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ASU football outmatched in home loss versus No. 13 Utah

The Sun Devils lost 34-13 to the Utah Utes in their conference opener and first game led by interim head coach Shaun Aguano


Freshman wide receiver Jaen Jacobs (8) runs with the ball at the ASU vs. Utah football game at the Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Tempe. ASU lost 34-13.

ASU football was blown out by the No. 13 Utah Utes 34-13 Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium in interim head coach Shaun Aguano's coaching debut. 

The ASU offense failed to find any rhythm from the jump after going three and out on its opening two drives. The team didn't move the chains until the second quarter when the Utes were already up 14-0. Redshirt junior quarterback Emory Jones couldn't convert on third downs early, putting pressure on a defense that did not have an answer for the Utes' passing attack. The Sun Devils went just three for 11 on third downs on the night. 

Jones completed 21 passes for 261 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown pass but struggled most of the night behind an offensive line that allowed five sacks. The running game failed to make an impact as well. Following a 16-carry, 127-yard performance last week against Eastern Michigan, graduate student running back Xazavian Valladay saw only eight attempts for 30 yards as part of a Sun Devil rushing attack that only combined for six yards. 

Utah's junior quarterback Cameron Rising tagged ASU for 260 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for an offense that did not skip a beat without its leading rusher, junior running back Tavion Thomas, for the first half while he served a suspension. Utah combined for 205 yards on the ground and ran in two touchdowns. Senior tight end Dalton Kincaid highlighted the Utes' offense with 66 receiving yards and two scores. 

The Sun Devils had a chance in the second quarter to pick up momentum after the defense limited the Utes to a field goal, stopping freshman running back Jaylon Glover at the five-yard line on third and goal. Redshirt sophomore running back Daniyel Ngata followed that with a 58-yard kick return to position the Sun Devils in great field position at Utah's 42-yard line. 

ASU settled for a field goal to cut the deficit to 17-3. The Utes responded after redshirt freshman quarterback Ja'Quinden Jackson punched in a two-yard rushing touchdown. After the touchdown, Ngata had another large return run, this time going for 47 yards, but once again ASU settled for a field goal just before the half to make the score 24-6.

After Rising threw an interception on the third quarter's first drive, ASU answered with another three and out. The Utes quickly bounced back and drove down the field again for senior wide receiver Jaylen Dixon's eleven-yard rushing touchdown that pushed Utah's lead up to 34-6 in what felt like the nail in the coffin with just 6:16 in the third quarter. 

The path doesn't get any easier for Aguano and his squad as they take on the No. 6 USC Trojans next on Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. MST in Southern California. 

Edited by Kathryn Field, Kristen Apolline Castillo and Piper Hansen.

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