It didn't take long to find out how Arizona State would respond after their disappointing loss in Missouri.
Coming off last Saturday's defeat, the Sun Devils put together a very impressive statement against the Utah Utes. Will Sutton and Chris Young shut down the Utah attack, and the Sun Devil offense was nearly unstoppable in racing out to a 31-7 halftime lead that put a quick end to any lingering woes from the failed comeback in Columbia last Saturday.
Utah drove into Sun Devil territory on the game's opening drive, before Sutton sacked Jon Hays on fourth down to force the turnover on downs. ASU wasted little time on going to work.
Taylor Kelly found Jamal Miles and Cameron Marshall to get the Sun Devils quickly into Ute territory, and then a brilliant play fake got Rashad Ross open to the right. Shaking off a drop-filled game last week, Ross hauled in the pass, put a nice juke on a Ute defender and ran 38-yards for the touchdown.
A bad Ute punt gave ASU excellent field position in the next drive, and Ross was again key. He caught a third down pass from Kelly along the sidelines that was initially ruled incomplete but overturned upon review. The plays later, Marshall scampered in for the one-yard score.
The defense made sure the rout continued, as they forced a fumble by Utah running back John White IV. Taking over at the Ute 34, the drive was soon capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Marion Grice.
Kelly continued to slice up the Ute defense. He hit Kevin Ozier for a 52-yard play to set up an Alex Garoutte field goal in response. On the next drive, he made great use of the ASU wide receivers, connecting with Miles and Alonzo Agwuenu before throwing his third touchdown pass of the half, a 10-yard swing pass to Marshall that would have made Noel Mazzone proud.
The high-octane Sun Devil attack took its foot off the gas in the second half. A pair of Alex Garoutte field goals were the lone scoring over the game's final 30 minutes, and the Sun Devil defense was able to contain a hapless Ute offense. Keelan Johnson had an interception, after Sutton applied pressure on a Hays rollout.
Kelly finished his career night with a sterling stat line: 19 of 26 for 326 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Defensively, Young led the way for ASU with eight tackles (2.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
The Sun Devils outgained Utah 512 to 211.
ASU improves to 3-1 and a perfect 1-0 in Pac-12 play, as they take to the road to take on Cal.
News, Notes, Observations
- Agwuenu's 19-yard second quarter catch was his first as a Sun Devil
- Kelly threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, good enough for a 226.7 passer rating.
- Marshall's first quarter touchdown run gave him sole possession of third place on the school's all-time rushing list with 33. Leon Burton is next with 34, and Woody Green holds the record with 39.
- Kelly performed his second pooch punt of the year on the opening possession of the second half, and it worked well. A great roll pinned Utah at their five-yard line.
- Jon Mora got his first collegiate action in the fourth quarter. The ASU kicker missed a 40-yard field goal.
- Attendance: 58,107