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Highlights, key plays and photos from Utah’s 35-21 win over No. 18 Arizona State

Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising, wearing a white helmet and black jersey, warms up
Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) warms up in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Deseret News is providing live coverage from tonight’s game between Utah and Arizona State. Follow along for updates throughout the night.

Final

Utah turned in a perfect second half, scoring touchdowns on all four of its second-half drives while holding Arizona State scoreless in the second half.

Utah had a 75-yard drive, a 68-yard drive, a 67-yard drive and an 82-yard drive, all for touchdowns in the second half as it completely reversed its first-half performance in which it scored only 7 points.

Quarterback Cam Rising was fantastic in the second half, as he was 13-for-15 with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Tight end Brant Kuithe was a key target in the second half, catching two touchdown passes.

Running back Tavion Thomas got going, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown and helped open up the passing game.

Utah’s defense also showed up big-time in the second half. ASU did have a lot of self-inflicted negatives, like a bunch of holding penalties and more than a few drops, but defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley turned up the heat and blazed ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels more, making him much more uncomfortable in the final two quarters. Utah finished with four sacks.

End of third quarter

What a turnaround from Utah in the third quarter.

After a disappointing second quarter, the Utes scored touchdowns on both of their first two drives of the second half and Utah’s defense forced a three-and-out on ASU’s first possession of the second half.

Utah’s first drive of the half featured a heavy dose of Tavion Thomas, who was able to get going. Cam Rising completed all three of his passes on the drive, which ended with a Thomas touchdown run.

On the second drive, Thomas again was key, rushing for a 16-yard gain, followed by a 20-yard rush by Britain Covey. Rising threw a nice ball to Brant Kuithe for a 20-yard touchdown.

With ASU at Utah’s 24-yard-line late in the quarter, Hauati Pututau sacked Jayden Daniels and forced a 50-yard field goal, which was missed by Sun Devil kicker Logan Tyler.

Halftime

Arizona State separated itself from Utah in that second quarter.

After Utah scored a touchdown on its first drive of the game, the following five drives did not result in a score — punt, interception, punt, punt and interception.

That final interception from Cam Rising hurt. Utah drove down the field with less than a minute left, and after a 16-yard pass to Theo Howard combined with a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty set up Utah at the ASU 25-yard-line. It would have been a good spot for a field goal, which would have cut the lead to 11 with Utah getting the ball in the second half. Instead, Utah got no points.

Rising is 8-for-18 for 107 yards and two interceptions at halftime.

Utah’s defense has allowed 288 through two quarters.

Arizona State’s defense throughly outplayed Utah’s offense in the second quarter and Utah was never able to get in a rhythm in many of its drives.

Both teams had turnovers in the second half. Arizona State wide receiver Curtis Hodges fumbled after Vonte Davis punched the ball out, but Utah couldn’t capitalize as Cam Rising was intercepted by Darien Butler after Cole Fotheringham fell.

Arizona State did cash in on the Ute turnover. Jayden Daniels scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown that was set up by a fantastic 59-yard catch-and-run by LV Bunkley-Shelton, evading a tackle to make it 14-7. Daniels also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Hodges with 52 seconds left.

End of first quarter

Despite two holding penalties by ASU on its first drive, the Sun Devils marched down the field with little disruption from the Utah defense. Jayden Daniels quarterbacked the 12-play, 75-yard drive, passing for 62 yards and rushing for 10 yards. He was great when moving out of the pocket and finished the drive with an 7-yard touchdown pass to Jaylin Conyers. Daniels looked really comfortable on that drive and faced little pressure from Utah’s defense front.

Cam Rising and the Utes responded with a 75-yard drive of their own, as Rising made a couple of impressive lofty throws right after the snap — a 23-yard pass to Devaughn Vele and a 20-yard pass to Dalton Kincaid, who made a great catch near the sideline. Rising also rushed for a 12-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 to extend the drive. Later, Rising kept it for a 9-yard touchdown run.

Pregame prep

Here are a few stories to get you ready for the game.