The battle for the Pac-12 South is playing out about as expected at the break: a low-scoring, defensive battle between No. 13 Utah and No. 17 Arizona State amid rainy conditions in Salt Lake City as the home side took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
The Utes were somehow able to accomplish all that despite dealing with injuries to both QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zach Moss, who both missed snaps and were in and out of action after taking some hard hits. The signal-caller still wound up with just three incompletions in the first half while throwing for 157 yards and the tailback notched 28 on the ground plus a touchdown.
This was all, mind you, despite two fumbles on their first two drives of the game that were followed up with a three-and-out. A slow offensive start and major injuries? No problem for Utah thanks largely due to the efforts of their defense in keeping things close by forcing two turnovers and four three-and-outs.
As you could expect from that stat line, things were likewise rough for the ASU offense. Freshman QB Jayden Daniels was running for his life on most plays and completed just two passes for 15 yards and an interception as time expired in the second quarter. The Sun Devils averaged just 1.9 yards per rush and the same amount per play as their own defense was about the only thing stopping this from becoming a blowout.
This rare ranked-vs-ranked matchup has huge Pac-12 South implications on the line and both teams will have to step it up in difficult conditions if they want to stay alive in the conference race come the second half.