There was a lot to be pleased with after the Arizona State Sun Devils' 37-7 dismantling of the Utah Utes, and House of Spraky's Brad Denny had a number of high marks handed out in his postion-by-postion post-game grades.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly did very well, getting an A from Denny:
Let's just go ahead and throw that "game manager" title out the window. Once again, Taylor Kelly impressed with his playmaking skills, proving that he is a player who can win games, not just "not lose" them. He was sensational for most of Saturday night, completing 19 of his 26 throws for a career-high 326 yards, and a trio of touchdown passes, all without a turnover against what-was a top 20 defense nationally.
The running back crew for the Sun Devils did their job on Saturday, getting a B for their efforts:
Running Back: B
Another game, another relatively quiet night from Cameron Marshall on the ground. He carried just seven times for 14 yards, but did score a first quarter touchdown that gave him sole possession of third place on the school's all-time rushing touchdown list with 33. He also caught three passes for 30 yards and another touchdown. DJ Foster was again superb with just 11 touches. He ran for a team-high 70 yards on just 10 carries and caught a 26-yard pass. Marion Grice found the endzone again, this time on a 10-yard reception, but gained just 10 yards on his four carries. James Morrison saw his first touches of the season, gaining nine yards on three carries in garbage time. A bright spot: the group did not have a fumble.
The receivers were also on point, according to Denny:
Wide Receiver: A
The most maligned group on the roster, the wide receivers had been largely absent over the first three weeks. Not Saturday. Rashad Ross was excellent, shaking off his awful game against Missouri with a sterling effort against Utah. He started the scoring with a great 38-yard touchdown catch in which he had a nice juke, and led the team with 87-yards on his five catches. Jamal Miles had 59 yards on his four catches, and Kevin Ozier had a great 52-yard reception which set up a field goal. Alonzo Agwuenu had his first catch as a Sun Devil, a nifty 19-yarder down the left sideline.
As for the defensive side of the ball, they played a great game as well, starting with the D-line:
Defensive Line: A
This grade would be worthy just for the performance of Will Sutton alone. He was again a dominant force, causing a major disruption to both the Utah running and passing games. Sutton made four tackles, one for loss, and had half a sack, but his constant harassment made a world of difference, such as his pressure that forced a bad throw by Jon Hays that was intercepted by Keelan Johnson. Junior Onyeali was effective off the edge, and delivered the hit of the season on his one sack. Tackles Jaxon Hood and Mike Pennel helped disrupt the Utah line enough to hold the Utes to a paltry 2.4 yards-per-carry.
The linebackers handeld their business, getting an A from Denny:
Brandon Magee and Chris Young are becoming a terrifying 1-2 punch. Young continues to be a devastating playmaker, with his uncanny range and sure tackling. He made eight tackles, including another 2.5 for loss, and made 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by Magee, who led the team with 10 tackles. For good measure, Magee also forced a fumble of his own. After a very slow start. Steffon Martin made some plays, including two tackles-for-loss. Devilbacker Carl Bradford had 2.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack. Perhaps the best stat of the night was John White IV-who had over 1,500 yards for Utah last year-having just 18 yards on 14 carries.
As did the secondary, also receiving an A:
Utah is not a throwing team, and they didn't do much of it on Saturday-just 16 attempts-but they do have several talented and dangerous threats on the outside who were held in check. Starting wide receivers DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson did not make a catch. Deveron Carr had a good game in coverage, and Keelan Johnson delivered several big hits and had the lone interception of the evening. As a group, the Utes managed just 117 yards through the air.
Arizona State will now take the momentum from this victory and put it toward the Cal Golden Bears, a team the Sun Devils take on next weekend from California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif.
For more on the Sun Devils, head over to House of Sparky.