Arizona State Football: Sun Devils Still in Driver's Seat for Pac-12 South Crown

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Arizona State Football: Sun Devils Still in Driver's Seat for Pac-12 South Crown
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Marion Grice, No. 1, pushed his rushing touchdown total to 12, scoring twice against UW.

The Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1) handled the Washington Huskies (4-3,1-3) on Saturday night, 53-24, pushing the Huskies' losing streak to three games.

ASU was down 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, but then scored on five of six drives in the second quarter and didn't look back. Sun Devil running back Marion Grice recorded his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, gaining 158 yards and scoring twice. He also had four catches for 37 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown grab.

For the second time this season, Arizona State's ground game outgained its quarterback, Taylor Kelly, rushing for 317 yards as a team. Kelly was 26-of-42 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an interception in the first quarter, but the Huskies could not capitalize on the turnover.

The Sun Devils' biggest accomplishment might have been containing Husky running back Bishop Sankey, who came into the game as the nation's leading rusher. ASU held him to just 22 yards on 12 carries, and held Washington as a whole to 212 total yards. 

"We had a plan, we came every play but we came differently than we have been doing with a lot of pressure inside and out," said ASU coach Todd Graham.

This is a big win for the Devils, who are now a half game up on UCLA in the Pac-12 South. UCLA lost to Stanford on Saturday, 24-10. As long as ASU wins out, they will play for the conference title.

"We have to get better, so we can prepare to win the whole South, but we’re happy for the win," said defensive lineman Gannon Conway.

The Sun Devils have a bye week this week before playing a Thursday-night game at Washington State on Halloween. They will then play at Utah, home against Oregon State, at UCLA, and the Territorial Cup at home against Arizona. 

Each team poses a different threat to the Devils. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing yards, and Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday is third in that category. Utah has proven to be tough at home. UCLA averages 547 yards per game, which is good for fifth best in the country, and U of A is a rivalry game.

The Sun Devils are in the driver's seat. As long as they repeat the performance they had against Washington on Saturday, this team will have a shot at a Pac-12 title and a Rose Bowl bid.

 

Quotes courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics

 

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