Perhaps this was the only way for a strange Week 7 of college football to end.
Three top-10 teams had already lost this weekend by the time Washington and Arizona State kicked off at 10:45 p.m. ET in Tempe on Saturday. By the time they finished, the Sun Devils had pulled off an upset that proved to be shocking in more ways than one.
Arizona State beat No. 5 Washington 13-7, making the Huskies the fourth top-10 team to go down in Week 7. The mere fact that the Sun Devils beat Washington is surprising by itself, but the way it happened is truly a stunner. After all, Arizona State has had one of the nation's worst defenses the past few years, ranking 99th in points allowed in 2015, 123rd last year and 114th this year, entering Saturday night. The Sun Devils had allowed at least 30 points in 11 straight games; according to Sports-Reference, only two current Power Five teams have ever had a streak allowing more than 30 points of longer than that.
During that streak, Arizona State appeared hopeless against the pass some weeks. It appeared hopeless against the run other weeks. On Saturday night, against the unbeaten defending Pac-12 champions, it suddenly could do no wrong.
In the first half, Washington punted five times and didn't have a drive longer than 26 yards. Arizona State scored 13 points in the first half, and that was all it needed the rest of the game.
In the second half, Washington missed two field goals and punted twice on its first four possessions. Down 13-0 after Arizona State missed a field goal, the Huskies finally got something going on offense when they needed it most. They went 71 yards in 14 plays, including a clutch 12-yard completion from Jake Browning to Quinten Pounds on fourth-and-nine at the Arizona State 20-yard line. Three plays later, Browning scored from one yard out to close the gap to six points with 5:32 left.
The Huskies never got the ball back.
Arizona State moved the chains on a 20-yard N'Keal Harry catch and an eight-yard Demario Richard run. Facing third-and-three, a quick Manny Wilkins pass to his left fell incomplete, stopping the clock and giving Todd Graham a tough decision with two minutes left. Graham opted to go for it, and Wilkins somehow, just before getting hit, let loose a fourth-down pass that slipped past defenders and into the hands of Ceejhay French-Love, who gained 30 yards on the play to seal the upset.
It was a bizarre, fitting end to a strange game and a wild, surprising weekend.
Arizona State earned its first win over a top-five opponent since its Jake Plummer-led Rose Bowl season in 1996. It snapped that 11-game streak of giving up at least 30 points by holding a top-five team to seven points, 230 total yards (3.8 yards per play) and three third-down conversions. Arizona State finished with only 40 rushing yards itself and forced zero turnovers, but a defense that had been so problematic for so long played well with the lead all game, giving Browning little room to work with in the passing game.
Washington coach Chris Petersen recently complained about his team having to play so many late kickoffs. After Saturday night, it would be understandable if Petersen never wants to play under the lights again.