No. 13 Utah Football (2-1) will open Pac-12 play on the road against Arizona State this weekend. The two teams have matched up 32 times, and Utah is 10-22 in those games. This also includes a record of 4-15 on the road.
Utah has also won four of the last six games against the Sun Devils, including their last win on the road. This was a 49-26 win that saw Troy Williams throw for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Aside from the heartbreaking Florida game, Utah has been a powerhouse this year. The team ranks second in FBS in passing defense, allowing just 90 yards per game. They also lead the Pac-12 in rushing offense with 216.7 yards per game.
Although the team has outscored opponents 134-43 this season, they have scored just 14 points in the first quarter. Although this is no reason to panic, the Utes hope they can solve the issue before it costs them a game.
“It would be ideal to start better on offense,” head coach Kyle Whittingham told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We’re going to make a few adjustments in practice this week to get a little more of a jump start early and see if we can get it corrected.”
Arizona State is 1-2 this season, with losses coming from Oklahoma State and Eastern Michigan. Their sole win came against Northern Arizona. They appear to have their own offensive struggles, with quarterback Emory Jones going 20-32 for 182 yards last week.
Although these statistics aren’t necessarily bad for Arizona State, Utah’s powerful defense should be a whole new beast. Utah’s defense has recovered two fumbles and recorded three interceptions this season, including one returned for a touchdown.
Utah’s offense is also looking strong coming into this game, converting 55% of third-downs and recording 18 total touchdowns. The Utes have been on fire recently, and they look to keep the ball rolling as they head into conference play this weekend.
But the Pac-12 will hold some of Utah’s toughest games of the year, including facing No. 15 Oregon and No. 7 USC. The Pac-12 has struggled in the college football playoff, but the conference has a real chance to make it, with four teams ranked in the top 20.
Utah once again will look to be the shining star of the conference as they play both Oregon and USC later in the season. But the team is focused on taking it day by day, and that starts with defeating Arizona State.
Although this game won’t be too hard for Utah, it is certainly one they can’t just gloss over. Utah has been fortunate to have a fairly easy schedule to start the season, and this game will be another opportunity to hone their skills.
Utah is 15 point favorites over the Sun Devils. The game will be held at 8:30 pm MDT on Saturday, Sept. 24.