SALT LAKE CITY — An already electric Rice-Eccles crowd reached a fever pitch when Utah took the lead in the second half, but it ultimately left extremely disappointed and worried, as the Utes fell 35-14 to Arizona State, dropping to 0-3 (2-3 overall) in Pac-12 play.
Five keys to Utah’s loss:
ASU QB Brock Osweiler:
Despite a bit of a slow start, the 6-foot-8 Arizona State quarterback eventually got things rolling in a big way as he systematically picked apart Utah’s defense. Osweiler ended the game with 307 yards and four touchdowns (and no interceptions) on 27-of-44 passing.
For the second straight week, Utah gave its opponent multiple gifts with three interceptions and two fumbles. Those giveaways, which brought the Utes’ total to 10 over the last two weeks, resulted in 25 Arizona State points.
Inexperience of Utah QB Jon Hays:
In his first Div. I start, the backup Ute signal-caller mostly played within himself in the first half, performing efficiently. But Hays’ inexperience caught up to him after halftime when he started to force passes under pressure, and made some bad decisions that turned into harmful turnovers.
Weariness of Utah’s defense:
Even though it gave up big chunks of yardage in the first half, the Ute defense was able to avoid allowing the big play in that same period. That kept the game close, but what followed was Utah’s barrage of turnovers, forcing the Ute defense to repeatedly try to stop the Sun Devils. Simply on the field too much with more than a few short fields for Arizona State to work with, the Utah defense wore down.
Arizona State receivers:
A tall, strong receiver corps physically dominated Utah’s smaller secondary and found pockets of space continually for big gains. Gerell Robinson (102 yards) and Mike Willie (96 yards) each had seven catches, and eight other Sun Devil receivers caught balls.
Chris, who has been covering sports ranging from preps to professional teams for almost 20 years, feels that football season is the best time of the year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.