SEATTLE (AP) — In the final home game of his Washington career, Kevin King gave the Huskies the jolt they needed.
The cornerback's one-handed interception was so good, even the officials were asking where it ranked.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 20, 2016
"The ref asked me that where that ranked. In my mind it's like (No.) 5 or 6, but in reality it's No. 1 for sure," King said.
— Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) November 20, 2016
King's second-quarter interception awakened the slumbering Huskies, and quarterback Jake Browning went on to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and No. 7 Washington routed Arizona State 44-18 on Saturday night to stay in the College Football Playoff mix.
Washington's victory sets up one of the biggest Apple Cup's ever Friday in Pullman against Washington State with the winner claiming the Pac-12 North title and a spot in the conference title game. The two are tied on top of the North Division standings after Washington State's 38-24 loss at Colorado on Saturday.
"Now it's kind of like everyone hoped it would be," Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Washington (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will likely to move up in both the AP Top 25 and the CFP ranking after snapping a 10-game losing streak to the Sun Devils. But the Huskies appeared to let last week's loss to Southern California linger early before a 21-point second quarter put Washington fully in control.
Browning completed 27 of 44 passes with 12 of those going to John Ross for 95 yards, the fourth-most catches in school history. Myles Gaskin ran for 127 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
WOOF! Jake Browning connects with Dante Pettis for a 46-yard touchdown pass. #PurpleReign
Watch: FOX https://t.co/cGai1J7oP9
— UW Football (@UW_Football) November 20, 2016
"Arizona State is kind of a curveball team in terms of making things hard on you," Petersen said. "They certainly did in the first half, they sort of took us out of our rhythm."
Washington's defense dominated from the outset, holding Arizona State (5-6, 2-6) to 48 yards in the first half and just 84 through three quarters before reserves took over. Arizona State's Manny Wilkins was 20 of 32 passing for 227 yards but was sacked six times. N'Keal Harry had six catches for 114 yards, but the Sun Devils managed only 15 yards rushing. The 15 yards rushing were the fewest allowed by Washington since holding Arizona to (minus)-7 in 2006.
Jay Jay Wilson had Arizona State's only touchdowns, catching a pair of fourth-down TDs in the fourth quarter. And if the night needed to be any wackier, Washington linebacker Keishawn Bierria scooped up an onside kick attempt and returned it for a touchdown with 6:03 remaining.
Arizona State lost its fifth straight and must beat Arizona to be bowl eligible.
"We've had our fair share of obstacles and we've played some really good people," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. "This was the best team in the league that we've played to this point, no doubt."
The Huskies slogged through the first 16 minutes before King jolted Washington awake. The senior cornerback intercepted Wilkins' pass in the end zone, making a spectacular one-handed grab just three plays after Browning was intercepted for the second time in the first half.
"That was amazing. That is first-round material right there," Bierria said.
Two plays after King's interception, Browning hit Chico McClatcher on a screen pass and the speedy wide receiver raced 75 yards to start Washington's 21-point second quarter. Browning added a 46-yard TD pass to Dante Pettis, and was 6 of 6 for 61 yards on the last drive of the first half. Lavon Coleman finished off the final yard for a 24-0 halftime lead.
Washington got help when Houston knocked off Louisville on Thursday night. Combined with lackluster wins by Ohio State and Michigan, the Huskies should gain some ground in the AP Top 25 . But at this point, it's the College Football Playoff rankings that really matter to the Huskies.
If there is such a thing in a 26-point win, it came in the opening moments of the second quarter. Browning was intercepted by Koron Crump, who returned the pick for a touchdown. But the TD was nullified by a blocking penalty at the 3 on Maurice Chandler. Instead of taking a 7-3 lead, the Sun Devils got nothing out of the turnover thanks to King's interception.
Arizona State: The worst pass defense in the Pac-12 did get two interceptions but also gave up loads of yards. Browning was especially good in the second and third quarters, hitting receivers underneath the coverage and taking shots deep when available.
Washington: The Huskies rediscovered their pass rush that had been missing the previous four weeks. Washington had four sacks in the first half, after having four sacks in the previous four games combined. Washington found success blitzing safeties Budda Baker and Ezekiel Turner. The Huskies finished with six sacks.
Arizona State played without starting safety Marcus Ball and defensive lineman Jalen Bates. Washington was without safety Jojo McIntosh.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils travel to Tucson to face Arizona on Friday night.
Washington: The Huskies close the regular season Friday at rival Washington State.