SEATTLE – Jake Browning threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter, added a third TD toss early in the fourth quarter, and No. 10 Washington outlasted Arizona State 27-20 on Saturday night.
Browning rebounded from a handful of shaky moments in the first three weeks of the season to put together a complete performance that didn’t have any of the major miscues he made at times early in his senior season. Browning hit Aaron Fuller and Ty Jones on TD passes during a brilliant first quarter, and found Cade Otton in the back corner of the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard TD to give Washington (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) a 27-13 lead.
Herm Edwards suffered his second straight loss in charge of the Sun Devils’ after a promising 2-0 start that included an upset of Michigan State. The problem against Washington was simply a lack of punch from Edwards’ offense.
Arizona State (2-2, 0-1) rediscovered its run game that was absent the previous two weeks, with Eno Benjamin rushing for 104 yards. But quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for only 104 yards and star wide receiver N’Keal Harry was limited to five catches for 20 yards, unable to find space against Washington’s stellar secondary.
Wilkins scored on a 1-yard TD run with 2:54 left to pull the Sun Devils within 27-20. Arizona State kicked deep with three timeouts remaining, but Washington converted a key third-and-6 when Browning hit Andre Baccellia for 9 yards with 2:34 left on a call that was overturned on replay.
Browning finished 15 of 22 passing for 202 yards, but was at his best in the first quarter when he hit 6 of 7 passes for 110 yards and his first two touchdowns. Fuller, the Huskies leading receiver, caught his first TD of the season on an 11-yard reception. Jones’ TD was his fourth, an impressive 19-yard catch as he was falling backward in the end zone.
The quick start by Browning came after an inauspicious start for the Huskies. The team first got briefly stuck in the tunnel leading to the field before kickoff when a gate wouldn’t open, then saw wide receiver Andre Baccellia throw an interception on the first play of the game on a double pass. Arizona State’s Chase Lewis grabbed the interception and six plays later Benjamin scored from the 1 for a 7-0 Arizona State lead.
Browning became the second quarterback in Washington history to top 10,000 career passing yards when he hit Otton on a 24-yard completion in the third quarter. He trails only Cody Pickett in career passing yards at the school.
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