Oct. 30, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Steven Threet returned from last week's concussion to throw for 300 yards and hit Jamal Miles on two of his three touchdown passes, helping Arizona State extend Washington State's Pac-10 losing streak to 15 games with a dominating 42-0 win on Saturday night.
Coming off an embarrassing loss to California, Arizona State (4-4, 2-3) never gave Washington State (1-8, 0-6) a chance at the upset, overwhelming the Cougars with its rapid-fire offense.
Threet led the way, hitting 26 of 32 passes before sitting out the final 24 minutes after a 7-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Marshall, who also scored on the ground.
The defense was just as dominant, holding Washington State to 8 yards rushing while forcing three turnovers - two on first-half interceptions of Jeff Tuel - for the Sun Devils' first shutout in two years.
Before the Cal game, Arizona State had been competitive, even in losing. The Sun Devils backpedaled in Berkeley, unable to stop the Bears defensively, while failing to score an offensive touchdown for the first time in two years.
The 50-17 loss left Arizona State with a daunting final stretch, needing to win four of its final five games to become bowl eligible. Three of those are against ranked teams - USC, Stanford and rival Arizona - so the Sun Devils had to have this one.
Washington State, meanwhile, had made noticeable progress this season in its rebuilding project under coach Paul Wulff, the defense coming together the past few weeks, the offense thriving under the quickly-maturing Tuel.
All that was missing was a Pac-10 win. The Cougars beat second-tier Montana State in September, but hadn't won in the conference since knocking off rival Washington in double overtime two years ago.
Based on Arizona State's Bay Area debacle, Washington State figured to have a glimmer of hope, even as 21-point underdogs.
Arizona State blew that out like a pilot light, burying the Cougars with a barrage of quick-hitting plays in its first home game in 34 days.
Threet was the catalyst.
Stunned after a concussion in the first half last week, the junior had a clear head from the start against the Cougars, picking them apart on underneath throws and deep outs.
Threet was 9 of 10 for 63 yards on Arizona State's nearly-flawless opening drive, capped by Marshall's 7-yard touchdown run past a drive-a-car-through hole on the left side. The second drive was even more efficient: four plays, 68 yards, Threet hitting Miles on a 9-yard swing pass through an equally-large hole.
After Deantre Lewis added a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, Threet capped the dominating half with another quick-hitter, leading the Sun Devils on a three-play, 56-yard drive. He finished it off with a deftly-placed 18-yard TD pass to Miles at the edge of the end zone, putting Arizona State up 28-0 at the half.
Threet was 23 for 29 for 237 yards by halftime and opened the second half with the early TD to Marshall on a swing pass. He was done after that, the game well enough in hand for backup Brock Osweiler to take over.
It didn't go so well for Tuel.
He was coming off a 298-yard game against Stanford, but had a hard time solving Arizona State's speedy defense. Tuel threw a wobbly interception on Washington State's third possession and ended the only sustained drive of the first half with an up-for-grabs throw that Arizona State's LeQuan Lewis pulled down in the end zone for another pick.
Tuel finished 17 for 26 for 200 yards before being replaced by Marshall Lobbestael midway through the fourth quarter, with Washington State's conference losing streak extended for another week.