College Football Game of the Week: No. 17 Arizona State vs. No. 13 Utah
It’s Week 8 of the college football season, and with only three top-25 games on the slate, we are heading to the Pac-12 Conference for the game of the week. No. 17 Arizona State (5-1, 2-1) and No. 13 Utah (5-1, 2-1) will battle it out at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah for first place in the south division.
Let’s start with the visitors, the Arizona State Sun Devils. Arizona State has been one of the more surprising teams in college football this year. In just his second year as head coach, Herm Edwards has already built a culture and an identity, and his players are buying into the system.
Arizona State’s lone loss came to the Colorado Buffaloes on Sept. 21 at home. However, the Sun Devils have had some signature wins on the road against the Michigan State Spartans and the California Golden Bears, both of which were in the Top 25 when the Sun Devils beat them.
Last week, Arizona State won a nail-biter over Washington State 38-34 to solidify itself near the top of the Pac-12 standings.
The offense has picked up the pace over the last few weeks. Dual-threat quarterback Jayden Daniels was phenomenal last week against the Cougars, posting 363 yards and three touchdowns through the air, as well as a score on the ground. Running back Eno Benjamin had 137 yards rushing and a touchdown. These guys will have to come up huge this week on the road in order to pull off the upset.
Meanwhile, the Utah Utes have been just as hot as Arizona State. The Utes’ lone loss of the season came to USC in Week 4, but Utah is coming into this game off of two convincing wins over Washington State and Oregon State. Quarterback Tyler Huntley was 14 of 17 with 247 yards and two touchdowns last week in the 52-7 win over the Beavers. It will be interesting to see if Huntley comes through with another big-time performance against a much better team.
Running back Zack Moss will also be a key component for the Utah offense. Moss returned from a shoulder injury last week and rushed for 121 yards on five carries and two touchdowns. He is averaging over 100 yards per game and over 7 yards per carry this season.
This one will be a fun one, as most games the Pac-12 are. Expect it to be a reasonably high-scoring contest. The difference here is going to be which defense will step up and get a stop late in the game. The Sun Devils have been able to get stops on defense this year when they need it, and when you combine that with the lethal weapons on offense, it’s going to be tough for Utah to overcome. This is going to be a close one, but the Sun Devils will come out on top on the road.
Prediction: Arizona State 26, Utah 21
Matthew McClure is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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