Utah (7-2, 4-2) at Arizona State (5-4, 2-4)
When: Thursday, November 10th 2016
Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Time: 9:30 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
The Utah Utes will try and keep their Pac-12 South title hopes alive when they visit the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday night in Tempe. The Utes are in a three-way battle behind USC and Colorado in the division, but one more loss will all but eliminate them. Utah has already beaten the Trojans and will play at Colorado to end the regular season. Senior running back Joe Williams has rushed for 683 yards in the past three games since ending his early season retirement. Quarterback Troy Williams has struggled this season, completing only 54.6% of his passes for 1,888 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. Senior WR Tim Patrick is his favorite target with 29 receptions for 501 yards and five TDs. Head coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes expect to have junior free safety Marcus Williams (three interceptions, two fumbles) back after a two-game injury absence to aid a unit led by senior defensive end Hunter Dimick (seven sacks). Utah’s 23 takeaways (15 interceptions, eight fumbles) tie for most in the nation with Memphis.
Arizona State is just trying to stay alive for a Bowl berth after dropping four of their last five. The Sun Devils expect to have quarterback Manny Wilkins back in the lineup on Thursday. Wilkins has been battling ankle and shoulder injuries and has missed two of the last four games, and missed most of one of the other games. The return of Wilkins (1,421 yards, six touchdowns, five interceptions) provides a boost to a struggling passing attack as leading receiver Tim White, a senior, hasn’t recorded a touchdown despite team-best totals of 47 receptions and 573 yards. Junior tailback Demario Richard has a team-best 532 rushing yards and is expected back after missing the last game because of injury. The Sun Devils have been terrible on defense allowing 36.6 points and 513.6 yards per game, ranking 124th out of 128 FBS teams in the nation. Junior outside linebacker Koron Crump is having a great season with a team-best nine sacks. Sun Devils senior Kicker Zane Gonzalez is 20-of-21 on field goals this season and his 93 career field goals are the most in FBS history.
Utah has a lot to play for and will be ready for this game. The return of Joe Williams has taken some pressure off QB Williams and the offense is starting to put up some points. Arizona State can’t stop anyone and they don’t have a good enough offense to keep up. I’ll take the road favorite in this one.
Pick: Utah -6