Jan 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) scores a touchdown past Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Cameron Brown (26) during the  first quarter of the 2022 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud (6 TDs) rallies No. 6 Ohio St. past No. 11 Utah in Rose Bowl

C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba shined with record-setting performances as No. 6 Ohio State rallied for a memorable 48-45 victory over No. 11 Utah in the Rose Bowl on Saturday at Pasadena, Calif.

Noah Ruggles kicked the winning 19-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

Stroud completed 37 of 46 passes and set Rose Bowl records with 573 yards and six touchdowns while being intercepted once. Smith-Njigba set school and Rose Bowl records with 347 receiving yards while making 15 catches, three for touchdowns.

Marvin Harrison Jr. caught three touchdown passes for the Buckeyes (11-2), who overcame a 14-point halftime deficit and drove down the field late for Ruggles’ decisive kick.

Utah’s Cameron Rising completed 17 of 22 passes for 214 yards and rushed for 92 yards and one score before leaving with a head injury in the fourth quarter.

Britain Covey caught a touchdown pass and scored another on a kickoff return for the Utes (10-4). Micah Bernard and Dalton Kincaid had scoring catches, and Tavion Thomas rushed for a score.

The teams combined for 1,146 yards — Ohio State had a 683-463 edge — in an epic shootout that included a second-quarter stretch in which five touchdowns were scored in a span of 2:43.

Ohio State never led until Stroud drilled a 30-yard touchdown pass to Smith-Njigba with 4:22 left to take a 45-38 lead. With Rising out, Bryson Barnes, who had never thrown a college pass entering the game, tossed a tying 15-yard scoring pass to Kincaid with 1:54 left.

The Buckeyes trailed throughout the game but caught the Utes at 38 on Stroud’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Harrison with 10:12 left.

Rising was sacked by Ohio State’s Kourt Williams on Utah’s next play from scrimmage and his head hit the turf hard. He exited and didn’t return.

Rising threw first-quarter touchdowns of 19 yards to Covey and 12 to Bernard before Ohio State got on the board with Stroud’s 25-yard scoring pass to Harrison 43 seconds into the second quarter.

The Utes started the touchdown frenzy on Thomas’ 6-yard run with 9:07 left in the second quarter. Just 35 seconds later, Smith-Njigba caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to pull the Buckeyes within 21-14.

Covey returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, but Ohio State answered on its next offensive play as Stroud connected with Smith-Njigba on a 52-yard scoring pass with 8:02 left. That made it four touchdowns in 65 seconds.

On their next drive, the Utes decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 38-yard line. Rising kept the ball and got the first down and then broke through a tackle attempt and lumbered 62 yards down the left sideline to make it 35-21 with 6:24 remaining in the half.

Ohio State moved within 35-28 on Stroud’s 8-yard scoring pass to Harrison with 11:20 left in the third quarter. Utah’s Jadon Redding and Ruggles traded field goals later in the stanza.

Oregon’s Danny O’Neil held the Rose Bowl passing yardage record of 456, set against Penn State on Jan. 2, 1995. USC’s Sam Darnold held the TD mark of five, also set against Penn State, on Jan. 2, 2017.

USC’s Keyshawn Johnson held the Rose Bowl mark of 216 receiving yards vs. Northwestern on Jan. 1, 1996, while the late Terry Glenn set the Ohio State record of 253 in 1995.

–Field Level Media

December 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (0) quarterback Cameron Rising (7) and wide receiver Britain Covey (18) celebrate the victory against the Oregon Ducks in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Utah eager to face No. 6 Ohio State in Rose Bowl

Ohio State had aspirations of playing for the national championship, while Utah finally gets to play at that famous New Year’s Day paradise.

The No. 6 Buckeyes look to cast away disappointment and the No. 11 Utes will try to channel their exuberance when the teams meet Saturday in the Rose Bowl at Pasadena, Calif.

Utah (10-3) is playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since joining the Pac-12 for the 2011 season.

The Utes also arrive as one of the hottest teams in the nation with six straight wins and nine in their past 10 games. They pounded Oregon by margins of 31 of 28 points late in the season, the latter in the Pac-12 title game.

Utah’s slow start prevented them from having a College Football Playoff case but they currently fall in that category of teams you don’t want to face.

“I definitely think we’re a top-tier team,” Utah All-American linebacker Devin Lloyd said. “And although we didn’t start off necessarily the way we wanted to, especially as the season progressed, I think they should take into account teams getting better.”

The Buckeyes (10-2) were good most of the season but a loss to Michigan in the regular-season finale prevented them from playing in the Big Ten title game and knocked them out of CFP contention.

Along with it came questions about Ohio State’s will to win.

“I don’t necessarily know if we needed it, but it was kind of like a wakeup call,” defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “Maybe we weren’t playing as tough as we should. Maybe we weren’t playing as hard as we could have every day in practice, taking the little things seriously.”

The Buckeyes are 8-7 in Rose Bowl appearances. The current squad is prolific on offense as they lead the nation in both scoring offense (45.5) and total offense (551.4 yard per game).

Quarterback C.J. Stroud finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting and passed for 3,862 yards and 38 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Running back TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 1,165 yards and 15 touchdowns and Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the Buckeyes in receiving (80 receptions for 1,259 yards and six TDs). But Ohio State will be without receivers Garrett Wilson (70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 TDs) and Chris Olave (65 catches for 936 yards and 13 TDs), who opted out of the game on Monday.

Two other Buckeyes — offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and defensive lineman Haskell Garrett — also have opted out of the bowl game.

Utah will attempt to slow the Buckeyes behind Lloyd, who recorded 22 tackles for loss (including eight sacks) and had four interceptions this season. The Utes limited four of their last five opponents to 13 or fewer points.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising has thrown for 2,279 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions. Tavion Thomas has rushed for 1,041 yards and 20 touchdowns while Britain Covey returned two punts for scores while averaging 14.7 yards per return.

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham became the school’s leader in all-time victories (144) when his team rolled over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. Utah also is 11-3 in bowl games under Whittingham despite dropping its last two.

“We’ve had a pretty good track record in bowl games. We have a process that we follow and adhere to. It’s been successful for us,” Whittingham said.

“We’ve got a plan in place. Typically our guys do a great job preparing for a bowl game. We’re going to have to, with Ohio State as our opponent. We’re going to need great preparation to have a shot.”

The Buckeyes see themselves as a team with something to prove at the iconic stadium that sits below the San Gabriel Mountains. They lost to Oregon in September and were pushed around by arch-rival Michigan on Nov. 27.

Wolverines offensive coordinator Josh Gattis rubbed salt in the wounds in the aftermath when he said of the Buckeyes: “They’re a finesse team, they’re not a tough team.”

That, of course, didn’t sit well with the Buckeyes.

“We’re as physical as any team in the country,” said Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison, “and I think we’re going to showcase that in the Rose Bowl.”

The Buckeyes won the lone previous meeting with the Utes, 64-6 in 1986.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Carson, California, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer (12) throws against the San Diego State Aztecs during the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: QB Charlie Brewer transferring to Liberty

Quarterback Charlie Brewer, previously the starter at both Baylor and Utah, is transferring to Liberty, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

Brewer has one year of eligibility remaining.

He began the 2021 season as Utah’s starting quarterback but decided to leave the program in September after he was replaced during the third game of the season. Cameron Rising took over in a 33-31 loss to San Diego State in triple overtime and led the Utes to a 10-3 record and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

“Charlie has decided to move on and we wish him the best,” coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement issued Sept. 21, three days after the loss to the Aztecs.

Brewer was 1-2 as a starter, Rising 9-1.

Brewer joined the Utes in 2021 as a graduate transfer after four seasons at Baylor. Brewer completed 48 of 79 passes for 484 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

He passed for 9,700 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 picks at Baylor (2017-20).

Liberty will need a quarterback to replace Malik Willis, a potential first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Also on the Liberty roster is Kaidon Salter, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2021 who committed to Tennessee but was dismissed from the program before the season after two run-ins with the law.

Liberty (7-5) will meet Eastern Michigan (7-5) in the LendingTree Bowl on Dec. 18.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Utah heavily-backed favorite vs. Oregon in Pac-12 title game

No. 10 Oregon will be out for revenge, and No. 17 Utah will be looking for history when the teams meet in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night in Las Vegas.

The Pac-12 South champion Utes (9-3, 8-1 Pac-12) wrecked the Ducks’ College Football Playoff hopes on Nov. 20 with a 38-7 rout in Salt Lake City. Utah has won its division in three of the past four seasons but is seeking its first victory in the conference title game and is trying to advance to the first Rose Bowl in school history.

Oregon (10-2, 7-2) bounced back from the loss to Utah by dispatching Oregon State 38-29 last weekend to clinch the North division. The Ducks have won the league title game in each of the past two seasons.

Utah is a 2.5-point favorite at DraftKings, where the Utes are being backed by 65 percent of the bets and 68 percent of the spread-line money.

Although these foes carry the reputations of being arguably the two most physical teams in the Pac-12, it was all Utes in the first meeting. Utah outrushed Oregon 208-63 and led 28-0 at halftime after scoring two touchdowns in the final 27 seconds, including Britain Covey’s 78-yard punt return.

Utah controlled the ball for more than 35 minutes.

“They’re a big, physical, disciplined football team that plays hard,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said of Utah.

“They play with physicality and violence. They’re very assignment-conscious, technique- and fundamentally sound. They have explosive players on special teams, offense and defense … just a really complete football team.”

To wit: Utah is the only Pac-12 team that ranks in the top 30 nationally in scoring (35.2 points per game, tied for 21st) and points allowed (21.5, 29th).

This is a low-mistake outfit, exemplified by Utah quarterback Cameron Rising, who is completing 62.8 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions. But the Utes’ calling card is the running game, led by Tavion Thomas, who has 978 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

He has 12 rushing scores in his past four games, including 21 carries for 94 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting against Oregon.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is signaling more of the same.

“It’s a little bit different, playing the same team twice in a 13-day period. But that’s how it goes,” he said. “No major overhauls. But you do tweak some things and make some subtle adjustments here and there.

“Not a lot has changed for either team … Really, it’s the execution and the energy is more critical than any minor schematic adjustments you might make.”

Over its last six games, Utah has averaged 218.2 rushing yards, while holding opponents to just 119.5 yards on the ground.

Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown rolls into the title game with momentum, earning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his play against Oregon State. He completed 23 of 28 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for 83 yards and a score on 14 carries.

Travis Dye (1,036 yards, 14 TDs) sparks the ground game.

Middle linebacker Noah Sewell, the team’s leading tackler, is good to go for the title game, as is cornerback Mykael Wright, Cristobal said. Both players left last week’s game with injuries.

The Ducks are 4-0 in the Pac-12 championship game, including last year’s victory over USC.

The 57.5-point Over/Under at DraftKings has seen split action. The Over has been backed by 62 percent of the bets while the Under has drawn 59 percent of the money.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs for a first quarter touchdown against the Oregon Ducks at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Utah drubs No. 3 Oregon, denting CFP hopes

Cameron Rising passed for 178 yards and ran for a touchdown, and Britain Covey returned a punt for a score as No. 23 Utah steamrolled No. 3 Oregon 38-7 on Saturday in Pac-12 Conference play in Salt Lake City.

With the win, Utah (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) earned the Pac-12 South Division title and a spot in the conference championship game on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham became the all-time wins leader at the school with 142.

Tavion Thomas rushed for 94 yards and three TDs for Utah, which has won four straight games overall and 18 of its past 19 contests at home. Brant Kuithe caught five passes for 118 yards for the Utes.

Anthony Brown led Oregon with 231 yards passing and a touchdown but the Ducks were limited to just 294 total yards, only 63 of which came on the ground.

The Ducks (9-2, 6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Oregon is still in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 North Division title and a spot in the conference championship game. However, the Ducks will fall out of the top four of the College Football Playoff with their second loss.

The Utes grabbed the lead on a 10-yard TD run by Thomas with 4:40 to play in the first quarter that capped a 13-play, 63-yard march. Later, Rising scooted around left end for a 1-yard scoring run with 5:08 remaining in the second quarter to finish off an 80-yard, 9-play drive and give Utah a 14-0 lead.

Thomas added his second TD – going untouched on a 4-yard run – and pushed the Utes’ lead to 21-0 with just 27 seconds remaining in the half.

Oregon tried to get something out of the time left before halftime but ended up punting on the final play of the half, with Covey ripping off a 78-yard return for a touchdown.

Utah outgained the Ducks 242-122 in the first half, running 40 plays to Oregon’s 26.

Oregon finally responded, driving 75 yards in nine plays with Brown’s 36-yard TD pass to Devon Williams to open the third quarter. But the Utes answered, powering down the field to Thomas’ third touchdown run, this one from 5 yards out with 3:56 to play in the third, to regain their 28-point lead.

Utah added a 26-yard field goal by Jadon Redding halfway through the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2021; Stanford, California, USA;  Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Utah defense dominates Stanford in 52-7 rout

Linebacker Devin Lloyd capped a brilliant defensive effort with an interception for a touchdown and Tavion Thomas rushed for four scores Friday night as Utah remained in the driver’s seat for a Pac-12 South title with a 52-7 shellacking of host Stanford.

Thomas finished with a career-best 177 yards on 20 carries for the Utes (6-3, 5-1 Pac-12), who now need just two wins in their final three games to earn a spot in the conference championship game.

Thomas scored on 10- and 5-yard runs in the first quarter, then added 58- and 11-yarders in the second as Utah built a 28-0 lead in the game’s first 23 1/2 minutes.

TJ Pledger sprinted 96 yards for a fifth Utah touchdown and Jadon Redding nailed a 29-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter, sending the Utes into halftime with a 38-0 advantage.

Stanford (3-6, 2-5) played much more competitively in the second half, getting onto the scoreboard on the first drive of the third quarter with a 4-yard run by Isaiah Sanders.

Utah, which was coming off an impressive 44-24 win over UCLA, matched that point total when Lloyd jumped at the line of scrimmage, snatched a Jack West pass and fell into the end zone for a touchdown.

Earlier in the game, Lloyd made five tackles for losses.

Micah Bernard added a sixth rushing TD for the Utes from 11 yards out with 1:48 to play to complete the scoring.

The run pushed Bernard over the 100-yard mark with 110. Pledger finished with 107 on just four carries as Utah rolled up 441 rushing yards and 581 total yards.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising went 13 of 22 for 140 yards without a touchdown or interception. The Utes lost one fumble but benefitted from two Cardinal turnovers.

Stanford’s West finished 12-for-18 for 59 yards with the one interception. En route to a fourth straight defeat, the Cardinal totaled 167 yards, with E.J. Smith producing a team-high 53 on the ground on seven carries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;  Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Cameron Rising (7) during the fourth quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Utah, Stanford head in different directions entering Friday clash

Two teams with vastly different levels of bowl games on their minds hook up Friday night when Pacific-12 Conference South-leading Utah visits the North’s last-place team, Stanford.

Utah (5-3, 4-1 Pac-12) took control of its division with a 44-24 home romp over UCLA last Saturday, with Tavion Thomas’ 160 rushing yards and four touchdowns leading the way.

Coupled with an Arizona State loss to Washington State, the Utes’ win gave them a one-game lead in the South, which in essence is a two-game advantage because they also own a head-to-head win over the Sun Devils.

Taking care of business against Stanford, as well as the bottom two teams in the South — Arizona and Colorado — would assure Utah a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game regardless of how it fares against the North leader, Oregon, on Nov. 20.

Despite Stanford’s three-game losing streak, Utes coach Kyle Whittingham has warned his team: Dealing with the Cardinal (3-5, 2-4) on the road won’t be easy for a Utah team that’s failed more often than it has experienced success away from home (1-3) this season.

And the Utes will be heading west one day earlier than usual.

“We’ve got a short week combined with a road trip,” Whittingham noted. “It’s what the schedule says, so we don’t worry or complain about that. We’ve just got to manage it. We’ve got a blueprint for it.”

That blueprint was last put into place when Utah faced Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game on a Friday night in December 2019. On a similarly short rest as they’ll get this week, the Utes were blown out in that game, 37-15.

Of course, they didn’t have Cameron Rising doing anything more than holding a clipboard that season as a redshirt transfer from Texas. After a season-opening shoulder injury, he has started the last five games, leading Utah to four wins while throwing 12 touchdown passes with just two interceptions.

Rising was a freshman at Texas the last time Utah visited Stanford. That went well for the Utes in a 40-21 victory over a Cardinal team that was ranked 14th at the time.

That said, the roles were reversed one year earlier, when Stanford went to Salt Lake City and upset the 20th-ranked Utes 23-20.

The Cardinal need three wins in their last four games to be eligible for a bottom-tier bowl game. They almost had one last week when they led Washington 13-12 before surrendering a 20-yard TD pass with 21 seconds left on their way to a 20-13 loss.

“Honestly (we) played defense good the entire game,” Stanford coach David Shaw observed. “But once again it comes down to two minutes, and we couldn’t get the stop to end the game. That’s how you lose.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;  Utah Utes players raise their helmets and cheer during the fourth quarter break in a tribute to Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan in a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Utah to retire No. 22 in honor of Ty Jordan, Aaron Lowe

The Utah football program will retire No. 22 on Saturday to honor Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, best friends and high school and Utes teammates who passed away within the past year.

The retirement ceremony will take place on gameday between Utah and UCLA.

It will be the first number retired in Utes history. Jordan wore No. 22 in 2020, and Lowe switched to that number this season to honor his best friend.

Jordan died following an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound that occurred last Christmas. After the 2020 season, he was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He finished the season with 597 rushing yards on just 83 carries in five games for the Utes in the shortened season. The 19-year-old averaged 7.2 yards per carry and 119.4 per game.

Lowe, a defensive back, died Sept. 26 after being shot at a house party. A 22-year-old man has been charged with aggravated murder and other charges in the case.

Lowe, 21, was in his third year with the Utes and had appeared in each of the first four games. He was buried Oct. 11 in the players’ hometown of Mesquite, Texas — next to Jordan.

The university has created Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe Memorial Scholarships in honor of the players.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) dives into the end zone to score a touchdown against Oregon State Beavers defensive back Rejzohn Wright (1) during the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Chance Nolan tosses 2 TDs as Oregon State rallies past Utah

BJ Baylor ran for 152 yards and a touchdown while Chance Nolan threw for 208 yards and two scores to help Oregon State rally to beat Utah 42-34 in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday night.

The Beavers (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) earned their first win over the Utes since 2013 after rushing for 260 yards and averaging 7.8 yards per play.

Cameron Rising threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns and added 73 yards on 10 carries to lead Utah. Tavion Thomas added 74 yards and two touchdowns on the ground before exiting with a knee injury late in the second half. The Utes (4-3, 3-1) suffered their first loss in league play this season.

Oregon State rattled off three touchdowns in the third quarter to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit. Trevon Bradford started it off by scoring on an 11-yard TD catch. Then the Beavers took their first lead at 28-24 after Luke Musgrave blocked a punt and returned it 27 yards for the score. Utah retook the lead on a 1-yard run by Thomas, but then Bradford scored on a 10-yard sprint to put Oregon State up 35-31 late in the third quarter.

The Beavers extended their lead to 42-31 on an 8-yard run by Baylor with 9:49 left. Utah drove down to the OSU 2 but Alex Austin broke up a fourth-down pass to Britain Covey in the end zone — ending the Utes’ hopes of making a comeback.

Utah jumped out to a 14-0 lead after Rising threw touchdown passes to cap off the Utes’ first two drives. He hit Micah Bernard on a 14-yard swing pass to put Utah on the board. Then, Rising connected with Brant Kuithe on an 11-yard strike after Kuithe was left alone in the back corner of the end zone on broken coverage.

Oregon State rallied and cut the lead to 17-14. The Beavers got on the board when Anthony Gould ran 14 yards off a reverse. Then Baylor found a hole and raced 68 yards to set up Nolan’s 1-yard pass to Jack Colletto that cut Utah’s lead to three.

The Utes extended their lead to 24-14 on a 3-yard run from Thomas just before halftime. Utah earned a chance to score after Brandon McKinney stripped the ball from Nolan on a sack and Junior Tafuna recovered the fumble at the Beaver 19.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;  Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) reacts after throwing a second quarter interception against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Utah rallies in second half, upsets No. 18 Arizona State

Cameron Rising accounted for three touchdowns Saturday as Utah posted a wild 35-21 come-from-behind win over No. 18 Arizona State in Salt Lake City.

Utah (4-2, 3-0), the only unbeaten team left in Pac-12 play, outscored Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) by a 28-0 margin in the second half. The Utes are 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2015.

Tavion Thomas and TJ Pledger each ran for a score for Utah. Brant Kuithe caught a pair of TD passes from Rising, who finished 21 of 33 for 247 yards passing while rushing for 59 yards and a touchdown on six carries.

Rising was intercepted twice in the first half as Arizona State built a 21-7 cushion. Jayden Daniels passed for two scores and rushed for another in the first half and finished 20 of 31 for 237 yards for the Sun Devils.

Arizona State took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 7-yard TD pass from Daniels to Jaylin Conyers. A 2-yard scoring plunge by Daniels midway through the second quarter made it 14-7 and a 15-yard TD strike from Daniels to Curtis Hodges made it 21-7 in the final minute of the half.

Utah’s six first-half drives included three punts and two interceptions with the only score being a 9-yard TD run by Rising on the hosts’ opening possession. In the second half, however, the Utes scored a touchdown on all four of their drives, with each possession covering at least 67 yards.

Thomas’ 7-yard TD run early in the third quarter drew Utah within a score, and then Rising hooked up with Kuithe for touchdown strikes of 20 yards and 7 yards to put the Utes ahead for the first time.

Pledger’s 7-yard sprint to the end zone with 2:39 remaining put an exclamation point on the comeback win.

Arizona State finished with 13 penalties for 115 yards and allowed four sacks while not recording one of its own.

–Field Level Media