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ASU’s Herm Edwards apologized to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards, left, and Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham speak before an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Arizona State lost a critical game to the Utah Utes on Saturday by a lopsided score of 21-3, and Herm Edwards made an apology afterward.

To the opposing coach.

Edwards believed his team was in the wrong by committing several penalties on Saturday, he told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf on Monday.

“I think we were too emotional, for one,” Edwards said. “It was marred with fouls from our team … I actually apologized to the coach and told him, ‘We don’t play like that.’ We had three or four personal fouls, and that never helps you.”

Kyle Whittingham, the Utah coach to whom Edwards apologized, said Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley’s injury is not season-ending, according to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Kurt Kragthorpe. Whittingham also reportedly said Edwards’ apology was “a class move.”

Late in the second quarter, Huntley was sacked while ASU’s Darien Butler was called for a personal foul. Three plays later, with the backup Drew Lisk in the game for Utah, ASU’s Evan Fields was called for targeting and was disqualified from the game.

Huntley eventually returned, and on his first pass attempt was hit by Merlin Robertson, who got a roughing the passer penalty. Huntley did play some in the third quarter but not at all in the fourth quarter.

Doug & Wolf asked Edwards how defensive players can hit a quarterback now, given the way QB hits are officiated.

“It’s very difficult,” Edwards said. “I know this: I think the protection of a player is critical at all levels of football anymore. I know when you launch to hit a guy, I just think once the helmet is the first thing that hits him, regardless of if it’s in the helmet but in the chest or anything like that, they’re going to call that. I mean that’s going to be a foul.

“And sometimes it just happens, because of the game. They’re running, trying to sack the quarterback. And you just go. And all of a sudden, if you don’t lead with your shoulder, you hit him with your helmet, then they’re going to call that.”

Arizona State committed 12 penalties for 122 yards in the loss to Utah, its second of the season. The game was a crucial opportunity for ASU to significantly enhance its chances at a Pac-12 South title as both the Sun Devils, ranked No. 17 entering the game, and then-No. 13 Utah were playing for a share of the lead in the division.

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