Homecoming night was spoiled for Tempe, which fell behind early to Washington and was never able to recover. The Buffaloes lost 70-48 Friday, breaking their hopes of an undefeated season.
Leaving Friday’s game, many worried about the condition of Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant, who left midway through the fourth quarter with an arm injury. The game was already out of reach at that point, but Gant was seen wearing an arm sling on the sideline and being treated by trainers.
After the game Tempe coach Brian Walker said Gant would be fine, but didn’t give any more details.
The game opened with quick touchdowns by both teams on long touchdown passes. For Washington (4-2), James Rasmussen connected with Armando Durazo for 87 yards. Tempe (5-1) answered right back with a 44-yard touchdown from Gant to Kam’ron Johnson.
In the second quarter Washington would jump out to a 20-7 lead thanks to two fumbles for turnovers by Tempe as well as a turnover on downs on a 4th-and-goal. Rasmussen connected for 34 yards to Ryan Masciola for a touchdown, and then Antwoin Marlowe would add on to the lead with a 29-yard touchdown run.
Tempe, however, would battle back and trail just 32-27 at the half, and even had a one point lead at one point.
Coming into the third quarter, however, Rasmussen would lead the Washington offense past Tempe, and would open up the game.
Rasmussen led the Rams to four touchdowns through the air on the night, completing 13-for-29 for 282 yards and an interception. Rasmussen broke open the game with an 18-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown, and the Rams wouldn’t look back from there.
“People should take us seriously," Rasmussen said. "Tempe’s a good team, we just proved to be better. We expected a close game, but the score turned out to be pretty lopsided for us.”
Gant did the best he could to keep Tempe in the game, throwing for 163 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. He would finish the night 16-for-27 for 272 yards and five touchdowns before leaving with the arm injury in the fourth quarter.
Washington relied on the passing game early on, and Marlowe looked impressive in the second half on the ground. He had 23 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns on the night, including a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the game.
Penalties would prove the ultimate defeat for the Buffaloes, with one 80-yard touchdown called back in the third quarter, a 4th-and-one offsides call and a 30-yard penalty on defense thanks to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. In all Tempe collected 95 penalty yards, but that doesn’t do justice to the effect it had on the game.
“We can’t take anyone for granted," Walker said. "We’ve got to remember where we came from."
The Buffaloes were 6-4 last season, their first season over .500 since 2004. In 2009 and 2010 Tempe combined for a 1-19 record, and have seen nothing but improvement since then.
“We’ve got to keep clawing towards the top," Walker said. "The only way we’re going to get there is if we keep clawing. We can’t think we’re there, and we’re not there.”
By the time backup quarterback Kalen White would come in, the game was out-of-hand. White, however, was able to lead one successful drive and score on a 30-yard touchdown to Sebastian Watkins.
“We sputtered a bit tonight," Walker said. "We’ve got a lot of things to work on. Not just the defense, but the special teams offense, we’ll get it done. Tempe High School isn’t done. We’re still rising."
Washington 70, Tempe 48
First Downs: W 18, T 13
Rushing: W 44-284, T 14-99
Passing (Completions- Attempts-Yards-TD-INT): W (14-30-312-4-1) T (23-39-332-6-0)
Fumbles-lost: W 0-0, T 2-2
Penalties-yards: W 7-60, T 12-95
Washington 7 25 24 14 -- 70
Tempe 7 20 15 6 -- 48
W: Durazo 87 pass from Rasmussen (Castro kick)
T: Johnson 44 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
W: Masciola 34 pass from Rasmussen (2-pt failed)
T: Garret 21 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
T: Garret 31 pass from Gant (2-pt failed)
W: Marlowe 3 run (kick blocked)
W: Gant 18 run (Hernandez kick)
W: Montelongo 16 pass from Rasmussen (2-pt failed)
W: Rasmussen 18 run (Castro kick)
W: Castro 22 FG
T: Savage 9 pass from Gant (Adebule 2 pass from Gant)
W: Marlowe 4 run (Castro kick)
T: Whitmore 34 run (Hernandez kick)
W: Marlowe 70 run (Castro kick)
W: Montelongo 47 pass from Rasmussen (Castro kick)
W: Marlowe 10 run (Castro kick)
T: Watkins 30 pass from White (2-pt failed)