It’s not how you start, and fortunately for Utah, that’s a good thing as they started the game as poorly as you could image Thursday night against Arizona State in Tempe. The first play of the game, ASU recovered a Utah fumble, on an early snap to Troy Williams, deep in Utah territory in the red zone. Fortunately for Utah, Marcus Williams was healthy again and he picked off Manny Wilkins arrant throw in the end zone ending that threat. Utah’s next possession, they would fumble the ball away at about midfield on a bad play by Troy Williams on a bad option pitch to Joe Williams. In fact, the entire first quarter was awful. The Utah offense only picked up 27 total yards, while the defense gave up 192. Granted, the yards ASU picked up were on broken plays, or some whiffed tackles. The defense was in position all night, just missed some bad tackles. Utah would find themselves trailing 13-0 at the end of one.
Ok, let’s not talk about the first quarter anymore, the rest of the game Utah picked up 470 yards, scored 49 points and held ASU to 13 points. Yeah, they woke up after that first quarter something fierce.
On offense, Troy Williams struggled early, like everyone else, but was really good the rest of the game. He was able to exploit ASU’s poor pass defense and picked up 296 yards and threw 4 touchdowns. Shoot, in the 4th, Utah had a 1st and 35 from about the 47 yard line, and two strikes later to Cory Butler-Byrd and Raelon Singleton (who had 116 yards and 3 touchdowns on 4 catches) Utah was in the end zone. When was the last time you saw a Utah do that? At halftime, Utah and Joe Williams had 39 yards rushing, in the second Joe had 155 yards and 2 touchdowns, giving him 181 yards on the game, on only 15 carries! ASU came into the game with the best rush defense in the Pac-12, and Utah tore it up in that second half.
The story on defense was the sacks. The Utes had 11, yes, 11 sacks. Hunter Dimick was responsible for 5 of them himself. Utah also had 22 tackles for loss! Man oh man, Morgan Scalley had a great gameplan today, as they dared Wilkins to throw all day long. Not to be outdone, Chase Hansen had six tackles of his own, included 1.5 for a loss, 2 pass breakups and the highlight pick six that really put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Remove the first quarter, this was a balanced win for the Utes, and the first win in Tempe since the 70s.
Utah did what they need to do, and still have their goals in their own destiny. Next up for the Utes is Oregon at Rice-Eccles for Senior Day.