Three Takeaways From Utah Football’s Dominant Bounce Back Against ASU

Nov 4, 2023, 4:32 PM | Updated: Nov 6, 2023, 11:20 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football needed to reset and get their heads back in the game and they did that with a dominant effort against ASU.

The Utes needed to get the bad taste of last week’s loss at home to the Ducks out of their mouths. Mission accomplished, 55-3.

Utah’s defense was absolutely smothering, while the offense did a good job of milking the clock and putting points on the board. The most glaring mistake of the day came on special teams during a kickoff where the coverage broke down. It set up ASU’s lone points of the day.

Here are three takeaways from Utah’s dominant bounce back game against ASU.

Takeaway No. 1: Utah’s Defense Says ‘Nope’ After Giving Up Season High Points Against Oregon

Utah’s defense wasn’t playing around today, only allowing ASU 3 points for the entire game after giving up 35 points last week to the Oregon Ducks.

That wasn’t the only eye-popping stat however.

ASU finished the day with only 78 total offensive yards. 40 of those yards were passing, 38 of them were rushing yards.

ASU only had six total first downs and were one of 15 on 3rd down conversions.

ASU averaged 1.4 yards per play.

Good night.

“The front seven was outstanding,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “The back game was good too- the completion percentage was way down. I think it was five for 20-something. We just played a complete game on all three levels, but it starts up front. Good pressure from the get-go. I don’t know how many sacks we had and then we got the interception by Miles Battle. When the defense is clicking and in sync and not on our heels like we were last week we’re really good.”

Takeaway No. 2: Munir McClain Moss’d Someone

Munir McClain may have had the best catch of the year for the Utes, and it also happened to be his first career touchdown as a Ute or Trojan.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham has talked quite a bit about what a good athlete McClain is, but that he’s been slowed up over the years by injuries. We’ve gotten some tastes here and there of what McClain is capable of, but him climbing over ASU’s DB for the touchdown completely takes the cake.

That play was McClain’s only one of the day, but it was a good one.

It’s also worth noting that the Utes leaned into Devaughn Vele quite a bit today as well and he ended the day as the leading receiver while also notching his first and second touchdown of the season in back-to-back drives.

Vele finished his day with seven touches for 56 yards and two touchdowns.

Landen King was right behind him with four catches for 43 yards and one touchdown.

Takeaway No. 3: Utah Ran It, And Ran It Some More

After getting nothing going last week in the run game the Utes ran as if their hair was on fire. Utah finished the day with 352 yards on the ground and averaged 7.2 yards per carry as a team.

Leading the charge was Ja’Quinden Jackson who ended his day with 13 carries for 111 yards and one touchdown. Jackson did exit the game early on his touchdown play after reaggravating an ankle injury he’s been battling all season.

“Same injury,” Whittingham said. We’ll see how he responds. He’s a warrior and he keeps coming back, but it just keeps recurring. They fell on the ankle when he dove into the end zone. He’s been battling that for essentially the whole season and just trying to muster through it.

Jackson was not the only runner to have success against the Sun Devils either.

Quarterback Nate Johnson became the second leading rusher after entering the game in relief of Bryson Barnes recording two carries for 79 yards and a touchdown.

Jaylon Glover had 14 carries for 64 yards. Barnes had seven carries for 56 yards and Charlie Vincent added four carries for 33 yards and one 22-yard touchdown.

“When we run the ball efficiently, and affectively then that makes the safeties come down and everything opens up,” Whittingham said. “Then we throw the ball and it’s wide open. Devaughn Vele had a big first half, kind of quiet in the second half. When we run it well and the opponent doesn’t, that’s our formula for success. That’s what we hang our hat on right there.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Three Takeaways From Utah Football’s Dominant Bounce Back Against ASU