Vince Grippi’s Keys to the WSU-ASU Game
What went right
It is almost impossible to find anything to point out in Washington State’s worst game of the season, but Reid Forrest did punt six times for 271 yards, a 45.2 average. He also set two WSU career records for most punts (256) and most punt yardage (10,879). Though Forrest had punts of 64 yards and 57 twice, he still had an off-the-side-of-his-foot 22-yarder that set up an Arizona State touchdown.
What went wrong
What didn’t? The easy thing is to just to quote senior receiver Daniel Blackledge: “They just outplayed us,” he said. “That’s a simple fact.” But it can’t be that simple. The most glaring problem was WSU’s inability to handle an Arizona State passing game that came in second in the conference, averaging 281.6 yards a game. The Sun Devils passed that mark in the first half and finished with 375 yards through the air.
If there can be one in a 42-0 game, the key play might have been a fourth-and-1 from the ASU 33 on the Devils’ first scoring drive. Quarterback Steven Threet kept the ball but was met in the hole by C.J. Mizell and Tyree Toomer and didn’t seem to go forward at all. But the ball was marked a yard up for a first down. Instead of giving WSU the ball in prime scoring positions, the Sun Devils went on to score and take a 7-0 lead.
It would have to be Threet, who was knocked out of ASU’s 50-17 loss at California last week with a concussion. He didn’t show any ill-effects, hitting 9 of his first 10 passes, finishing 26 of 32 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed twice, both picking up first downs. Plus he had a 24-yard run called back by an illegal shift. “He was very accurate and he had control of what was going on,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said.