drained the remainder of the fourth quarter, scoring with 24 seconds left. Washington State recovered the onside kick, but were unable to score.

That score ended the game, and the Sun Devils finished with a 52-31 win on senior day.

First Half

Two offensive teams did not start their game the way either one planned, but got there eventually.

The Sun Devils went three-and-out on both of their first four drives, totaling -23 yards. Washington State, while able to move the ball forward, was unable to get on the board until late in the first quarter.

The first excitement in the game came in giving the ball back to Washington State after the opening, which was an adventure, to say the least.

It was a low snap and punter Jordan Dascalo had a tough time corralling it. Arizona State did not send a rusher, dropping all 11 back into punt return coverage. Descale scooped it up and instead of kicking it away, tried to run for it. He came up short, officially a turnover on downs.

With just over 10 minutes gone in the first quarter, Washington State converted a 4th-and-7 in Arizona State territory, and went on to cap the drive with a quarterback keeper by Luke Falk for a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:45 left in the quarter.

After another three-and-out, the boo birds started raining on the team and it looked to get ugly. Then Damarious Randall with what may end up being the play of the game with an acrobatic interception, his third in as many games, to give the Sun Devils the ball back.

Taylor Kelly connected for 42 yards with D.J. Foster as the first quarter mercifully ended, a frame in which Kelly was sacked four times. Washington State led 7-0 after the first 15 minutes.

The second quarter provided the shot of adrenaline Arizona State needed. Foster took a handoff on the quarter's first play and ran 17 yards into the end zone to tie the game.

On the next drive, Arizona State appeared to stop Washington State at the 31-yard line, but an offsides call gave the Cougars a second chance. They made good on their opportunity, completing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Galvin.

It ended up being an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to but Washington State back up by a touchdown, 14-7.

The next Washington State drive was brutal to watch for Arizona State fans. The Sun Devils took four offsides penalties, one of which was declined after a 34-yard catch by Vince Mayle. A few plays later, Falk found Isiah Myers for 20 yards and another touchdown. With 4:52 left in the half, Washington State led 21-7.

Whatever problems the Sun Devils are having can't be put on Foster. Just like the first scoring drive, Foster seemed to spark something inside the team. After a 15-yard run, Kelly went deep, hitting Cam Smith for a 42-yard touchdown to bring Arizona State right back within a score. It needed only 1:33 to get into the end zone.

Foster finished the half with 85 yards and a touchdown on five carries and two receptions.

Then Marcus Hardison intercepted Falk on the first play of the ensuing drive, waking up Sun Devil Stadium. Tw plays later Kelly hit Fred Gammage for a touchdown, the first of his career, and just like that the score was tied at 21. The two touchdowns came 41 seconds apart.

For the Cougars, the passing attack was as-advertised. Falk completed 10 passing yards of more than 15 yards, and 329 yards overall. Washington State added a field goal as time expired in the half.