ASU was a poor host yet again….
Tempe – AZ
The Arizona State Sun Devils came out firing on all cylinders at home just as they did against Northern Arizona and Illinois and jumping out to a 21 – 0 first quarter lead on Pac 12 foe Utah.
The Devils struck early on a 38-yard passing touchdown when Taylor Kelly found Rashad Ross. That was followed by a 1-yard touchdown run by Cameron Marshall and a Marion Grice 10-yard touchdown reception from Kelly and the route was on.
Utah appeared to get their legs for a while in the second quarter and was able to put points on the board cutting the ASU lead to 21 – 7 when Jon Hayes hit Karl Williams with 2-yard touchdown pass. But the Devils came right back with a field goal by Alex Garoutte, followed by Kelly to Marshall 13 yard touchdown pass. With that, the Devils took a commanding 31 – 7 lead and that was the score at the end of the first half.
The Devils had a chance to make it 34 – 7 but Garoutte missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
You could look no further than the stat sheet and the first half story would be perfectly illustrated. The Devils out gained Utah 347 total yards to 152. That stands out even more because the Devils only ran six more offensive plays than Utah.
As impressive as the Devils offense was in the first half, the defense was even more impressive. They forced 3 punts, 2 fumbles (recovering 1), had 3 sacks and allowed Utah to convert on only 3 of their 8 third down opportunities.
To start the third quarter the Utah defense bent but did not break forcing ASU to punt on their first possession. Not to be outdone, the Devils took the ball right back by applying heavy pressure to Utah’s quarterback Jon Hayes who threw the ball while running for his life, only to have it intercepted by the Devils free safety Keelan Johnson.
That turnover proved costly as the Devils capitalized not only on that, but a roughing the passer call against Utah that allowed them to add another 3 points. That score stretched their lead to 34 – 7 with 5:19 to go in the third quarter and from there the Devils were on cruise control.
The Devils forced another turnover but came up empty when place kicker Jon Mora missed a field goal joining Garoutte in the missed field goal category.
The Sun Devils added another field goal in the fourth quarter to make the final score 37 – 7. The Devils offense slowed down or went on coast mode, but the defense didn’t. The Devils defense never stopped hitting, tackling and making plays. When all was said and done, the the Devils defense had only surrendered 209 total yards to Utah.
Arizona State’s coach Todd Graham said “ball security” was the key to the game and he “wanted people leaving… talking about their defense”, and with that performance they should.
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