Watson’s 3 TDs lead Washington St. over Arizona St. 28-18

Nov 12, 2022, 2:11 AM | Updated: 4:56 pm

Washington State defensive back Jaden Hicks (25) celebrates a pass deflection by defensive back Der...

Washington State defensive back Jaden Hicks (25) celebrates a pass deflection by defensive back Derrick Langford Jr. (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Nakia Watson ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns as Washington State beat Arizona State 28-18 on Saturday to qualify for a bowl game for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

Cameron Ward completed 22 of 37 passes for 219 yards for Washington State (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12), whose defense came in leading the conference in fewest points allowed per game at 20 and managed to stifle the Sun Devils until late in the contest.

Watson rushed for a career-high 166 yards last weekend in WSU’s 52-14 win at Stanford.

“He’s given us a spark the last two games,” Washington State coach Jake Dickert said of Watson. “He’s getting tough, hard, physical yards.”

Washington State has won two straight since enduring a three-game losing streak midseason.

“They really want to prove the type of team they are,” Dickert said of the Cougars. “This group will be defined by how we finish.”

Emory Jones relieved Trenton Bourguet at quarterback in the first half and completed 15 of 23 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona State (3-7, 2-5), which was playing in chilly and foggy Pullman for the first time since 2015.

Xazavian Valladay rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown for the Sun Devils.

Arizona State coach Shaun Aguano said his team did not execute well in the first half. “We left our defense on the field too much on those early possessions,” Aguano said.

Washington State scored first, on a 2-yard run up the middle by Watson, midway through the first quarter.

Washington State’s Leyton Smithson caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ward on their next series, but the conversion kick was blocked and the Cougars led 13-0. Watson had a 20-yard run and a 35-yard pass reception on the drive.

Washington State drove to the ASU 2 on its next possession, but Ward’s pass on fourth down was broken up by Ed Woods and the Cougars turned the ball over on downs.

Arizona State punted on its first four drives and its fifth ended when Bourguet was intercepted by Chau Smith-Wade, who returned the ball to the 4-yard line. Watson bulled over for a touchdown and Smithson caught the conversion pass to give Washington State a 21-0 lead.

Jones replaced Bourguet on the next drive, but the Sun Devils punted again.

Watson scored his third touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run on Washington State’s next drive, and the Cougars led 28-0 at halftime.

“They could’ve quit after that first half, but they fought all the way through. It’s just that playing from behind was too much. … We can’t let ourselves get down that far,” Aguano said.

The Cougars did not score in the second half.

Arizona State got on the scoreboard when Jalin Conyers caught a short pass from Jones and ran for a 47-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the third quarter. The conversion pass failed and Washington State led 28-6.

Valladay added a touchdown run late in the fourth. Jones threw a touchdown pass to Elijhah Badger with less than a minute left in the game, but the conversion pass failed.

“That’s not ideally how we wanted to win that game,” Dickert said of Arizona State’s three late touchdowns. “We need to be more mature and handle leads,” Dickert said. “At the end of the day we won it. We won it ugly.”

Arizona State played without injured linebacker Kyle Soelle, who is the team’s leading tackler.


A second consecutive victory allowed the Cougars to become bowl-eligible. Arizona State’s post-season hopes were extinguished.


Arizona State hosts Oregon State next Saturday.

Washington State faces former Cougar quarterback Jayden de Laura at Arizona next Saturday.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Watson’s 3 TDs lead Washington St. over Arizona St. 28-18