SALT LAKE CITY -- Taylor Kelly found Richard Smith for the go-ahead 14-yard touchdown with 2:37 remaining and the Robert Nelson and Will Sutton each recorded interceptions in the final three minutes as the Arizona State University football team held on to defeat Utah, 20-19, on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
The Sun Devils (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to complete their second fourth-quarter comeback victory under Todd Graham.
Kelly rushed for his second touchdown of the game just 1:48 into the fourth quarter to bring the Sun Devils back within 19-14 and the Sun Devil defense held Utah (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) to four consecutive three-and-outs in the fourth quarter to give the ASU offense a chance in a game where defenses reigned supreme.
The Sun Devils drove 81 yards in 1:54, keyed by a huge Marion Grice run that helped set up Kelly's lone touchdown strike of the day to Rick Smith.
The two teams combined for just 540 yards of total offense between them. To put that in perspective, ASU had more yardage on its own in the past two games it had played.
Taylor Kelly finished 19-of-31 for 144 yards and touchdown with no interceptions. Marion Grice had 136 yards on 20 rushing attempts, including a season-long 38 yard rush on the game-deciding drive. He added four catches for 20 yards and had two kick returns for 63 yards.
ASU’s defense kept Travis Wilson in check all day, holding the Utah quarterback to just 6-of-21 passing for 121 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Chris Young finished with a career-high 14 tackles while Sutton finished the game with nine, also a career high to go with his first career interception with 1:01 left in the game to seal the deal for the Sun Devils.
Utah put up 10 points in the third quarter on an Andy Phillips 43-yarder and a Sean Fitzgerald 12-yard reception from Reilly to take a 19-7 lead into the fourth quarter after holding the Sun Devils scoreless in the third.
The Utes could not get anything going in the final frame, however, posting just 17 yards of total offense in the frame to go along with two interceptions on 1-of-6 passing.
The Sun Devils got on the board first to open the game, driving 71 yards on 10 plays of the opening drive of the game that was capped by a 10-yard Kelly touchdown rush – his sixth in the last four games.
ASU’s offense did very little after that, accounting for just 23 yards of total offense the remainder of the half.
Utah answered ASU’s scoring drive with a 63-yard, 15 play drive that took a whopping 6:56 off the clock in the first quarter to bring the game within 7-6 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
Utah would round out the scoring in the half on a 51-yard Phillips field goal in the second quarter but only managed 109 yards of total offense against ASU’s stingy defense, though the team held the 9-7 lead heading into the break.
ASU’s victory ended a streak of 49 straight games that Utah had won when leading at halftime.
The Sun Devils will return home next weekend to take on Oregon State in Tempe, Ariz. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. MT kick and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.