Two of the Pac-12 South favorites kicked off their seasons Thursday night with wins that were greeted much differently.
Arizona State fans likely are pretty happy with the Sun Devils' physically dominant showing in a 48-14 win over UC Davis.
And Utah fans probably are a little worried after a lackluster offensive showing in a 27-10 win over Montana State.
“We won’t win a game in the Pac-12 if we play like this the rest of the way,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters.
Both up the ante considerably next week: Arizona State faces No. 21 Missouri. Utah visits No. 25 USC in the first-ever Pac-12 Conference game.
As for the Sun Devils, QB Brock Osweiler was on target and in charge -- before getting riddled with heat cramps -- and LB Vontaze Burfict collected three sacks, three more than he had in 2010. Perhaps even better: Burfict had no penalties and the Sun Devils as a whole were flagged only four times for 40 yards.
There were two injury bummers: Right tackle Aderious Simmons sprained his ankle, though he could be back for Missouri. And promising freshman safety Ezekiel Bishop tore his ACL.
Whittingham wasn't thrilled with his team's performance: "Abysmal," was the term he chose for the offense. It was not a great return from shoulder surgery for QB Jordan Wynn, nor a great debut for offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah had trouble with its tempo, quarterback Jordan Wynn and the passing game managed just 101 yards, the Utes were penalized seven times for 65 yards and Utah was just 4 of 13 on third-down conversions.
The good news was that the running game and defense were sold. In his first start, RB John White rushed 19 times for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Utes fans probably shouldn't get too worked up, though. Chow kept things pretty vanilla in advance of USC, and Montana State is good enough to keep within range of a FBS team that isn't trying too hard.
Also, the Utes were without starting left tackle John Cullen (concussion). He should be ready for USC.