Coming off of one of the biggest upset wins in ASU football history, the Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) will now look to carry that momentum into their road contest against Utah (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12).
The Utes are coming off of two straight losses, albeit against tough opponents in No. 22 Stanford and No. 11 USC. While Utah doesn’t have the same ball-hawking defense or dynamic running game they’ve had in recent years, they have still managed to secure a 4-2 record so far this season.
Here are some things to watch out for from Utah:
Utah was rolling during the first four games of the season behind quarterback Tyler Huntley. The sophomore had six touchdowns and 966 passing yards through four games, but he hurt his throwing shoulder against Arizona. Senior Troy Williams stepped in to lead the Utes from under center, but he hasn’t quite played up to Huntley’s level in his two starts.
Williams has two passing touchdowns and three interceptions as well as a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown. He has yet to complete at least 60 percent of his passes in a game this season, and while Utah lost to Stanford and USC by a combined four points with him at quarterback, he failed to pivotal moments in both games. The failed two-point conversion with a minute to play against USC serves as a prime example.
Huntley reportedly may return to practice this week, so it is unclear who the Sun Devils will be facing off against. While Williams would provide the easier matchup, both are solid quarterbacks and ASU will have to gameplan for each of them.
One of the trademarks of Utah’s success in recent years has been a tough defense that causes a lot of turnovers and this year is no different. The Utes lead the nation with an average of over three takeaways per game. Eight different players have recorded at least one interception and six different players have at least one fumble recovery.
While the Sun Devils have been pretty good protecting the ball (less than one turnover per game), they will certainly have to be extra cautious against Utah, or else the Utes offense wil be getting shorts fields to play with all game long.
The game is Saturday at 12:30 MT on Fox Sports 1.