SEATTLE – In the final home game of his Washington career, Kevin King gave the Huskies the jolt they needed.
The cornerback’s one-handed interception was so good, even the officials were asking where it ranked.
“The ref asked me that where that ranked. In my mind it’s like (No.) 5 or 6, but in reality it’s No. 1 for sure,” King said.
King’s second-quarter interception awakened the slumbering Huskies, and quarterback Jake Browning went on 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’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.
“Now it’s kind of like everyone hoped it would be,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
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, the fourth-most catches in school history. Myles Gaskin ran for 127 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Arizona State is kind of a curveball team in terms of making things hard on you,” Petersen said. “They certainly did in the first half, they sort of took us out of our rhythm.”
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. The 15 yards rushing were the fewest allowed by Washington since holding Arizona to (minus)-7 in 2006.
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.
Arizona State lost its fifth straight and must beat Arizona to be bowl eligible.
“We’ve had our fair share of obstacles and we’ve played some really good people,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. “This was the best team in the league that we’ve played to this point, no doubt.”
The Huskies slogged through the first 16 minutes before 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 was intercepted for the second time in the first half.
“That was amazing. That is first-round material right there,” Bierria said.
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 Dante Pettis, and was 6 of 6 for 61 yards on the last drive of the first half. Lavon Coleman finished off the final yard for a 24-0 halftime lead.
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