Three takeaways from Arizona State's upset win over No. 21 Washington
Arizona State is back in the win column.
The Sun Devils (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) picked up their first win over an FBS team this season on Saturday in shocking fashion. They beat No. 21 Washington 45-38, put points on the board in bunches, and did just enough on defense at the end to exit with a feel-good kind of win for Shaun Aguano.
On the other side, Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) dropped its second straight game. John Canzano put it best after the score went final: the Huskies tripped up against UCLA and face-planted against Arizona State.
Here are three takeaways from the game
Shaun Aguano makes his claim for the job
From the very first press conference Arizona State interim coach Shaun Aguano gave after being handed the title, it was obvious this was a job he wanted on a permanent basis. It was obvious that he felt Arizona State had a team that could look better than it had in the previous two weeks — losses to Oklahoma State and Eastern Michigan.
Sometimes an interim takes over midseason and things go in the tank. It’s a lost year. Not at Arizona State. This Sun Devil team has been fighting. They hung with USC a week ago throughout the first half but were just not able to keep it up. They played inspired ball against Washington.
Against a top-25 team, Arizona State looked like it believed right from the opening kick. When starting quarterback Emory Jones was knocked out of the game in the first half, they never flinched.
Aguano said when he took over he wanted to, at the very least, put an Arizona State team on the field that Sun Devil fans could be proud of. Mission accomplished.
Arizona State is looking for its next head coach after parting ways with Herm Edwards. Is that man the one currently patrolling the sidelines? Aguano’s credentials aren’t exactly going to compare with a guy like Matt Rhule — rumored to be a major candidate for the job — but there are few people who know the state of Arizona’s high school football scene like Aguano, and Saturday’s performance will go a long way toward winning over the locker room for him.
If he wasn’t a candidate for the primary job before, he is now.
Slow starts stunting the Huskies
At halftime last Friday in the Rose Bowl, Washington was down 26-10 against UCLA. The Bruins outscored the Huskies 17-3 in the second quarter.
At halftime on Saturday, Washington was down 24-17. The Sun Devils outscored the Huskies 21-10 in the second quarter.
Both frames have featured turnovers from UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Washington’s defense gave up nearly 400 yards to Arizona State — working with a backup quarterback for half of the game — a week after giving up nearly 500 to UCLA. And that came a week after giving up nearly 400 in a win over Stanford. The Huskies lost safety Asa Turner to a targeting call early, and depth in the secondary remains a concern, but the Huskies have to be concerned about their inability to slow down opposing offenses in recent weeks.
And when that’s the case, offensive inefficiencies in the first half will put you in compromised positions. Something UW needs to get sorted out.
Penix finished 33-for-53 for 311 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He did have a rushing score on UW’s first touchdown of the day, but it was the first time this season he failed to produce a touchdown through the air. Arizona State did well to limit the deep ball, the thing that has been a game-breaker for UW in its wins. Penix’s longest pass went for just 26 yards.
Arizona State’s QB spot gets interesting
Maybe it shouldn’t, but it absolutely will. Jones took a shot to the head on a slide in the first half and was knocked out of the game. At the time of his exit, he was 7-for-9 passing for 59 yards.
In came backup Trenton Bourguet, who got essentially 2.5 quarters of action. He looked sharp, completing 15 of his 21 passes for 182 yards and three scores. He had an interception, but led touchdown drives of 79 yards and 82 yards in the second half. One of those possessions featured explosive pass plays of 17 and 38 yards, finding the endzone in just five plays. The other saw Bourguet drive the ball to the endzone in 10 plays.
He displayed some solid anticipation on throws, including this really impressive throw to Elijhah Badger:
Excellent anticipation from Arizona State QB Trenton Bourguet on this line to Elijhah Badger running a shallow cross.
Calm and composed feeling the pressure. His preparation for this moment has been evident. pic.twitter.com/IAqGWakD9n
— Cole Topham (@HamAnalysis) October 8, 2022
Badger finished with 53 yards and two scores on seven catches, by the way. The two looked like they had a nice rapport.
Bourguet and Alabama transfer Paul Tyson battled for the starting job in the spring before Jones arrived. When spring ball ended, Edwards went out and got Jones from the portal, which said all that needed to be said. Did Bourguet’s performance against UW reopen that conversation?