This was a pivotal match up that would almost dictate the Pac 12 South champion, and also show the Herm Edwards lead Arizona State Sun Devils where they are in the growth department as a team.
The Utah Utes came in with the same record of 5-1 and coming in as a 14 point favor and looking to avenge the last two losses to the Sun Devils.
Much has been said about these two teams creeping the boarder line of a rivalry, with the snubbing of two star recruits Eno Benjamin and Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels both choosing ASU over Utah.
How that played out on the field or if it had an effect on either side is not clear, but the outcome suggest that the Devils having 20 plus Freshman may have played into the hands of the situation.
Not coming in focused usually comes in the form of bad penalties, and the Sun Devils displayed that tonight in Utah in the form of 12 penalties for 122 yards including three personal fouls, LB Darien Butler was flagged for unnecessary roughness, Tillman safety Evan Fields ejected for targeting and LB Merlin Robertson penalized for roughing the passer.
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said he apologized to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham for his team’s excessive penalties.
“I told coach I was embarrassed for our team,” Edwards said. “We don’t play like that. We were too emotional for this game. When you play like that, it mars the game. I’ve never been in a game like that in my whole life.”
Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels has very little protection tonight and his performance was a mixture of that plus having never seen a defense like the Utes all season. Daniels finished 4/18 for a measly 25 yards and rushed for 8.
“We’ll have to go home and regroup and figure out what we need to do to help him. They have an outstanding defense, probably best in the conference, but we have to find a way to fix it, I know that.” said Coach Edwards after the game.
ASU RB Eno Benjamin gained 104 yards on 15 carries and that was the bulk of all the Devils offense on the night as they fall 21-3 to the Utes.
The Devils defense forced turnovers that in most games would result in a win but were not able to capitalize on the defensive performance, the defense forced two sacks, three fumble recoveries, one interception and four pass break-ups. It was the offense that was not able to hold up their end of the bargain as the defense tried to hold up as long as they could but to no avail.
So back to the drawing board for the young Sun devils, after being served up a good hunk of humble pie and seeing they are far away from being the best team in the pac12 conference.
Going on the road to UCLA next week licking their wounds ASU will look to get back in the win column and get better, and try and get as many wins as possible because its very possible they have ended their chances for a pac 12 south title.