Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) scores as Arizona State defensive back Jordan Clark (1) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Cameron Rising threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, rallying Utah to a 35-21 victory over No. 18 Arizona State on Saturday night.
Rising added 59 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Tavion Thomas ran for 84 yards and a score. The Utes (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12) took over sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South, and are the last unbeaten team in Pac-12 play.
Jayden Daniels threw for 237 yards and two TDs to lead Arizona State. Daniels rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown. The Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) surrendered 28 unanswered points after halftime.
Utah scored on four straight drives in the second half to erase a 14-point halftime deficit.
The Utes pulled within a touchdown on a 7-yard run by Thomas. Then Rising tossed touchdown passes to Brant Kuithe on back-to-back drives to give Utah its first lead in the fourth quarter. A 20-yard strike to Kuithe tied the game midway through the third quarter. Then, a wide-open Kuithe walked a 7-yard pass into the end zone untouched, putting the Utes up 28-21.
T.J. Pledger’s 7-yard run gave Utah a two-touchdown cushion with 2:39 left.
The Sun Devils struck first on their opening drive, going up 7-0 on 7-yard pass from Daniels to Jalin Conyers that capped a 12-play drive. Conyers walked into the end zone after being left wide open on the goal line.
Utah answered on its first drive, tying the score at 7-all on a 9-yard run by Rising. Rising converted a pair of third downs to keep the drive alive, running 12 yards on a keeper and connecting with Britain Covey on a 10-yard pass.
Daniels put Arizona State back up by two touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Sun Devils reclaimed the lead on Daniels’ 2-yard bootleg. LV Bunkley-Shelton set up the score a play earlier when he broke a tackle on a short pass and rumbled 59 yards before finally being brought down. Then Daniels tossed a 15-yard pass to Curtis Hodges to extend Arizona State’s lead to 21-7 with 52 seconds left in the half.
Utah drove deep into Sun Devil territory twice in the second quarter. Both possessions ended in interceptions thrown by Rising.
Arizona State: Starting with their opening drive, the Sun Devils put together one explosive play after another to keep Utah’s defense on its heels during the first half. The tables turned in the second half when Arizona State sputtered on defense.
Utah: The Utes put themselves in a hole early with a pair of turnovers. Utah came to life on offense after halftime, running off four straight scoring drives while averaging 7.5 yards per play on those drives.
Arizona State will likely drop from the AP Top 25 after suffering its first Pac-12 loss of the season.
Arizona State hosts Washington State on October 30th.
Utah visits Oregon State on Saturday.