It wasn’t enough that Shaun Aguano unexpectedly had to take over the reins of the ASU football team after Herm Edwards parted ways with the program. He must do so by starting with three straight matches against nationally ranked foes.
First there was a blistering loss to Utah, then an improved performance in a road loss at USC.
That progress surged Saturday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium, as ASU took on No. 21 Washington before fending off a final push from the Huskies and securing a 45-38 win.
When a fourth and 35th pass from Michael Penix fell incomplete, it started a celebration on the Sun Devil Sun Devil sideline. Over a month passed between wins and Aguano peeked into the crowd to see the fan reaction.
“I look back and say this is one of the greatest days of my coaching career. Absolutely,” said Aguano, who four years ago was the head coach at Chandler High. School. “I feel like the richest man in the world right now. No money, believe me. But just because of the wealth of love these kids gave me and of the trust they gave me. As an educator, you try to correct and I hope they get it. And you try to talk to them and teach them and I hope they get it. ‘get. You ask them to love and trust and I hope they get it. love these kids and make sure to inspire them.”
Here are some takeaways from ASU’s first Pac-12 win of the season, first win under Aguano and first win against a ranked team since beating No. 1. 20 UCLA 42 -23 at the Rose Bowl on October 2. Arizona State improved to 2-4, 1-2 in the conference; UCLA fell to 4-2, 1-2.
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Bourguet announces his arrival
It’s been a long time since ASU needed to field a reserve quarterback. When Jayden Daniels arrived at ASU in 2019, the starting job was his, and the only question was who would be the replacement. Trenton Bourguet was that guy for the past two years, but the only action he saw was cleaning.
When Emory Jones transferred to ASU over the summer, he won the No. 1 job, and again, the only question at the job was who would serve as his understudy. When then-head coach Herm Edwards announced Jones as the starter two weeks before the start of the season, he was asked about the replacement and chose not to name one. The depth chart did not indicate any either, the chart indicating Bourget Where Paul Tyson.
But when Jones was knocked out of Saturday’s game with 8:39 left in the first half, it was Bourguet who got the call. The least we can say is that it was effective. His first play was a pass single to Xazavian Valladay for an 11-yard touchdown that tied the game, 10-10. The remaining drives were all from Bourguet, and he completed 15 of 21 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception, giving the Sun Devils a 45-38 lead with 4:35 left.
Equally impressive was how cool Bourguet was in the pocket. At just 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, the redshirt junior from Tucson Marana High School just wasn’t shaken, even as Washington’s offense kept the pressure on ASU.
Since taking over the program, Aguano has stressed the importance of recruiting locally. Aguano doubled down on that mantra after the game.
“I want people to know he’s an Arizona kid. We can win with the Arizona kids. I want to keep the Arizona kids here and he just amplified that for us,” said the coach.
How did that happen :Arizona State football upsets Washington with quarterback Trenton Bourguet
The defense is gaining momentum
The Sun Devils entered the game ninth in the Pac-12 defense, giving up 400 yards per game, a far cry from 2021 when they were first in multiple categories.
But the much-maligned defense, which allowed 448 total yards on Saturday, did something it didn’t during the four-game losing streak: put up the big play. a significant impact on the result.
The first came late in the second quarter with ASU ahead 17-10. Safety Jordan Clark was in the right spot when ASU’s pass rush rattled Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The ball bounced straight through the air and Clark returned the interception 38 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-10.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God,'” Clark said as he saw the deflected ball coming straight at him. “I couldn’t believe it, but I just wanted to make sure I secured the hold, and once I caught it in stride, I knew no one was going to catch me and I’m just came in. It was like slow motion.”
The second came early in the third quarter after the Huskies worked the ball to ASU 32. Facing fourth and first, ASU safety Khoury Bethley stopped Rome Odunze on fourth down. ASU took over and five plays scored later, with Bourguet throwing a 10-yard pass to Elijhah Badger for a 31-17 lead.
There was almost a third as Washington, training 38-24, worked its way deep into ASU territory where it had a fourth and a 6. A pass went incomplete in the midfield area. goals, but ASU’s Timarcus Davis was called for pass interference on a ball that would have been hard to catch. The Huskies ended up scoring three plays later to cut the deficit to 38-31.
Badger turns a corner
The Sun Devils have been on the hunt for a prime wide receiver since Brandon Aiyuk left as a first-round pick in 2019. Badger arrived as a four-star prospect two years ago and had to sit for a year while working on academics. . He had a good spring ahead of the 2021 season, but his potential really didn’t show up last year.
Badger, however, appears to have turned the corner. He had 7 catches for 53 yards against the Huskies with 10 and 2 yard touchdown receptions, the latter giving ASU a 45-38 lead in the fourth quarter.
Badger now has a team record 31 catches for 372 yards and three touchdowns.
The Sun Devils have a bye next week and will return to action Oct. 22 at Stanford (1-4, 0-4), a 28-27 loss to Oregon State later Saturday night.
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