Page last updated on Tue Sep 01 06:07:17 EDT 2015
11/09/2013 9:46 PM EST
Kelly leads No. 23 Arizona St rally to beat Utah
ARIZONA ST 20, UTAH 19
By MATTHEW COLES
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Near the end of an exhausting game,
305-pound Will Sutton admitted he didn't rush the quarterback
hard because he was trying to catch his breath. The decision
worked out OK for the All-America defensive lineman.
Sutton was in the right place to reach up and grab the first
interception of his career. The pick snuffed Utah's last chance
for an upset and secured No. 23 Arizona State's 20-19 comeback
Sutton said Utah quarterback Travis Wilson said was looking the
other way, so I kind of drifted over there. I put my hands up
and the ball just ended up in my hands. Everybody was more
excited than me. I was still just trying to catch my breath."
No one was more thrilled than Sun Devil quarterback Taylor
Kelly, who couldn't generate much offense until two
fourth-quarter touchdown drives.
"That's what our offense does. We kept fighting through
adversity. Guys were coaching each other and keeping guys up. We
weren't going to quit," said Kelly, who ran for a touchdown and
threw for another in the final period.
But it took Sutton's interception at the line of scrimmage with
1:01 left at the Utah 25 to clinch the win.
"I just came back to the sideline with a giant smile on my face,
knowing we just sealed the deal. We got away," Sutton said.
Stifled by Utah's aggressive defense for most of three quarters,
Kelly helped keep the Sun Devils (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) in the
driver's seat for the Pac-12 South title.
"Our guys are hard to stop once we get things rolling. Utah did
a great job defensively, scheming what we were doing," Kelly
said. "They were bringing pressure from everywhere. Once we
started figuring it out and moving the ball, our defense did a
Kelly finished 19-for-31 passing for 144 yards and Marion Grice
rushed 20 times for 136 yards. Grice busted through the Utah
line and rumbled 38 yards to set up Kelly's 14-yard touchdown
pass to Richard Smith with 2:37 to play to make it 20-19. Utah's
Trevor Reilly sacked Kelly on the 2-point conversion attempt.
"We didn't finish. That's on our defense. We had a 12-point lead
but we didn't protect it," said Reilly, who had nine tackles and
2.5 for loss.
Wilson was 6-for-21 for 121 yards for Utah (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) and
threw interceptions that ended the Utes' last two drives. Wilson
hit Sean Fitzgerald for a 12-yard touchdown with 5:19 left in
the third quarter to give Utah a 19-7 lead and the Utes looked
prime for a second home upset to go along with the one they
sprung on Stanford last month.
"That's the best we've been defended," ASU coach Todd Graham
said. "They did a great job of keeping us out of rhythm."
But Arizona State clamped down and Kelly scored on a 2-yard
keeper after leading a six-play, 70-yard drive in the fourth
quarter to make it 19-14 with 13:12 left.
"I saw defensive guys going to the offense end and saying, `Hey,
just keep plugging. We can win this game. They're not scoring,"'
Wilson threw a long pass down the sideline to Anderson, who had
four receptions for 100 yards, on the first play of the second
half which led to Andy Phillips' 43-yard field goal.
Utah's defense slowed the Sun Devils' quick-strike offense,
which routinely runs more than 80 plays and rolls up more than
515 yards a game. The Utes sacked Kelly six times and allowed
only one reception over 20 yards but the Sun Devil defense was
When it mattered most in the fourth quarter, ASU held Utah to 17
yards and one first down.
Phillips kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal in the second
quarter to boost Utah to a 9-7 halftime lead.
On the game's opening possession, Kelly capped a 10-play,
71-yard drive by rolling out and dashing 10 yards for a
touchdown. After that, Kelly faced wave after wave of Utah
defenders until the fourth quarter.
Wilson threw an 8-yard TD pass to Dres Anderson, but the extra
point try was unsuccessful to make it 7-6.
Arizona State has won 10 straight against Utah. The Utes had won
49 consecutive games when leading at halftime.
"I'm very proud of this team to win the way they did. Our guys
didn't panic and we played well defensively, especially down the
stretch in the fourth quarter," Graham said.
Dennis Erickson, who was the head coach for ASU from 2007-11, is
the co-offensive coordinator for Utah. Considering Wilson's
shaky confidence, Erickson called 46 rushes and 21 passes and
put the game in the hands of the defense.
"I don't think we were too conservative," Utah coach Kyle
Whittingham said. "If you can't protect your passer then you
have to try and run."
Playing with an injured throwing hand for the better part of
three games, Wilson is 18-for-44 with six interceptions. Utah
had 80 yards in penalties to 14 for ASU.
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