SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bryson Barnes and No. 18 Utah went up-tempo from the start against Arizona State to help them forget about their blowout loss to Oregon the week before.
“You don’t want to let a team beat you twice,” Barnes said. “We had to regain our energy and get over that loss, no matter how bad it was.”
Barnes passed for 161 yards and a career-high four touchdowns and Ja’Quinden Jackson rushed 13 times for 111 yards to lead No. 18 Utah past Arizona State 55-3 on Saturday.
Barnes, who also ran for 56 yards, threw his last touchdown strike to Landen King with 12:59 left and took the rest of the game off.
“Incredible performance on defense. So many positives in the game and Bryson Barnes played exceptionally well,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said after his team became the first to gain more than 500 yards and allow less than 100 in a Pac-12 game since at least 2000.
Jackson sprinted for a 54-yard touchdown early in the third quarter but landed awkwardly in the end zone and had to be helped off the field. The Utes (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12, No. 18 CFP) already have two running backs, Micah Bernard and Chris Curry, out for the season.
Barnes connected on seven of his first eight passes to lead the Utes to touchdowns on their first two drives. Both were capped with scoring passes to Devaughn Vele.
“Just get on the ball and just keep moving. We’ve seen what can happen when we do get into that quick tempo offense,” Vele said.
Munir McClain made a 20-yard leaping grab for a touchdown to make it 24-3 just before half.
The win kept Utah in the race for a third straight Pac-12 championship. The loss was Arizona State’s worst in its Pac-12 history.
“I don’t think our guys quit, but not being able to really throw it, run it, or do anything offensively is tough,” ASU coach Kenny Dillingham said.
Barnes was the first Utah quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in a Pac-12 game since Tyler Huntley in 2018.
Arizona State (2-7, 1-5) was missing its top four offensive tackles against the Utes, who thrive on quarterback pressures and sacks. The Sun Devils gained 83 yards of total offense, their second worst mark in school history.
“Honestly, we just kept it really simple. It’s just that trust factor that we’ve built together. That’s why we’re so successful,” said Jonah Elliss who was in on two of Utah's four sacks and has 11.5 on the season.
Trenton Bourguet went out with a leg injury on the Sun Devils’ first series. After six straight incompletions by backup Jacob Conover, Bourguet returned but fared little better. In the first half the two quarterbacks went 5 for 17 for 13 yards.
Conover, who was 5 of 22 for 41 yards and an interception, gave way to Cam Skattebo, the ASU running back, for a couple series in the third quarter.
“Yeah, (Skattebo) is our fifth-string quarterback and that’s where we’re at," Dillingham said. “Not ideal, but it’s the situation we’re in.”
Utah now has a four-game winning streak against ASU for the first time in their 34-game series. This marked the largest margin of victory for the Utes against the Sun Devils.
“Everybody should be embarrassed," ASU defensive back Jordan Clark said. “This isn’t Sun Devil football.”
Whittingham’s stated goal was to establish the running game, as it usually is. Once Barnes loosened the defense with his early success through the air, the Utes turned to the rushing attack for the bulk of their offense.
“We got some bullies up there,” Barnes said. “Running backs were definitely making plays, but they ain’t getting anywhere without the O-line block pushing.”
Utah’s 352 rushing yards were a season best, surpassing the 317 yards against California.
Beyond the big games from Jackson and Barnes, Jaylon Glover ran for 64 yards and backup quarterback Nate Johnson had 79 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Arizona State: In a game where nothing went right, some of the Sun Devils’ biggest plays were called back because of penalties — including a long pass from the hand of Skattebo and a punt return that went for a touchdown. After playing No. 5 Washington tough and beating Washington State, Arizona State couldn’t generate any offense.
Utah: Bouncing back from a blowout home loss to No. 6 Oregon, the Utes looked crisp on offense, suffocating on defense and dominated the line of scrimmage. Utah established its running game and made it easy for Barnes while the defense held the Sun Devils to just six first downs.
Arizona State: visits No. 20 UCLA next Saturday.
Utah: visits No. 5 Washington next Saturday.
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