ASU looks to spoil UW homecoming, keep pace in the Pac-12 South

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As an ASU graduate who grew up in Seattle rooting for the purple and gold, it's always bittersweet when the Sun Devils and Huskies tangle. One of them will come away with a conference loss in a game both teams need to win.

ASU (5-1, 3-1 Pac 12) is coming off of a division-winning season, but finished last season with back-to-back losses, and a early season blow-out loss to UCLA have the Devils looking for more. Even so, with one conference loss, the Devils control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South.

Washington (5-2, 1-2 Pac 12) won a bowl game last season, but can't get over the hump against North Division rivals Oregon and Stanford. At 5-2, UW has a legitimate shot at a 9 or 10-win season with a victory against ASU.

The Sun Devils have won the past eight straight against the Dawgs, taking a 16-15 edge in a series where many games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Special teams always seem to factor big, and often the game comes down to one or two big plays. That said, here's my pick of the most entertaining and memorable games in what has been a tremendous series.

2000 in Tempe: Former Highland High standout Marquis Cooper blocked a punt in his return to the Valley, setting-up Washington's first touchdown in a game that would ultimately be decided by just 6 points. The UW's 21-15 road win in Tempe was the second of what would become an 8-game winning streak to finish the season, including a Rose Bowl victory against Drew Brees and Purdue. ASU would struggle all season long, in what would be Bruce Snyder's final year.

2006 in Seattle: Rudy Carpenter would toss two touchdowns and Keegan Herring scored on a 61-yard run, helping ASU build a 20-6 lead on the road. Backup UW QB Johnny DuRocher rallied the Dawgs late for a game-tying touchdown, forcing the first overtime game in Husky Stadium history. In OT, Washington had to settle for a field goal, but on ASU's 2nd play, Carpenter found Brent Miller for the game-winning touchdown.

2001 in Tempe: Washington opened up a 17-0 first half lead and looked like they would run away with it, but ASU's Jeff Krohn threw for 320 yards and rallying the Devils to a one-point lead in the 4th quarter. Cody Pickett then led the Huskies down the field from their own 10-yard-line, setting-up a 30-yard John Anderson field goal to win it for UW, 33-31.

2009 in Tempe: In Steve Sarkisian's first year as head coach, Washington was tied with ASU 17-17. The Huskies tried to run out the clock, but inexplicably, Jake Locker threw incomplete on 3rd-and-1 deep in UW territory. That forced the Huskies to punt the ball back to ASU with less than 30 seconds left in the game. Instead of kneeling down and going to overtime, Dennis Erickson rolled the dice, and Danny Sullivan threw a 50-yard bomb to Chris McGaha for the game-winning touchdown. It was the longest completion of Sullivan's career and the only catch of the night for McGaha, who had been sick all week leading up to the game. ASU won 24-17, ironically in similar fashion to the hail mary victory over Sarkisian's USC Trojans earlier this season.

1998 in Tempe: Expectations were high for #8 ASU, coming off back-to-back seasons with bowl appearances. Ryan Kealy and Brock Huard each threw for more than 300 yards, with Kealy completing a touchdown pass on 4th down that put the Devils in front and seemed to seal the deal. With time running out and the Sun Devils leading, Washington appeared doomed on a 4th-and-17 deep in its own end. Instead, Huard would find Reggie Davis down the ASU sideline for a 63-yard touchdown, silencing the more than 72,000 in attendance. Washington won 42-38, a bright spot in what would be Jim Lambright's final season as UW head coach.

1996 in Tempe: In Washington's first season after a two-year bowl ban, the Huskies were a favorite to return to Pasadena. But the season opener in Tempe turned-out to be Jake Plumber's coming out party. Down 42-21 in his first college start, Brock Huard brought the Huskies all the way back to tie, but a bad punt by the Huskies in their own end late in the game set-up Plumber for the game-winning drive. Robert Nycz hit a field goal with 0:02 on the clock for a 45-42 ASU win. While everyone remembers the wild Nebraska win two weeks later, it was the victory over UW that would set the tone for ASU's magical Rose Bowl run.