SEATTLE, Wa — The Arizona State defense shut down Michael Penix Jr. and the nation’s top passing attack, but it only took one play by the Huskies to overcome the four takeaways forced by the Sun Devils’ defense in an all-time effort.
Trenton Bourguet was the last quarterback to hand Washington a loss, and he seemed to be the Huskies cryptonite, but a lone interception allowed the Huskies to escape with a narrow 15-7 victory over the Sun Devils.
After an egregious — and obvious — defensive pass interference that originally drew a flag but was later picked up and deemed “legal contact,” Mishael Powell picked off Bourguet, taking it for an 89-yard house call and sealing Arizona State’s fate.
Until that point, the Sun Devil had pinned the Heisman front-runner and the college football’s leading arial attack to just three field goals. Penix registered two interceptions and a lost fumble in the first half, but the lackluster Sun Devil offense allowed the Huskies to stay alive. Arizona State completely dominated the game, yet, still lost. And it’s nothing new to coach Kenny Dillingham, who is still searching for the answer.
“We’re trying to find different way to lose football games,” he said. “Playing good enough football to win. We’re just finding different ways to lose and that was another way we found to lose tonight. It’s really, really unfortunate.”
Arizona State out-gained Washington by 53 total yards (132 of which came on the ground), led in first downs and nearly doubled in time of possession (37:29 to 22:31). Arizona State also won the turnover battle.
“I expect to win. I hate losing. This is so frustrating because we could have won the last four football games,” Dillingham said emphatically. “Our guys are playing solid to good football. We’re finding different ways to lose, and I have to find different ways to remove that. We can’t keep losing games in different ways. We eventually got to get over the hump.
We eventually got to make a play, catch that fourth down, eventually send a perfect motion versus the look and the safety goes over top and bang it for a first down. We eventually got to make those plays in those critical moments of the football game. I have to do a better job of training those moments because right now like I said, it’s a bingo card for how are we going to lose even though we’re playing winning football, which is very upsetting.”
Dillingham and Arizona State faithful read the same story two weeks ago after Arizona State’s loss to Colorado after the offense drove 96 yards and tied the game with under a minute. However, then it was the defense that let the tremendous 58 minutes of football get shadowed by a blown coverage in the secondary. This week it was one offensive play that turned an otherwise all-time performance go to waste.
Dillingham sprung up the bamboo theory before the bye week, explaining that it takes time. Now, It’s only a matter of time before Arizona State breaks one and things can finally click.
“We’re this close to not just being a solid team, we’re this close to beating the No. 5 team in the country, we’re this close to beating USC, we’re this close to beating good football teams,” Dillingham said. “This close.”