clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU Football: First look at the Utah Utes

New, 14 comments

Another week, another huge divisional showdown for Arizona State.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils have taken their last 11 meetings against Utah, but none of those games have come against a team ranked as high as this year's Ute team is. Here is your first look at the No. 4 team in the country prior to Saturday's matchup.

Head Coach — Kyle Whittingham

Kyle Whittingham is now in his 11th season as the head coach at Utah. He has coached in nine bowl games while at the helm in Salt Lake City, racking up an impressive 8-1 record throughout the postseason. Despite his success, there seemed to be an increasing discord between Whittingham and athletic director Chris Hill last winter.

The differences were eventually settled, replacements were found after both his offensive and defensive coordinators left the program, and the Utes have started the 2015 campaign with a bang. The last time they were ranked this high came in the final set of rankings for the 2008 season, when AP voters slotted them at No. 2 following an upset of Alabama to cap a 13-0 year.

2015 Results

Whittingham's team ended up stealing the show in Jim Harbaugh's return to college football, beating Michigan 24-17 in a win that looks even better now than it did at the time. They then got past rival Utah State with a 10-point victory before embarking on a huge two game road trip to Fresno State and Oregon.

Utah outscored the Bulldogs and Ducks by a total score of 107-44, and it wasn't even that close. The dominating victories shot the team into the top-five in most polls, and that set up a College GameDay visit last week for its matchup with California, the only other team in the conference that was still undefeated.

The game was an instant classic, with the Golden Bears attempting a a game-winning drive thats fell short deep in their opponent's territory. The Utes' 30-24 win moved them to 5-0 on the season.

Key Players

QB Travis Wilson — If it seems like Wilson has been at Utah for an eternity, it's because he has. The senior has started under center in each of his four seasons in Salt Lake City, and the scary thing is that this his is his best campaign yet. Wilson currently has a 66.3 percent completion percentage and has eight touchdowns in just four games (he missed Fresno State due to a left shoulder injury).

RB Devontae Booker — Booker is the leader of one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country. He has six touchdowns thus far and is averaging 172 total yards per game. The senior ran for 146 yards in last year's overtime loss against Arizona State.

MLB Jared Norris — The senior "mac" linebacker led the team in tackles and tackles for loss last season and is off to a similar start in 2015. Norris is averaging nearly eight tackles a game so far and is the leader of one of the best defensive units in the Pac-12.