ASU blasts Utah in rebound win

If Saturday’s Arizona State-Utah matchup was supposed to be a “separation” game in the Pac-12 South, then you have to consider the Sun Devils and Utes miles apart after what happened in Tempe.

The Sun Devils unloaded on the Utes early and often, scoring on their first five possessions (four touchdowns, one field goal) to take a 31-7 lead into the locker room at halftime before closing out a 37-7 victory.

ASU (3-1, 1-0) jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of touchdown passes from Taylor Kelly and a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Cameron Marshall.

The shell-shocked Utes had few answers -- especially in the first half -- for ASU’s offense, which totaled 512 yards for the game and converted 7 of 16 third-down attempts.

It was the ninth consecutive win for ASU over Utah and the kind of bounce back performance head coach Todd Graham was hoping for following ASU’s first loss of the season last week at Missouri.

“They did a good job responding after a tough setback last week,” Graham told the Pac-12 Network after the game.

Kelly finished the game 19 of 26 for a career-high 326 yards with touchdown passes to Rashad Ross, Marshall and Marion Grice.

Defensively, the Sun Devils stifled the Utes (2-2, 0-1), who managed just 209 total yards -- 92 of them coming on the ground. Running back John White fumbled twice and had just 18 yards on 14 carries. Kelvin York led the Utes on the ground with 86 yards on 13 carries. Utah’s lone score came early in the second quarter -- a 2-yard pass from Jon Hays to Karl Williams.

“We want to be known for defense and our guys have taken on that challenge and I thought we dominated tonight so I was proud of them,” Graham said.