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Originally published October 9, 2010 at 10:26 PM | Page modified October 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM

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Arizona State beats Washington

In a driving rainstorm at Husky Stadium, it was the University of Washington that left feeling under the weather thanks to a 24-14 loss to Arizona State University on Saturday night.

Seattle Times staff reporter

SEATTLE —

In a driving rainstorm at Husky Stadium, it was the University of Washington that left feeling under the weather thanks to a 24-14 loss to Arizona State University on Saturday night.

And it didn't help that Jake Locker was among a few Huskies who came into the game already sick.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian said afterward that Locker struggled with flu-like symptoms all week — he was even tested for mononucleosis, which turned up negative — and had trouble catching his breath. That resulted in a curtailing of the game plan that worked so well last week when Locker often made plays on the run.

"We didn't get 100 percent of Jake Locker tonight, unfortunately," Sarkisian said of Locker, who threw for 209 yards but ran for just 6.

They did get a full dose of Arizona State, however, as the previously bumbling Sun Devils controlled the game much of the night to snap an eight-game Pac-10 losing streak, and nine in a row against FBS foes. ASU hadn't won a conference game since beating UW 24-17 in Tempe on Oct. 17.

"It's obviously a very disappointing loss," Sarkisian said.

In fact, it again puts UW at a critical point, dropping Washington's record to 2-3 overall in a season in which nothing less than a bowl game will be considered a success. UW has to win four of seven just to get to .500 — and now has four of seven on the road.

"It's a missed opportunity," Sarkisian said of the chance to get above .500 in a home game against a team that was picked ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll.

UW struggled to control Arizona State's passing offense as Sun Devils quarterback Steven Threet completed 21 of 34 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Both came in the first half as ASU built a 21-7 halftime lead.

The second came in what might have been the turning point of the game as Threet hit Mike Willie with a 20-yard TD pass with 19 seconds left in the half.

That came after UW went for it on a fourth-and-five at the ASU 35 with 1:04 left. Sarkisian said he bypassed a field goal since the conditions would make it difficult for Erik Folk to kick it that far.

"Watching Erik kick in pregame, I didn't feel good having him kick from there," Sarkisian said.

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And he said wanted to get a score on the board, so he decided not to punt.

"I thought we had a good play call," Sarkisian said. "Let's go convert it."

But a slightly high Locker pass went off the hands of Jermaine Kearse on a slant and ASU took over and then easily moved down the field to turn a possible tie game into a two-touchdown lead.

UW had earlier in the quarter tried a fake field goal on a fourth-and-18 at the ASU 31, with holder Cody Bruns rolling out with the option to run or pass. Neither was there, however, and he was tackled for no gain. Sarkisian said he again thought the field goal was too long and thought the fake would work.

"They defended it well," he said.

UW cut the lead to 21-14 when it finally converted a fourth down early in the fourth quarter, Locker hitting D'Andre Goodwin for a 15-yard touchdown.

The Huskies then got the ball back on a Cort Dennison interception at the Huskies 30 with 11:08 remaining — the only pick of the night thrown by Threet, who came in with 10. But the Huskies couldn't move and the game pretty much ended there.

"We could not get on track to where we had consistency as an offensive football team," Sarkisian said, noting UW played without starting receiver Devin Aguilar (out with a pulled hip flexor suffered on the last play of practice Thursday) and left guard Erik Kohler (mono).

"When we weren't able to capitalize on our (opportunities) it got hard and they did a nice job rushing the passer and getting after Jake, and we weren't able to throw the ball down the field to attack them."

UW held ASU to just three points in the second half, though it helped that Sun Devils' kicker Thomas Weber missed two field goals.

Sarkisian, though, said he was satisfied with the defense.

"They moved the ball between the 20s, but all in all when it's all said and done, 24 points is a chance to win the game and we weren't able to do that," he said.

The loss dims much of the excitement from last week's 32-31 win at USC, and the obvious question is whether the team suffered a letdown.

Sarkisian said no, saying that "they played hard. We just didn't execute the way we are capable of executing and we didn't coach the way we are capable of coaching."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

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