Sun Devils Stopped by No. 13 Utah in Pac-12 Opener, 34-13
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Sun Devils were stifled by No. 13 Utah in the debut of interim head coach Shaun Aguano and the opener of conference play, as they were bested, 34-13, on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
The Utah defense, which entered play as the Pac-12's leader in yards allowed per game (236.3), frustrated the Sun Devils for much of the contest, limiting their oft-potent rushing attack to just six yards.
The reigning Pac-12 Champions tacked on two early touchdowns to open the scoring before giving way to their defense, which managed to hold the Sun Devils to just three red zone opportunities.
"I would like to make sure, to any fans that are still out there listening, I would like to thank them," Aguano said in his first post-game presser. "This has been a whirlwind week, with the Sun Devil Walk and them coming to the stadium, and all the support that they have been giving me. I just want to thank them, because we will get there. I promise you we will get there."
Jones ended the night with a season-high 261 yards through the air, completing 21 of his 36 attempted passes. He linked up with Elijhah Badger on five separate occasions for a team-best 76 yards, marking the fourth consecutive game the ASU wideout has hauled in at least four receptions. It's also his third consecutive game he's tallied 75-plus receiving yards.
The Sun Devils' lone touchdown of the night came in the final minutes of the ballgame, when Jones threw an 11-yard strike to Messiah Swinson for his first career touchdown at ASU. Carter Brown provided the rest of the scoring with a pair of field goals, including a career-high 47-yarder, extending his streak to 6-for-6 on the year.
Khoury Bethley paced the Sun Devils' defense with 14 tackles, tying his single-game career-high that dates back to his four-year career at Hawaii. Bethley also added a forced fumble.
"Coach Aguano, he worked us this week," Nesta Jade Silvera, who racked up a dozen tackles, said. "Everything he brought in, new juice, new energy, we really appreciated it. We reacted to it well as a team: offense, defense, special teams, all three phases. We had a stacked three days of practice, a fourth one if you count Friday, and we just didn't capitalize on a great week of practice, because that's what we truly had. We still believe in everything Coach Aguano has been saying, the team's still in tact, we still know what we've got to do, and we still got a lot more to play for."
- Cameron Rising throws a 29-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Kincaid. 7-0, Utah.
- Rising to Kincaid for a 6-yard score. 14-0, Utah.
- Jordan Noyes chips in a 27-yard field goal, but a good stand by the ASU defense to hold the Utes to three. 17-0, Utah.
- Huge 58-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Daniyel Ngata sets ASU up inside Utah territory. Nice pitch and catch from Jones to Badger to pick up 19. Leads to a 36-yard field goal by Carter Brown to get the Sun Devils on the board. 17-3, Utah.
- Ja'Quinden Jackson plows in for a two-yard touchdown before the half, making it 24-3, Utah.
- Brown drills a 47-yard field goal as time experiences. 24-6, Utah, at the break.
- Interception by Timarcus Davis on the Utes' opening drive of the second half. The Sun Devils now have recorded an interception in six straight games and 11 of the last 12 dating back to last season.
- 11-yard touchdown run by Jaylen Dixon. 31-6, Utah.
- An impressive stand by the Sun Devil defense on 4th & goal, forcing the Utes to turn the ball over on downs.
Way to open the second half @_Tmac7
— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 25, 2022
- The Utes add to their lead on a 28-yard field goal by Noyes. 34-6, Utah.
- The Sun Devils found the end zone for the first time of the night, as Jones hooked up with Messiah Swinson for an 11-yard score. 34-13, Utah.
The Sun Devils are set for their first road conference game of the season next week with a bout against No. 7 USC on October 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST