clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ASU Football: 'The 12 Plays of Christmas' No. 11 Sutton seals it in Salt Lake

Find out what Sun Devil defensive lineman earned a spot on our "12 Plays of Christmas" list.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to fathom a man as large as Will Sutton making a play in pass defense, but that's exactly how the Sun Devil defensive tackle earned his way onto our "12 Plays of Christmas" list.

Play No. 11: Will Sutton's game-sealing interception against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City.

Point breakdown:

2 Points: The play changed the momentum of the game.

3 Points: The play occurred in a Sun Devil victory.

8 Points: The play occurred in the fourth quarter of a Sun Devil victory.

When the Sun Devils traveled to Salt Lake City this year, they learned quickly why teams like Stanford and UCLA struggled mightily against the Utah Utes.

Though Kyle Whittingham's squad finished just 5-7 on the season and in fifth place in the Pac-12 South, the Utes were among the toughest opponents any conference foe faced this season.

Utah's combination of size and strength presents matchup issues for most teams, and it was the Utes' defensive line that gave Arizona State fits throughout most of the early-November game.

With nowhere to run in the ground game, the Sun Devils mustered just seven points through the first three quarters of the contest. Finally, in the fourth quarter, Arizona State's offense woke up and began to find running lanes against the Utes' front seven.

Arizona State rode an impressive fourth quarter performance from Marion Grice who amassed 84 yards in the final frame. Grice pushed the ball deep into Utes' territory, and quarterback Taylor Kelly helped the Sun Devils complete the comeback effort when his 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Richard Smith gave Arizona State a 20-19 lead.

Still, it was neither Kelly or Grice who would be remembered as the hero in the Sun Devils' come-from-behind win. Instead, it's defensive tackle Will Sutton, who pulled off a game-saving move on the Utes' final drive.

Utah regained possession with 1:20 left in the game and a had a chance to drive down the field and kick the game-winning field goal. The Utes' started the drive on their own 11-yard line, but quickly moved up to the 29-yard line after a short completion and a pass interference call against the Sun Devils.

On second and 10 from the 29, quarterback Travis Wilson dropped back to pass in hopes of finding a receiver to move the ball up the field. The Sun Devil defense held strong, and forced Wilson to turn to his check-down option. But when Wilson went to pass, his hopes were thrashed by a man who's best known for being in a quarterback's face.

Will Sutton, the Sun Devils' All-American defensive tackle, stuck his hands up in an earnest effort to bat the pass down at the line of scrimmage and somehow came down with a game-sealing interception.

Sutton's surprise interception thwarted Utah's upset attempt and helped the Sun Devils complete a daunting comeback in Salt Lake City.

The win preserved Arizona State's Pac-12 Championship hopes, and the play helped preserve Sutton's legendary status in the valley of the sun.