2018 Sun Devil Bowl Guide

12 H Y U N D A I S U N B O W L | D E C . 2 9 , 2 0 1 7 A R I Z O N A S T A T E F O O T B A L L 2 0 1 7 B O W L G U I D E GAME 6 | 10.14.17 SUN DEVIL STADIUM • TEMPE, ARIZ. It was Arizona State 13, No. 5 Washington 7 on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium, and the proof was written all over the faces of the jubilant students who stormed Frank Kush Field in celebration after the final seconds ticked off. The Sun Devils led from the start, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game. It was ultimately senior Kalen Ballage who capped the tone-setting drive, making a house call from one-yard out to stake his team to an early advantage. While a stout defensive effort kept the Husky offense at bay for the rest of the first half, kicker Brandon Ruiz was busy extending the Arizona State lead. The freshman hit from both 52 and 25 yards in the second quarter, pushing the advantage to 13-0 at halftime. The belief and momentum carried out of the locker rooms at the start of the third quarter. Both defensive units would take over in the second half, exchanging blows as a battle for field position played out. Washington did manage to make a pair of trips to the red zone in the third quarter, but a pair of missed field goals from under 30 yards kept the shutout intact through the first three stanzas. The Huskies eventually got on the board halfway through the fourth quarter, cutting the Sun Devil lead to 13-7 with just five and a half minutes remaining. And even though the ensuing possession may not have resulted in any points, it was one of the team’s most important and memorable drives of the season. The clutch performances began on play two, as Wilkins found receiver N’Keal Harry for a 20-yard gain that put the ball around midfield. Two plays later it was Demario Richard who got in on the action, scampering eight yards for another clock-burning first down. No play was bigger, however, than the call and execution on 4th & 3 from the Husky 37-yard line. Win they did, as Wilkins made his best throw of the night at the biggest time. Threading the ball through three defenders, the junior found tight end Ceejhay French-Love through a blur of Washington cornerbacks. French- Love promptly secured the ball and tight-roped the sideline, setting up a series of three kneel-downs that put a bow on the program’s fourth-ever win against a top-five opponent. The win was Arizona State’s seventh straight home victory against the Huskies, and the Sun Devils have now won 11 of their last 12 in the series. The game also marked just the third time since 2012 that Washington has been held under 10 points (2012 @ LSU, 2016 vs. Alabama). An inspired and relentless effort from Phil Bennett’s defense can be thanked for that, as the Huskies managed just 91 rushing yards and only converted three of 14 chances on third down. Linebacker Christian Sam eventually led the team with 11 tackles, while J’Marcus Rhodes, DJ Calhoun and Tashon Smallwood each followed with six. WASHINGTON 7 ARIZONA STATE 13