In an offensive bout with a late game-winning touchdown drive, Arizona State (5-1) upended Washington State (3-3) by a final of 38-34.
Washington State struck first with a touchdown on the first drive of the game. Cougars redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Gordon had a 35-yard completion to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travell Harris after Wazzu converted on a fourth and short to extend its first drive. In the blink of an eye, it was 7-0.
Then after an ASU three and out, the Cougars marched right back down the field and got into the red zone. The Sun Devil defense held, but it would surrender a 33-yard field goal on a 13-play, 69-yard drive that ate up nearly five minutes.
At the end of the first quarter, Washington State held a 10-0 advantage.
Nonetheless, ASU responded to begin the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels connected with senior wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a high-arching 40-yard bomb in the end zone to put the first Sun Devil points of the day on the board.
It wouldn’t last long, though. The Cougs came back with a seven-play, 87-yard drive that was set up on a 29-yard screen pass to Harris. They got into the red zone, and the ASU defense appeared to hold after a 3rd and 6 stop.
However, a roughing the passer call kept the chains moving, and the Cougs took advantage by scoring on a two-yard touchdown pass from Gordon to senior wideout Dezmon Patmon, who was wide open in the back of the end zone to make the score 17-7.
As would be the case all afternoon, the two teams would trade more punches after that. Daniels found Aiyuk once more for an 86-yard slant that he took to the house to cut the deficit to three with just under two minutes remaining.
The defense forced another stop, then Daniels led one final drive before the first half concluded that culminated with a 31-yard field goal from redshirt sophomore kicker Cristian Zendejas. Given all the things that went wrong in the first quarter, and ASU’s slow start, they still found themselves tied at 17 going into halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, the Devils marched downfield with a heavy dose of junior running back Eno Benjamin. He had seven touches, and the last one capped off a scoring drive. On a 4th and short, he broke through the left side and sped into the end zone untouched for a 32-yard score, giving ASU its first lead of the afternoon.
It would be short lived, however. The Cougs came right back with a 14-play, 91-yard drive with nine passes to tie the game at 24.
Furthermore, just before the third quarter came to a close, the Wazzu offense struck again to make the score 31-24. The seesaw continued to swing.
Then entered Aiyuk once more for a taste of deja vu. Daniels found him again on a slant that he strolled into the end zone on. That set up 11 minutes and 19 seconds of fourth quarter crunch time with the scoreboard knotted at 31.
On the ensuing drive for WSU, the Sun Devil defense held, but a swing in field position would be critical. The Cougs pinned ASU inside their own five, then forced a three and out. The Sun Devils’ next punt by Michael Turk only went 29 yards, giving WSU great field position to work with.
They were able to split through a 31-yard field goal to make it a 34-31 game.
With 2:30 to go, Daniels had one last shot, and he made it count, orchestrating a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a Daniels scramble where he was twirled into the air and landed into the end zone. The defense held with 34 seconds left, and ASU came out on top.
38-34, ballgame. Devils move to 5-1.