Arizona State collapses in Utah as offense goes silent in 2nd half
It was a tale of two halves for the No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.
After taking a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime, ASU failed to score a single second-half point en route to a 35-21 loss.
The Sun Devils also allowed 28 unanswered points in the second half alone.
“When you give up four touchdowns in a half, that’s too many for our defense,” head coach Herm Edwards told reporters postgame.
“We’ve got to get that fixed, obviously. And offensively, we struggled. We didn’t move the ball.”
Coming into the contest, Edwards was 17-1 in his Arizona State career when leading at halftime. That metric now falls to 17-2.
The Sun Devils only mustered two possessions in each quarter of the second half.
Of ASU’s four drives in the final 30 minutes, Arizona State only held the ball for 10:47 and garnered a total of 97 yards on 29 plays for seven first downs.
The Sun Devils didn’t help themselves out either when it comes penalties, something that plagued Jayden Daniels and Co. in the 27-17 loss to BYU in Provo.
Arizona State finished Saturday night’s loss to Utah with 13 penalties for 115 yards, nine of which came on offense for 70 yards.
“We didn’t play well in the second half,” defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce told reporters postgame.
“It was kind of shocking. … There was plenty (of assignment erorrs) and there were veterans in there so we’ve just got to clean it up.”
The loss puts the Sun Devils at 5-2 on the 2021 season and 3-1 in Pac-12 Conference play.
While Utah now has a firm grasp on the South Division, ASU’s chances of going to the Pac-12 Championship aren’t over.
If the Sun Devils can win out and the Utes lose twice — they still have to play UCLA and Oregon — then Arizona State will have a chance to play in Las Vegas on Dec. 3 for a trip to third Rose Bowl in school history.
ASU has a bye next week before returning home to host the Washington State Cougars on Oct. 30.