UW HUSKIES

No. 21 UW Huskies look for bounce-back win vs. Arizona St

Oct 7, 2022, 4:22 PM | Updated: Oct 8, 2022, 10:33 am
Michael Penix UW Huskies...
UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. throws the ball against Kent State on Saturday.(Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. didn’t have his best game last weekend. Neither did his UW Huskies.

Thompson-Robinson leads UCLA past No. 15 UW Huskies 40-32

First-year coach Kalen DeBoer doesn’t expect a repeat performance when the 21st-ranked Huskies travel to face Arizona State on Saturday.

Penix was productive — just like he’s been all season — in last week’s 40-32 loss to UCLA, throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns. But he also had a few mistakes, throwing two interceptions before leading a comeback in the second half.

“That’s what’s made him so successful. He learns from it,” DeBoer said.

Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) now faces an Arizona State team that’s had a rough start to the season. The Sun Devils fired coach Herm Edwards after losing to Eastern Michigan on Sept. 17 and have lost two more games since elevating Shaun Aguano to interim coach.

Arizona State (1-4, 0-2) appears to be playing hard for Aguano and the team was competitive in last week’s loss to No. 6 USC before falling 42-25. Aguano said the game was a step in the right direction for the Sun Devils and they’ll need to be even better against the UW Huskies if they want to break their four-game losing streak.

“They’re a fundamentally sound football team and they’re athletic and talented as well,” Aguano said. “But we want to make sure we impose our will on them and that’s the emphasis that we want to make sure we bring to the offensive side.”

Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones has been a bright spot for the team, especially considering the upheaval around the program. Jones — a transfer from Florida — has thrown for 1,061 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions while also running for four touchdowns.

Jones’ athleticism could cause problems for Washington. The UW Huskies struggled to contain UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson at times during last week’s loss.

“He can throw it,” DeBoer said. “They’ve got some skill around him, so many of the same thoughts when you get ready to play UCLA show up against Arizona State.”

NATIONAL LEADER

Penix entered the week as the national leader in yards passing (1,733), yards passing per game (346.6) and is fifth in touchdown passes (16).

He’s thrown for at least 300 yards in every game after having just five games of 300 or more yards passing in his career at Indiana.

Last week was the first time Penix faced trouble when the Huskies struggled in the first half against UCLA. But Penix rebounded to pass for 212 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.

PRAISE FOR AGUANO

DeBoer and Aguano have known each other for years, dating back to when DeBoer was the offensive coordinator at Southern Illinois in the early 2010s.

DeBoer said coaching changes in the middle of the season are hard on players, but he hasn’t noticed much drop-off with the Sun Devils.

“It’s a clean slate for a lot of these guys, and that’s what a lot of interim coaches do, is wipe the slate clean,” DeBoer said. “I think that might be a little bit of the situation here. They’re playing hard and they’re pushing teams like (USC) last week to the fourth quarter. They’ve got good players.”

PRESSURE PACKED

Washington’s pass rush was stymied by UCLA and needs to hope that was an outlier.

The Huskies had eight sacks in their win over Stanford two weeks ago, but were only able to get to Thompson-Robinson once in the loss to the Bruins.

Bralen Trice leads the way for Washington with four sacks on the season, but the UW Huskies need contributions from Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Jeremiah Martin to make the rush work its best. Martin had the lone sack against UCLA.

SOELLE’S PRODUCTION

Arizona State’s defense is led by linebacker Kyle Soelle, who has 56 tackles through four games.

That’s the most tackles in any four-game span for an Arizona State player since at least 2000.

Arizona State’s defense has been good at forcing turnovers through the air with at least one interception in every game this season. Soelle has two of them.

THE SERIES

Arizona State has a 21-16 advantage in the series and has won 12 of its past 14 games against the UW Huskies.

Washington hasn’t won at Arizona State since 2001. The Sun Devils have won seven straight in Tempe.

Arizona State is trying for its 17th win over a nationally ranked opponent since 2012.

AP Top 25: UW Huskies fall to No. 21, WSU Cougars on brink of poll

UW Huskies

UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr....
Brandon Gustafson

‘Unfinished business’: Michael Penix Jr. breaks down return to UW Huskies

Star UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. joined Brock & Salk to talk about his decision to return to Washington for the 2023 season.
19 hours ago
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
Brandon Gustafson

Huard: Why UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. is returning for 1 more year

UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. surprised many with the news he's returning to school for 2023. Brock Huard explains why that's happening.
4 days ago
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
The Associated Press

UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

UW Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.
5 days ago
UW Huskies Cole Bajema...
The Associated Press

Bajema, Meah score 16 to lead UW Huskies over Colorado 73-63

A three-point play by PJ Fuller and a 3-pointer from Cole Bajema helped the UW Huskies build a late lead in their win over Colorado.
5 days ago
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer...
Brent Stecker

Bowl Games: UW Huskies vs Sark, Texas in Alamo Bowl; WSU to LA Bowl

The UW Huskies will get an intriguing matchup against their former coach in the Alamo Bowl, while WSU is headed to the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.
5 days ago
UW Huskies...
The Associated Press

Oregon St. ends 4-game skid, edging UW Huskies in Pac-12 opener

Dzmitry Ryuny had 14 points, and Oregon State held off the UW Huskies for a 66-65 win on Thursday night in a Pac-12 Conference opener.
8 days ago
No. 21 UW Huskies look for bounce-back win vs. Arizona St