Arizona State Football Favorite In Pac-12 South After Tough Win At Washington
As much talk as there’s been about the SEC West being the best division/conference in college football this season, one look at the standings in the Pac-12‘s South Division might have you rethinking things. At the top of that group is the Arizona State Sun Devils, who proved just how tough they are by grinding out a 24-10 victory at Washington Saturday night to improve to 6-1 overall, 4-1 in the Pac-12.
Arizona State, now a half-game ahead of both Arizona and Utah in the South, with the Utes headed to Arizona State next Saturday, had every excuse available to fall short at Washington. After all, senior quarterback Taylor Kelly could have been rusty, having not played since a 38-24 win at Colorado on Sept. 13. Harassed by pressure all night, Kelly was sacked several times, but finished a respectable 14-for-25 for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
The weather did the Sun Devils no favors, either. Already playing in a hostile environment at Husky Stadium in Seattle, the conditions were even worse than usual for the visitors due to heavy wind that caused passing and kicking to be difficult, depending on which end of the field teams were moving. Even the TV presentation was disrupted by the weather. But the Sun Devils got the better of the punting game and Arizona State’s defense, which is usually an afterthought among Pac-12 teams not named Stanford, didn’t allow Washington an offensive touchdown. The ASU defense also scored the final points of the game on an Armand Perry interception return.
Arizona State’s offense certainly wasn’t itself, producing just 285 yards total, including 105 on the ground on 43 attempts (2.4 per carry, though that includes sacks). In a way, it all just shows how impressive this Sun Devils team is. Yes, they were hammered by UCLA in September (62-27), but both Arizona State and the Bruins seem like much different teams now as the season has evolved. ASU has gone from allowing 62 to UCLA to a total of 54 in the last three games, including wins over USC and Stanford.
On a night where Arizona State’s 11th-ranked passing offense wasn’t at that level, and in conditions unfit for many football teams to function, the Sun Devils pulled together what was needed to get a vital road win and now have the luxury of being home for next Saturday’s clash with Utah — winners today over USC. If ASU can win games on nights like Saturday, it’s right to believe the Sun Devils can succeed every week and win the Pac-12 South.