Arizona State Moves to 7-1 After Win Over Utah

Saturday’s matchup between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils found Utah in yet another close game and Arizona State in it’s first overtime showing of the season.

Through the entirety of the game, the Sun Devils struggled to combat the Utes aggressive defense. Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, appeared to be under pressure in the second quarter, having a rough go at getting the ball moving.

Kelly was back for just his second week, after recovering from a foot injury. Though he appeared to still be getting his bearings out on the gridiron, Kelly finished with 205 yards on 18 of 32 passing, with a touchdown and an interception.

A few penalties waged on the Sun Devils pushed for the offense to settle for a pair of field goals in the first quarter, despite outgunning Utah 149-21. Arizona State finally found their way into the end zone when Jaelen Strong followed a 32 yard catch-and-run with a 6-yard touchdown catch.

After that, the Sun Devils couldn’t generate enough momentum to power through another offensive drive, forcing kicker Zane Gonzalez to attempt a 50-yard field goal, which he missed.

Sun Devils offensive rallied in the fourth quarter a smidgen with a 31-yard add from Kelly to Gary Chambers, but once again failed to put touchdown points up on the board. Gonzalez went for his third field goal of the evening from 30 yards and tied the score to 16 even.

The Utes were able to prevent Arizona State from running away with the field by forcing field goals and keeping on Kelly like white on rice in the second half.

The first half was quiet for Utah, but Devonate Booker made an impressive showing in the second half and ended the night with 146 yards and a touchdown. But, there simply were not enough big plays for the Utes on Saturday.

Quarterback Travis Wilson had a mediocre passing day throwing 57 yards and a touchdown while completing 12 of 22 passes. The Utes struggles to move the ball the entire game which could be a possible side effect of being one week removed from losing their leading receiver Dres Anderson.

In the second half, the Utes turned to utilizing Wilson more in the run game with the read option and were able to focus and find some offensive rhythm. Utah took to the field defiantly in its opening drive scoring a touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Wilson to Booker. Following this, kicker Andy Phillips, one of the nation’s best, sent a 44 yard field goal between the uprights to put the Utes in the lead, 16-13.

After this offensive turn-around, the Utes showed signs of struggle and were unable to get within field goal range through the duration of the game.

Overtime found the Utes once again unable to generate offensively and having to settle for a field goal attempt by Phillips at 35 yards. After calling a time-out to avoid a delay of game penalty, Phillips attempted and once again missed after 3 successful attempts that evening.

Arizona State answered in their overtime drive by gaining a few yards, but not able to score with a touchdown, forcing Gonzalez in for a field goal attempt at 36 yards, which he made, sending the Sun Devils charging onto the field in jubilation.

Arizona State now has a one-game lead in the Pac-12 South. Their victory over Utah combined with Arizona’s loss to UCLA gives the Sun Devils the advantage and keeps their championship hopes alive, leaving the Utes all but knocked out of the playoff picture.


*Section Photo and Featured Photo (above) credit to Ralph Freso, Getty Images. 

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