Week 11 - Arizona State at Utah

Posted Nov 7, 2013

Week 11 Pac-12 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Arizona State at Utah

Arizona State (6-2) at Utah (4-4) Nov. 9, 4:00, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Is Arizona State the new "it" team in the South Division?

The Sun Devils have caught fire since losing to Notre Dame on Oct. 5, averaging 54 points during a three-game winning streak. With four games left, they control their own destiny in the division, holding a one-game edge over UCLA, Arizona and USC. ASU has jumped back into the Top 25 for the third time in 2013, and this time it's hoping to become a fixture right through the month of November. Utah shocked Stanford—and the sport—by beating Stanford four weeks ago. It feels like four years ago. The Utes haven't won since, losing consecutive games to Arizona and USC before getting a long-overdue bye week. They'll have to win at least two games this month in order to become bowl-eligible, no small task for a program that's 8-15 in Pac-12 play since joining the league in 2011.

Why Arizona State Might Win: Balance. The Sun Devils will beat teams in myriad different ways, from their ground game and precise passing attack to an improving D. Heck, ASU ranks second in the Pac-12 in both total offense and total defense. The offense found a new gear in October, cranking out long drives behind the multi-dimensional talents of backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster and the efficient connections of QB Taylor Kelly. Utah, whose offense has slipped to eighth in the league, has given no indication of late that it's capable of keeping up with the high-powered Arizona State offense.

Why Utah Might Win: The Utes are dangerous at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Just ask Stanford and Utah State. Heck, Utah almost beat UCLA in Salt Lake City as well, and upset a good BYU team in Provo, so the potential is there to win big games. The Utes must exploit the weakest area of the ASU offense, its line. The Sun Devils allow too much pressure, something at which the Utah D is very good. It ranks No. 3 nationally in sacks, collapsing the pocket with DT Tenny Palepoi, ends Trevor Reilly and Nate Orchard and LB Jacoby Hale.

Who To Watch Out For: It's a good game for those who appreciate hybrid edge rushers. The Utes have Reilly, while the Sun Devils boast Carl Bradford. Bradford has been menacing of late, raising his season totals to 10.5 stops for loss, 5.5 sacks, five hurries and three forced fumbles.

- How's the health of Travis Wilson's hand? The Utah quarterback is no longer wearing a protective glove, encouraging news since he was only able to complete 8-of-23 passes over the last two games. If the sophomore isn't at least close to 100%, the Utes have no chance of keeping up on the scoreboard.

- Sun Devil DT Will Sutton isn't having a great year statistically speaking, but he's still a big headache for opposing running games. He requires multiple blockers and can jump the gap enough times in a game to make teams want to run away from him.

What Will Happen: Winning in Salt Lake City is not easy for anyone, but Arizona State's edge in speed and overall offensive talent will help carry it to another pivotal Pac-12 win. While the Sun Devil offense won't be as prolific as it was in recent weeks, it won't need to be against the inconsistent Utah attack.

Prediction: Arizona State 36 … Utah 27
Line: Arizona State -7 o/u: 64.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 3
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