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ASU vs. Utah: Sun Devils lead Utes at halftime, 16-0

The Devils’ dominant defense may be here to stay

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A tremendous first half rushing attack and a stout defensive performance has the Arizona State Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) out to a 16-0 lead over the Utah Utes (4-2, 1-2) at the half in Utah.

Redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins came out firing on the first drive of the game, connecting on five of six pass attempts to lead the Sun Devils down the field and take a 3-0 advantage on a 47-yard field goal from Brandon Ruiz.

ASU then received a huge break on the Utes’ opening drive when starting Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley’s pass ricocheted out of the hands of receiver Nacua Samson and into fell into the arm of senior defensive back J’Marcus Rhodes, marking the first interception for the Sun Devils since the season opener against New Mexico State.

The ensuing ASU drive stalled at the Utah 27-yard line and Ruiz tallied his second field goal of the afternoon, a 40-yarder that extended the Sun Devils’ lead to 6-0.

Ruiz would add his third field goal of the game with just under three minutes to go in the first quarter to extend the ASU lead to 9-0.

The Arizona State defense held strong for the entirety of the first half, limiting the Utes to just 78 yards of total offense through the first two periods.

Just before the end of the half, ASU’s offense mounted its longest drive of the season, — a nine play, 94-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown from Demario Richard.

The first half was as complete of a performance as the Devils have put together so far this season, rivaling only last week’s upset over No. 5 ranked Washington. The Sun Devils amassed 172 yards on the ground and limited the Utes to under 60 yards in both aspects of their offensive attack.