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Record-setting performances lift Utah past ASU

Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick sacks Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins, left, during the second half, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona.
Utah defensive end Hunter Dimick sacks Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins, left, during the second half, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona.
Matt York, AP

TEMPE, Ariz. — Hunter Dimick made his mark in Utah football history with single-game school records for tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (5) in Thursday night’s 49-26 win at Arizona State.

The senior, who finished with a career-high nine tackles, led the way as the 12th-ranked Utes dinged the Sun Devils for a team-record 22 tackles for loss. The stops included 11 sacks overall.

“It was the defensive backs, and consequently, when that happens, we are able to get there and make plays,” Dimick said. “A huge thanks to the defensive backs. They played a great game this week.”

Starting safeties Chase Hansen and Marcus Williams had interceptions. Hansen returned his 34 yards for a touchdown, while Williams thwarted a promising ASU drive with a pick in the end zone.

“That is natural for me,” Williams said. “I was not surprised I got that because I make plays.”

The Utes, as a whole, made plenty on defense in getting their first win over ASU in Tempe since 1976.

Williams joined Dimick with a team-high nine tackles. Pita Taumoepenu registered three sacks. Lowell Lotulelei and Bradlee Anae also got to the quarterback.

“There was nothing we went after or noticed in particular,” said Dimick, who will break the school record for career sacks (27) with his next one. “We take a lot of pride in pressuring the quarterback and that is the game plan.”

ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins credited the Utes for doing a “really good job scheming us up and game-planning for the things that we do.”

Utah’s offense also had an effective outing. After opening the game with two fumbles and then two punts, the Utes finally got rolling. They wound up with 497 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Troy Williams completed 21 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns. Raelon Singleton hauled in three of the scores. Siaosi Wilson had the other one. Cory Butler-Byrd topped the team with seven receptions.

Running back Joe Williams complimented the receivers with 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The scores came on runs of 82 and 40 yards, respectively.

“We were sleepwalking in the first quarter by not doing much of anything in any phase of the game,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “We came alive in the second half.”

The Utes entered the second quarter with a 13-0 deficit. They managed to take a 21-20 lead into halftime. Following the break, Utah outscored ASU 28-6 to win handily.

At 8-2 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 play, Utah is in position for something big. The Utes can secure a berth in their first Pac-12 championship game with season-ending wins over Oregon and Colorado.

“We are now down to a two-game season,” Whittingham said. “Our main focus now is battling through a win against Oregon at home next weekend.”

Email: dirk@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer