Instant Recap: ASU secured first Pac-12 road victory in over two years at Utah

The Sun Devils beat the Utah Utes 30-10 on Saturday in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY – After an upset of then-No. 5 Washington, ASU football was seeking its first victory over a Pac-12 team on the road since Oct. 3, 2015 (at then-No. 7 UCLA) against the Utah Utes. 

A dominant defensive effort and big run plays helped the Sun Devils defeat the Utes, 30 to 10 in front of 45,863 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon. 

The Sun Devils' offense started with the ball. After moving the ball with screens and quick routes, ASU reached the Utah 34-yard line, but the drive stalled. 

ASU settled for a 47-yard field goal from freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz. ASU led 3-0 with 10:37 in the first quarter. 

Utah's sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley and the Utes' offense started at its own 25-yard line. The Utes got a first down on a 9-yard pass to senior wide receiver Darren Carrington II and a 5-yard run by sophomore tailback Zack Moss.

But on the next play, ASU senior defensive back J’Marcus Rhodes intercepted a pass from Huntley (his first career pick) on the left sideline and ran for six yards to the Utah 28. For the second-straight drive, ASU tried short screen passes and the drive stalled. A 40-yard field goal from Ruiz gave ASU a 6-0 lead with 8:06 left in the first quarter. 

Three incomplete passes forced the Utes to punt the ball back to ASU on its second drive. 

For the third-consecutive drive, ASU’s offense stalled, this time at the Utah 17-yard line. Ruiz’s third field goal of the game from 30-yards out culminated a 14-play, 62-yard drive and gave ASU a 9-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first quarter. 

Utah started its third drive from its own 11 after a muffed kick return. ASU appeared to have another 3-and-out, but a 15-yard run from Huntley gave Utah the first down and the first quarter came to an end with ASU leading 9-0. 

The Utes moved the ball as far as the ASU 44 but an incomplete pass from Huntley over sophomore wide receiver Demari Simpkins’ head on the Utes’ sideline forced Utah to punt again. 

The Sun Devils were unable to gain much yardage on their next drive after starting on their own 8-yard line. A 38-yard punt from redshirt sophomore punter Michael Sleep-Dalton induced a fair catch at the Utah 11-yard line with 7:54 remaining in the first half. 

After another Utah punt from junior punter Mitch Wishnowsky, ASU started inside its own 10 at the 6-yard line.

Richard (25 yards) and Ballage (35 yards) combined for the longest back-to-back runs by ASU running backs this season. Richard eventually scored from one yard out, culminating the team's longest scoring drive of the season (9 plays, 94 yards) and ASU led 16-0 with 40 seconds left. 

An interception by redshirt freshman defensive back Chase Lucas, Huntley’s second of the afternoon, ended the first half with ASU leading 16-0. For the first time since 2011 against Cal, Utah was shut out in the first half. 

The Utes' drive stalled at the 35-yard line to start the second half and they settled with a 53-yard field goal by senior kicker Matt Gay, making the score 16-3 ASU with 10:32 left in third quarter. 

On the ensuing ASU drive, sophomore linebacker Donavan Thompson was ejected from the game for targeting after making helmet-to-helmet contact with Wilkins. 

Two plays later, Utah junior strong safety Corrion Ballard appeared to recover a fumble by Wilkins, but replay review determined that Wilkins knee was down.

The second targeting call of the drive, given to Ballard, made it first and goal at the 1-yard line. After the targeting call, Ballard became the second Utah player to be ejected. Wilkins punched in a touchdown and the Sun Devils led 22-3 with 4:45 remaining in the third. 

On the next Utah drive, Huntley missed a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field, and the Utes punted back to ASU. The first sack of the game on third down forced ASU to punt the ball back with 1:37 left in the third. 

Huntley was intercepted for the third time in the game, this time by redshirt junior linebacker Christian Sam and ASU led 23-3 entering the fourth quarter. 

The fourth quarter brought Huntley's fourth interception of the game. This time it was a pick-six by junior tight end Jay Jay Wilson, putting ASU ahead 30-3 with 7:31 left in the fourth. 

Utah would go on to score a consolation touchdown with 2:41 left in the game. The game would end with the score 30-10.


Reach the reporter at jpjacqu1@asu.edu or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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