No. 21 Washington looks for bounce-back win vs. Arizona St

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. didn’t have his best game this past weekend. Neither did his Washington Huskies.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. didn’t have his best game this past weekend. Neither did his Washington Huskies.

First-year coach Kalen DeBoer doesn’t expect a repeat of the feat when the 21st-ranked Huskies take on Arizona State on Saturday.

Penix was productive — as he has been all season — in last week’s 40-32 loss to UCLA, throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns. But he also had a few errors and threw two interceptions before leading a comeback in the second half.

“That’s what made him so successful. He’s learning from it,” DeBoer said.

Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) will now face a team from Arizona State that had a difficult start to the season. The Sun Devils fired coach Herm Edwards after losing to Eastern Michigan on Sept. 17 and have lost two more games since appointing Shaun Aguano as interim coach.

Arizona State (1-4, 0-2) appears to be playing hard for Aguano, and the team was competitive in last week’s loss to No. 6 USC before losing 42-25. Aguano said the game was a step in the right direction for the Sun Devils and they need to be even better against the Huskies if they are to break their four-game losing streak.

“They are a fundamentally solid football team and they are also athletic and talented,” said Aguano. “But we want to make sure we impose our will on them and that’s the emphasis we want to make sure we put them on offense.”

Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones was a bright spot for the team, especially given the upheaval surrounding the program. Jones – a transfer from Florida – has thrown for 1,061 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions while also running for four touchdowns.

Jones’ athleticism could pose problems for Washington. The Huskies struggled at times during last week’s loss to contain UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

“He can throw it,” DeBoer said. “You have some skills around him, so many of the same thoughts as you prepare to play UCLA vs Arizona State.”

NATIONAL LEADER

Penix started the week as the national leader in yards passing (1,733), yards passed per game (346.6), and fifth in touchdown passes (16).

He has thrown for at least 300 yards in every game, having hauled in just five games for 300 yards or more in his Indiana career.

Last week, Penix started having problems when the Huskies battled UCLA in the first half. But Penix rallied to pass for 212 yards and three touchdowns in the second half.

PRAISE FOR AGUANO

DeBoer and Aguano have known each other for years, dating back to when DeBoer was offensive coordinator at Southern Illinois in the early 2010s.

DeBoer said mid-season coaching changes are tough for players, but he hasn’t noticed a big dip at the Sun Devils.

“It’s a clean slate for a lot of these guys, and a lot of interim coaches do that by wiping the slate clean,” DeBoer said. “I think it might have something to do with the situation here. They’re playing hard and pushing teams like (USC) into the fourth quarter last week. They have good players.”

PRESSURE PACKED

Washington’s pass rush was hampered by UCLA and has to hope that was a runaway.

The Huskies had eight sacks in their win against Stanford two weeks ago, but only managed once against Thompson-Robinson in the loss to the Bruins.

Bralen Trice leads Washington with four sacks in the season, but the Huskies need contributions from Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Jeremiah Martin for the rush to function optimally. Martin had the lone sack against UCLA.

SOELLE’S PRODUCTION

Arizona State’s defense is led by linebacker Kyle Soelle, who has 56 tackles in four games.

That’s the most tackles in all four games for an Arizona State player since at least 2000.

Arizona State’s defense has been good at forcing turnovers through the air, with at least one interception in every game this season. Solle has two of them.

THE SERIES

Arizona State has a 21-16 lead in the series and has won 12 of its last 14 games against the Huskies.

Washington has not won at Arizona State since 2001. The Sun Devils have won seven straight games at Tempe.

Arizona State is attempting its 17th win over a nationally ranked opponent since 2012.

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/ncaa/ncaab/huskies/no-21-washington-looks-for-bounce-back-win-vs-arizona-st/281-2e6ac0d0-fbb6-42a2-bf5f-15e599867bf7 No. 21 Washington looks for bounce-back win vs. Arizona St

Emma Bowman

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