Huskies look to keep undefeated season alive against Sun Devils - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Huskies look to keep undefeated season alive against Sun Devils

Huskies look to go 4-0 in Pac-12 play. Photo: UW Athletics Huskies look to go 4-0 in Pac-12 play. Photo: UW Athletics

By UW Athletics

THE GAME: The Washington football team (6-0 overall, 3-0 Pac-12) travels to face Arizona State (2-3, 1-1) in a 7:45 p.m., ESPN game Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium. The Huskies enter the game having won nine straight road games and will be playing their third (of only four) conference road games this season, leaving them four more home games. Washington is ranked No. 5 in the AP Top 25 and No. 4 in the coaches' poll this week. Following the ASU game, the Dawgs have a bye week before playing host to UCLA on Oct. 28.

QUICK SLANTS: The Huskies are off to a 6-0 start for the second year in a row, the first time they've started 6-0 in consecutive years since 1991 and 1992 ... the UW is 21-2 over its last 23 games ... the UW hasn't allowed 30 points in a game since the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl (a 44-31 win over Southern Miss), a span of 20 games ... Washington's Dante Pettis opened the season with a punt return for a touchdown in each of the UW's three games: 61 yards at Rutgers, 67 yards vs. Montana and 77 yards vs. Fresno State ... with 8 career TDs on punt returns, he has tied the NCAA record, shared by Wes Welker (Texas Tech) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma) while also tying the NCAA mark for consecutive games with a punt return TD (David Allen, Kansas State, 1998; Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, 2013) ... Pettis currently leads the nation in punt returns (31.8 ypr) and is No. 6 in total TDs (nine) ... six games into his junior season, Jake Browning currently sits third on the UW career passing yards (7,851) and fourth in career completions (598) charts ... his 73 career TD passes remain second on the list, behind Keith Price's 75 ... seven true freshmen have seen action for the UW so far this year: TE Hunter Bryant, TE Jacob Kizer, WR Ty Jones, TB Salvon Ahmed and DBs Keith Taylor, Brandon McKinney and Elijah Molden ... UW entered the year with 32 players on the roster who had started at least one game ... four more (LB Ben Burr-Kirven and DBs Jordan Miller, Myles Bryant and Byron Murphy) earned their first starts at Rutgers, two more (WR Jordan Chin and TE Hunter Bryant) started vs. Fresno State and Austin Joyner started at Colorado, meaning that 39 different Huskies have started a game ... Washington ranks No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense (10.2 points per game) and No. 10 in scoring offense (43.0), as well as No. 13 in turnover margin (+1.17 per game) ... UW held Cal to 93 total yards and -40 rushing yards, the fifth and third-fewest, respectively, in Husky history.
TELEVISION: The UW-ASU game will air live to a national audience on EPSN television with Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (color) and Tom Luginbill (sidelines) providing the commentary.
RADIO: The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KOMO AM-1000 and FM-97.7, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 17 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. The home broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius (83) and XM (83) satellite radio.
RETURNS ON FIRE:  Since the arrival of coach Chris Petersen and his staff prior to the 2014 season, Washington has had five kickoff returns for touchdowns (four by John Ross and one by Keishawn Bierria) and eight punt returns for TDs (all by Dante Pettis, good for a share of the NCAA record). Ross actually had five career TDs, but his first came in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl, the last game before the start of the Petersen era. Even if you include that Ross TD, you have to back 16 seasons before you count the previous five Husky kick return TDs, and 23 seasons to count the last eight punt returns. Ja'Warren Hooker returned a kick for a score in 1997. Then, from 1998 to 2033, the Huskies had five: Ross in 2013, Louis Rankin in 2007, Roc Alexander in 2001, Paul Arnold in 1999 and Touré Butler in 1998. As for punt returns, Beno Bryant had three punt return TDs in 1990, and another in 1991. Since then, over 23 seasons (1991-2013), the Huskies had just six more: Jesse Callier in 2011, Chris Stevens in 2006, Charles Frederick in 2003 and (2001), Joe Jarzynka in 1998), and Dave Janoski in 1996 – and two of those (Callier & Stevens) were on blocked punts, so not "traditional" punt returns. What's more? Since Petersen's arrival, the Huskies haven't allowed a single punt or kick return for a score.
HUSKIES vs. DEVILS HISTORY: Last year, Washington beat Arizona State, 44-18, in the UW's final home game of the season to break the Sun Devils' 10-game win streak in the series. During that 10-game streak, ASU had taken over the all-time series lead against the UW, which now stands at 18-16 in the Devils' favor. Washington first met the Devils in 1975. That '75 game marked the only time that the two teams ever played one another prior to the Sun Devils joining the Pac-10 Conference before the 1978 season. Since then, the two have played one another every year between 1978 and now except for 1983 and 1984, 2003 and 2004, and 2011 and 2012. The Huskies lost that first-ever meeting at Tempe in 1975, 35-12, but routed the 12th-ranked Devils in the next matchup, winning 41-7 at Husky Stadium in 1978. One of the two teams (or both) has been ranked in 15 of the last 21 meetings, the only exceptions the 1999 game when the Devils came to Husky Stadium and beat Washington, 28-7, and the 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2015 games, all ASU wins. Some of the Huskies' most memorable games in modern history have come vs. ASU. In the 1995 season-opener, tailback Rashaan Shehee hit receiver Fred Coleman with a 30-yard TD pass late in the fourth quarter to give Washington a 23-20 win. The following year at Tempe, Washington trailed 42-21 before backup QB Brock Huard came on to lead the Huskies to three fourth-quarter TDs, but Robert Nycz kicked a 38-yard field goal with 0:02 left to win, 45-42. In 1998 at Sun Devil Stadium, the Huskies pulled off the "Miracle in the Desert" as Huard hit tight end Reggie Davis with a 63-yard pass on fourth-and-17 with 0:28 left in the game to pull out a 42-38 Washington win. In 2001, the Huskies capped a seven-minute, 12-second drive with a 30-yard field goal with no time remaining to edge the Devils, 33-31. In 2005 in Tempe, ASU QB Rudy Carpenter passed for 401 yards and three TDs as the Devils pulled away in the second half of a 44-20 win. The 2006 game was another tight contest as the Devils pulled out a 26-23 overtime win at Husky Stadium. The UW trailed 20-6 before receiver Sonny Shackelford threw a TD pass to Anthony Russo and then caught a touchdown from backup QB Johnny DuRocher to send the game into OT. After a UW field goal, Rudy Carpenter hit Brent Miller with a 25-yard TD pass for the win. In 2007, 14th-ranked ASU came back from a halftime deficit to win, 44-20. In 2008, the Devils led 16-13 at half, but pulled away for a 39-19 victory. Carpenter threw for 218 yards and two TDs while Keegan Herring rushed for 144 yards and one score. Last season was another tight contest as Danny Sullivan hit Chris McGaha with a 50-yard pass with five secons left to beat the Huskies, 24-17. In 2010 in Seattle, the Devils beat the Dawgs, 24-14, despite 110 rushing yards from Chris Polk and 209 passing from Jake Locker. After a two-year hiatus, the Devils continued their streak with a 53-24 victory in Tempe in 2013. ASU out-rushed the Huskies, 314 yards to minus-5, thanks to 158 yards from Marion Grice and seven sacks. In 2014, on a gusty and rainy night in Seattle, ASU won, 24-10, scoring with 3:00 to go to break a 10-10 before a last-minute interception return for a touchdown put the game out of reach. In 2015 in Tempe, ASU scored 17 in the fourth and the UW committed four turnovers in a 27-17 Devils win. In 2016, a 21-point second quarter, highlighted by a 75-yard TD pass from Jake Browning to Chico McClatcher and a 46-yard score from Browning to Dante Pettis, were the key in the UW 44-18 win. Browning threw for 338 yards, Myles Gaskin rushed for 127 and John Ross caught 12 passes in the victory.
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