Through five weeks of the 2022 season, turmoil had surrounded the Arizona State football program.
After a loss to Eastern Michigan, head coach Herm Edwards was fired in the midst of an NCAA investigation. Interim head coach Shaun Aguano was left in an unenviable position.
The Sun Devils ended September without a win over an FBS team and things didn’t seem to be getting better with Washington coming to town. Things, however, aren’t always as they seem.
On Saturday, Arizona State, as a 13.5-point underdog, staved off a rally from No. 21 Washington for a 45-38 victory. For its efforts, Arizona State earns the title of Fifth Quarter/CFBHome Team of the Week.
Sun Devils Find a Way
As expected, Washington took an early lead on Saturday, but things changed in the second quarter. The Sun Devils scored 21 points in less than a 6-minute stretch.
After Xazavian Valladay rushed for a touchdown and caught another, Jordan Clark returned a Michael Pennix Jr. interception 38 yards for a touchdown to give Arizona State a 24-10 lead. The Sun Devils held three different 14-point leads, but the Huskies refused to go quietly.
Cameron Davis’ third touchdown run of the second half drew Washington even at 38 early in the fourth quarter. Arizona State responded with a 10-play, 82-yard drive capped by Trenton Bourguet’s third touchdown pass of the day and second to Elijhah Badger.
Washington would make two trips into Arizona State territory, but each ended on downs. Pennix’s Hail Mary on the final play was knocked down.
Arizona State was outgained in yardage 458-397, but found a way to be opportunistic and capitalize on opportunities. Valladay led all rushers with 111 yards. Kyle Soelle tallied 12 tackles to lead the Arizona State defense.
A Win to Hang Your Horns On
Without question, Saturday’s win over No. 21 Washington was Arizona State’s most impressive of the young season. In addition to getting its first win over an FBS team, the Sun Devils’ 45 points is a season-high. Against FBS competition, Arizona State had not previously scored more than 25 points in any game.
For Arizona State, the win is its first over a ranked opponent since beating UCLA on Oct. 2 of last season. At 2-4 for the year, the season is hardly beyond repair.
Two of the Sun Devils’ final six opponents currently have worse records than Arizona State. Three others come against teams that currently have identical 1-2 Pac-12 records.
Washington should have a chance to get back on track this week as it returns home to take on Arizona. That contest is slated for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network.
As for Arizona State, it will be idle this week. The Sun Devils will visit struggling Stanford on Oct. 22.
Featured image courtesy of Arizona State athletics
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.