Arizona State beats Utah 37-7 in Pac-12 openerBy JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer Sunday, Sep 23, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)—Taylor Kelly threw for a career-high 326 yards and three touchdowns and Arizona State bounced back from its first loss under new coach Todd Graham with a 37-7 rout over Utah Saturday night.
Coming off a mistake-filled road loss to Missouri, the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) used their don’t-let-em-rest offense and a smothering defense to run past Utah (2-2, 0-1) on a hot night in the desert.
Kelly eclipsed his season high by halftime with 259 yards and had three touchdown passes as Arizona State built a 31-7 lead.
Cameron Marshall scored two touchdowns and Arizona State rolled up 512 total yards against one of the nation’s best defenses to win its ninth straight over the Utes.
Utah followed an impressive win over rival Brigham Young with a dud, falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter and managing 209 total yards—55 in the second half.
John White lost two fumbles after missing the BYU game last week with an ankle injury and Jon Hays was mostly ineffective in his second game in place of Jordan Wynn, setting up a lopsided loss that may be more disheartening for Utah than its slipup against Utah State in Week 2.
Arizona State faced its first glint of adversity under Graham last weekend in Columbia.
The Sun Devils had four turnovers, seven penalties—two more than the first two games combined—and a disastrous day on special teams in the 24-20 loss to the Tigers.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Graham was concerned about Utah’s defense, which was ranked 15th nationally through the first three games.
He shouldn’t have been. Not the way Arizona State’s offense was clicking.
The Sun Devils had no trouble against the Utes from the get-go, racing 64 yards in four plays for a touchdown on their opening drive. Kelly capped it with well-executed play, faking a handoff, rolling right to draw the cornerback up and hitting Rashad Ross, who broke a tackle around the 5 for a 38-yard touchdown.
Next drive, Ross hauled in juggling 25-yard catch along the sideline—after a video review reversed the original call—to set up a 1-yard touchdown by Marshall.
The Sun Devils needed just four plays to score on their next drive, thanks to a fumble by White at Utah’s 34-yard line. Kelly capped that with his second TD pass, a 10-yarder to Marion Grice that made it 21-0 with less than four minutes left in the first quarter.
Alex Garoutte added a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter and Kelly found Marshall on a 13-yard swing pass for a touchdown to give Arizona State a 24-point halftime lead.
The Sun Devils had 347 yards by halftime against a Utah defense that allowed an average of 268 yards its first three games.
Arizona State’s defense was just as good.
Clogging the running lanes and giving Hays nothing to look at downfield, the Sun Devils held Utah to 152 yards in the first half, with 91 of those coming on the Utes’ lone scoring drive. Hays capped that drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Karl Williams, but that was about it for him and the Utes.
Hays threw for 117 yards on 10-of-15 passing with an interception. Utah had 92 yards rushing on 38 carries and had nine total yards in the fourth quarter.