ASU vs. Utah: First Look at a Pivotal Pac-12 South Contest


Oct 19, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham on the sidelines during the second quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY SportsThe No. 23 Arizona State University football team will play another key road game this weekend, facing Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday. While the Sun Devils are gaining ground in the race for the Pac-12 South title, the Utes are looking for a way to regain their momentum from earlier in the season.

Since it defeated Stanford 27-21 on Oct. 12, Utah has lost consecutive road matchups at Arizona and USC. A hand injury to quarterback Travis Wilson hasn’t helped matters, either. The Ute faithful have been left wondering what happened to their once-promising season.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had this to say about the current situation: “Offensively we have to regroup and get back to playing the football we were the first five weeks. We have to get Travis back to playing the way he was the first five weeks and the offensive line has to get back on track.”

Through their first six games when they went 4-2, the Utes averaged 37 points and 469.3 yards per game. Wilson was completing 61 of his passes and had 13 touchdowns. The last two weeks, however, have been an entirely different story. Whittingham’s squad bottomed-out last week at USC when they failed to reach the end zone, producing only a field goal in the loss to the Trojans with 201 total yards and four turnovers.

Arizona State, meanwhile, has had a much smoother time of it thus far in 2013. The Sun Devils kicked off the season with a 55-0 trouncing of Sacramento State at Sun Devil Stadium, followed by a quirky 32-30 win against then No. 20 Wisconsin. Following a tough defeat by Stanford, ASU destroyed USC, 62-41. It then fell short to Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, 37-34. The Sun Devils rebounded with a 54-13 romp over Colorado and a 53-24 pounding of Washington—both at home. Most recently, ASU knocked off Washington State, 55-21, in Pullman.

Utah is trying to avoid missing the postseason for the second straight year. With four games left, the Utes must find a formula for winning two games against conference foes. So far they are 0-3 against Pac-12 South opponents with two games remaining against the North and two versus the South.