Utah beat Arizona State 35-21 on Saturday, scoring 28 unanswered points to improve to 3-0 in Pac-12 play
Here are the grades from the Utes’ win:
Through the first half, Utah’s offense was not producing the way it wanted to. The Utes had scored only seven points — a touchdown on their first drive — and either punted or threw an interception on the following five drives.
Quarterback Cam Rising went 8-for-18 with two interceptions — one on a play in which Cole Fotheringham fell, and then Rising threw another near the end of the half that robbed Utah, which was in field goal range, of points.
Meanwhile, Utah ran for 63 yards in the first half. The Utes couldn’t get much of a rhythm going.
In the second half, it was like a switch flipped. The Utes’ offensive revival was led by Rising, who was nearly perfect in the final two quarters — 13-for-15 for 140 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Rising was accurate and poised and had a couple of impressive throws in which he fit the ball into a tight window.
Utah’s run game also got going, led by Tavion Thomas, who finished the night with 84 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. The run game really helped the passing game open up for the Utes.
Utah rushed for 145 yards in the second half.
Utah’s offensive line has really come a long way since the start of the season. The unit was really good in pass protection Saturday, and the Sun Devils did not sack Rising once the whole game. The line was also able to create some holes from Thomas to run through in the second half.
Utah’s tight ends were fantastic in the second half. Dalton Kincaid caught four passes for 44 yards, Cole Fotheringham caught four passes for 31 yards and Brant Kuithe caught two touchdown passes.
The Utes were 4-for-5 on third downs in the second half, and on the one third down they didn’t convert, they went for it on 4th and 2 and converted. That fourth-down conversion was huge, as three plays after, Utah had a 28-21 lead. Going 5-for-6 on third and fourth downs to keep drives alive was huge to Utah’s success.
Except a taunting penalty on Britain Covey in which he flexed over an ASU player, Utah had no offensive penalties during the run of play in the second half — no false starts or holding calls.
Overall, Utah scored touchdowns on all four of its second-half drives, playing a perfect offensive game in the second half.