Sept. 22, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) looks on during the first half against the Utah Utes at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
If there was any chance of a negative carryover effect from last week's disappointing, it was greeted with the business end of a sharpened Sun Devil pitchfork early and often.
Arizona State exploded out of the gate, jumping to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. The defense was suffocating, and the offense led by Taylor Kelly was unstoppable. By the time halftime arrived, the Sun Devils had built a 31-7 lead and effectively put away the Utes.
Several Sun Devils had exemplary games, but only one can take home the House of Sparky Pitchfork Player of the Game. Our candidates are...
Will Sutton: The defensive tackle continues to be best defined by the term "beastly". He dominated an overmatched Utah offensive line. His stat line was good: four tackles, one for loss and half of a sack, but his impact was far greater. He collapsed pockets frequently, hurried Ute quarterback Jon Hays (including a hurry on Keelan Johnson's interception) and stuffed the run.
Chris Young: The spur backer continues to be a menace to any and all offenses he faces. He finished with eight tackles (2.5 for loss), collected 1.5 sacks, and forced a fumble. He closed on the ball like a heat-seeking missile and hit like a bull in a thoroughly impressive performance.
Taylor Kelly: Back at home, Kelly perhaps ended any and all "game manager" talk once and for all. He set a career high with 326 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a masterful performance. Kelly was cool, composed and sharp, threading the needle on several key throws.
And the winner is....Taylor Kelly.
The sophomore took a major step forward in his ongoing and impressive development into one of the Pac-12's top quarterbacks.