banner

College Football

more stats

Sun Devils and Utes meet in Pac-12 affair

Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - After steam rolling their way to three straight wins the No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils will attempt to earn a fourth when they visit the upset-minded Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium for a Pac-12 duel.

There hasn't been much resistance facing Arizona State as it has risen into the national rankings for the second time this year. The Sun Devils routed Washington State in Pullman, 55-21, last Thursday after having posted huge wins over Colorado (54-13) and Washington (53-24) in the two previous weeks. Taylor Kelly accounted for seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) in the win over the Cougars as the Sun Devils moved to 6-2 overall and became bowl eligible for the third straight year.

"I'm not interested in that. We are interested in winning a championship," Arizona State head coach Todd Graham said. "We are proud of (being bowl eligible) and it's not something we take for granted or (are) arrogant about. I don't talk about that."

Right now Arizona State is 4-1 in league play and in the mix to represent the Pac-12 South in the conference's title game.

Playing against a ranked team on their home field won't be a scary prospect for the Utes. After all Utah took down a top-10 Stanford squad, 27-21, at Rice-Eccles Stadium earlier in the season. However, since that victory the Utes have dropped back-to-back games, both on the road, with the most recent loss, a 19-3 setback against USC. Utah was absolutely dominated by the Trojans' defense as it had just 201 yards of total offense in the losing effort.

"One thing for certain is that the offensive line needs to play better. We didn't protect very well, we didn't run-block very well, we didn't take any stress off the quarterback with an effective run game," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said, while stressing that the struggles of starter Travis Wilson were not the lone reason for the loss. "It's not just the quarterback. There's a lot of things involved."

Utah owns a 4-4 overall record, but at just 1-3 against the conference, has slipped out of the Pac-12 North Division race.

This hasn't been a very competitive all-time series with Arizona State owning 18 wins in 24 meetings. That includes victories in the last nine matchups for the Sun Devils, who posted a 37-7 triumph in Tempe last year.

Kelly hasn't always been able to produce scores and yards at such an incredible rate as he did against Washington State, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been one of the more exciting offensive threats in the conference. Kelly has thrown for over 2,500 yards, with 23 touchdown passes, while completing an impressive 62.9 percent of his passes. Kelly also has the speed and skill to take off on his own as he has rushed for 315 yards and five more scores this season. Four of those touchdowns and 150 of those yards have come in the last two weeks.

Even though the Sun Devils absolutely crushed Washington State there was something off about their performance. Marion Grice did not find the end zone. Grice leads the country in total touchdowns with 18 (12 rushing, six receiving), but for the first time this season he did not manage a score. In all Grice has accounted for 647 yards rushing and another 333 through the air.

Grice and Kelly are not the only impressive offensive players for the Sun Devils. Jaelen Strong (49 receptions, 720 yards, five TDs) has proven to be an explosive receiver. D.J. Foster (43 receptions, 467 yards, three TDs) is a versatile talent that can take handoffs as well as haul in passes.

The Sun Devils aren't just an impressive offensive squad though. Arizona State is currently behind only USC among Pac-12 teams in total defense (343.4 ypg), giving up an average of 26 points per game.

Even though Whittingham wouldn't blame his quarterbacks outright for the loss to USC, there is no denying that Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz both failed to produce in the loss. Wilson got the start but was pulled for Schulz after being intercepted twice. Schulz finished with 79 yards on 7-of-17 passing and was intercepted once. Wilson has started in all eight games, but has been intercepted 14 times, which is the same number of touchdown passes he has. Wilson does provide more of a threat on the ground than Schulz with 342 yards and five rushing scores.

The Utes were dominated by the USC defense on the ground as well with leading rushers Bubba Poole (495 yards, TD) and Kevin York (198 yards, two TDs) held to just 40 yards combined on 13 carries. For two rushers that normally average better than four yards per carry, the effort was clearly a big step back.

In terms of pass-catchers, Poole (28 receptions, 227 yards) has really made his mark this year as he is second on the team in receptions. However, he has been more of a safety net than a down the field threat. Dres Anderson (33 receptions, 642 yards, five TDs) and Sean Fitzgerald (24 receptions, 376 yards, four TDs) fit more into that mold.

Against USC, Utah did show some promise on the defensive side, holding the Trojans to just 19 points and 260 yards of total offense. It was an impressive showing for a team that is allowing 35.8 points and 393.4 yards per game on average. Utah does create pressure, tied with Stanford for second in the Pac-12 in sacks (27). Leading the way is Trevor Reilly (69 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks), who paces the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and fumble recoveries.

11/06 10:53:36 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Today at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • Big Ten: Michigan at Michigan State

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST
 
Final
SFG 2
KAN 3
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
ORL 92
DAL 117
Final
TOR 83
NYK 80
Final
MEM 98
MIA 104
Final
CHI 112
MIN 113
Final
HOU 96
SAN 87
Final
UTA 100
PHO 105
Final
LAL 92
SAC 93
Final
GSW 119
DEN 112
Final
LAC 89
POR 99
Final
CIN 34
SFLA 17
Final
SALABAMA 27
TROY 13
Final
BSU 55
BYU 30
Final
CAL 41
OREG 59
12:00pm Today
WISC
MD
12:00pm Today
SMU
MEM
12:00pm Today
ILL
MINN
12:00pm Today
RICE
UNT
12:00pm Today
NEB
RUTG
12:00pm Today
KST
TEX
12:00pm Today
ARK
UAB
12:30pm Today
UVA
UNC
1:00pm Today
EMICH
NILL
1:00pm Today
NAVY
SJST
2:00pm Today
BST
AKR
2:00pm Today
GASTATE
GASO
2:00pm Today
TOL
UMASS
2:00pm Today
WMICH
OHIO
2:00pm Today
COL
UCLA
2:30pm Today
UMO
KSU
3:30pm Today
WAKE
BC
3:30pm Today
BUF
CMICH
3:30pm Today
MARS
FATL
3:30pm Today
PITT
GT
3:30pm Today
SMISS
LATU
3:30pm Today
MSU
MICH
3:30pm Today
KENT
MSST
3:30pm Today
STAN
ORST
3:30pm Today
TCU
TTU
3:30pm Today
OKST
WVU
4:00pm Today
WKENT
ODU
4:00pm Today
UTST
UNLV
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
NJD 2
DAL 3
Final
WIN 2
TAM 4
Final
COL 7
VAN 3
Final
EDM 6
CAR 3
Final
ANA 4
CLB 1
4:00pm Today
SJS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
 
2:00pm Today
NCCU
SAVST