Arizona State, now considered a Pac-12 title contender by sportsbooks in Arizona after an early-season loss, enters the biggest game of its season Saturday.
The Sun Devils, who blasted Southern Utah and UNLV to open the season, fell in their first road game of the season, 27-17, to the BYU Cougars in Provo in Week 3 on Sept. 18.
Fast forward four weeks, and Arizona State returns to the Wasatch to face off against the Utah Utes on Saturday at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Herm Edwards’ team squares off against the Utes at 7 p.m. Arizona time, with ESPN carrying the college football game live nationally.
ASU-Utah a Toss-Up
Arizona sports gambling sites see Saturday’s clash between the Sun Devils and Utes as almost too close to call.
At DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona, the Sun Devils are currently a one-point favorite, and ASU’s moneyline is -115 as of Wednesday morning.
FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona has ASU as a 0.5-point favorite, with a moneyline of -112 for the Sun Devils.
The two operators both have the over/under at 50.5.
Best Start for ASU Since 2014
The Sun Devils are looking to continue the school’s best start since 2014 on Saturday. A win would give Arizona State its fourth straight victory and clinch no worse than a .500 season in Tempe.
That 2014 campaign, in which ASU started 8-1, finished 10-4 with a win over Duke in the Sun Bowl.
Fast forward seven seasons, and Edwards’ team is looking to match that Todd Graham-coached ASU squad’s hot start, while also seeking the program’s first win over the Utes in three years.
The Sun Devils are 5-3 overall against Utah since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2012, with Utah winning the last showdown between the two teams, 21-3, in 2019.
Breaking Down the Utes
The Utes enter Saturday’s showdown off back-to-back double-digit victories over Washington State (24-13) and USC (42-26).
Utah has responded with gusto after losing to BYU (26-17) and San Diego State (33-31), with coach Kyle Whittingham’s offense doing well on the ground and through the air.
The Utes are averaging 221.8 passing yards and 168.6 rushing yards per game, with sophomore QB Cameron Rising leading the team’s resurgence.
Rising has thrown for 625 yards and seven touchdowns (to zero interceptions) in three starts this season — resuscitating a moribund Utah offense in the process.
The Californian had a career night in Los Angeles last weekend, completing 78.6% of his passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns, plus rushing for 27 yards and a touchdown, in the 16-point victory over the Trojans.
Rising will be put to the test Saturday against defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce’s group, which is holding opponents to 181.3 passing yards per game.
Who Stands Out on Saturday for ASU?
The Sun Devils have cruised in consecutive weeks, blasting UCLA (42-23) and Stanford (28-10) to cement their standing in the Pac-12 South division race.
Expect ASU to lean on the team’s bevy of talented running backs Saturday, a week after Rachaad White (13 carries, 96 yards) and DeaMonte Trayanum (9 carries, 50 yards) ran all over the Cardinal defense.
Both White (421 yards and 9 touchdowns) and QB Jayden Daniels (1,638 offensive yards and 7 touchdowns) have been electric of late. Both will have to be on their game if ASU is going to earn their first victory in Salt Lake City in four years.