Home USA News Watson’s 3 TDs lead Washington State over Arizona State 28-18

Watson’s 3 TDs lead Washington State over Arizona State 28-18


PULLMAN — Nakia Watson ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns as Washington State beat Arizona State 28-18 on Saturday and reached its seventh bowl game in the last eight seasons.

Cameron Ward completed 22 of 37 passes for 219 yards for Washington State (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12), whose defense led the conference in fewest points allowed per game at 20 and stifled the Sun Devils late in the competition.

Last weekend, Watson rushed for a career-high 166 yards in WSU’s 52-14 win at Stanford.

“He’s given us a spark the last two games,” Washington State coach Jake Dickert said of Watson. “He gets tough, tough, physical yards.”

Washington State has won two straight since hitting a three-game losing streak midway through the season.

“They really want to prove they’re a team,” Dickert said of the Cougars. “This group will be defined by how we finish.”

Emory Jones replaced Trenton Burge at quarterback in the first half and completed 15 of 23 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Arizona State (3-7, 2-5), which played in cold and foggy Pullman for the first time since 2015. .

Khazavian Valadai rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown for the Sun Devils.

Arizona State coach Sean Aguano said his team didn’t perform well in the first half. “We left our defense on the field too much on those first possessions,” Aguano said.

Washington State scored first on a 2-yard run up the middle by Watson midway through the first quarter.

Washington State’s Leighton Smithson caught a 2-yard pass from Ward on their next series, but the conversion was blocked, giving the Cougars a 13-0 lead. Watson ran for 20 yards and caught a 35-yard pass.

Washington State drove to the ASU 2 on its next possession, but Ward’s pass on fourth down was broken up by Ed Woods and the Cougars turned the ball over on downs.

Arizona State scored on its first four drives, and the fifth ended when Burge was intercepted by Chow Smith-Wade, who returned the ball to the 4-yard line. Watson ran in for a touchdown and Smithson caught the converted pass to give Washington State a 21-0 lead.

Jones replaced Burge on the next drive, but the Sun Devils punted again.

Watson scored his third touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run on Washington State’s next drive to give the Cougars a 28-0 halftime lead.

“They could have gone away after the first half, but they fought until the end. Just playing from the back was too much. … We cannot afford to sink that far,” Aguano said.

The Cougars did not score in the second half.

Arizona State got a score on the scoreboard when Jalyn Conyers caught a short pass from Jones and ran for a 47-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter. The conversion pass failed and Washington State led 28-6.

Voladai added a touchdown late in the fourth. Jones threw a touchdown to Elijah the Badger with less than a minute left in the game, but the pass conversion fell short.

“It’s not the ideal way we wanted to win that game,” Dickert said of Arizona State’s three late touchdowns. “We need to be more mature and work with potential customers,” Dickert said. “In the end, we won. We won badly.”

Arizona State played without injured linebacker Kyle Soell, who is the team’s leading rusher.


The second straight win qualified the Cougars for a bowl game. Arizona State’s postseason hopes have faded.


Arizona State hosts Oregon State next Saturday.

Washington State will face former Cougar quarterback Jayden De Lora in Arizona next Saturday.

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