SEATTLE — Jake Browning overcame a sluggish start to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 7 Washington routed Arizona State 44-18 on Saturday night to stay in the College Football Playoff mix.
Washington (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will likely to move up in both the AP Top 25 and the CFP ranking after snapping a 10-game losing streak to the Sun Devils. But the Huskies appeared to let last week’s loss to Southern California linger early before a 21-point second quarter put Washington fully in control.
Browning completed 27 of 44 passes with 12 of those going to John Ross for 95 yards. Myles Gaskin ran for 127 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Washington’s victory sets up one of the biggest Apple Cup’s ever Friday in Pullman against Washington State with the winner claiming the Pac-12 North title and a spot in the conference title game. The two are tied on top of the North Division standings after Washington State’s 38-24 loss at Colorado on Saturday.
Washington’s defense dominated from the outset, holding Arizona State (5-6, 2-6) to 48 yards in the first half and just 84 through three quarters before reserves took over. Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins was 20 of 32 passing for 227 yards but was sacked six times. N’Keal Harry had six catches for 114 yards, but the Sun Devils managed only 15 yards rushing.
Jay Jay Wilson had Arizona State’s only touchdowns, catching a pair of fourth-down TDs in the fourth quarter. And if the night needed to be any wackier, Washington linebacker Keishawn Bierria scooped up an onside kick attempt and returned it for a touchdown with 6:03 remaining.
The Huskies slogged through the first 16 minutes before Kevin King jolted Washington awake. The senior cornerback intercepted Wilkins’ pass in the end zone, making a spectacular one-handed grab just three plays after Browning had a pass intercepted for the second time in the first half.
Two plays after King’s interception, Browning hit Chico McClatcher on a screen pass and the speedy wide receiver raced 75 yards to start Washington’s 21-point second quarter. Browning added a 46-yard TD pass to Pettis, but was at his best on the final drive of the first half. Browning was 6 of 6 for 61 yards on the last drive and Lavon Coleman finished off the final yard for a 24-0 halftime lead.