In Arizona State's seven game win streak to close out the regular season in 2013, the Sun Devils endured a couple of scares. A 35-13 lead over UCLA nearly slipped all the way out of Arizona State's grasp, and Oregon State put up a valiant fight before succumbing to the Sun Devils.
But the biggest threat to Arizona State's streak that won them the Pac-12 South title came in Salt Lake City, as the Utes used their home-field advantage to nearly upend the Sun Devils.
Arizona State and Utah have a surprisingly rich history considering that Utah is only four years into its Pac-12 membership. But dating back to the days of the original WAC, Arizona State and Utah were conference rivals for two decades before the Sun Devils left for the Pac-10 in 1977. The rivalry was mostly one-sided, as the Sun Devils took 10 of the 16 matchups the two programs had as members of the WAC. But the Arizona State domination didn't really start until the Sun Devils left the WAC, winning all nine of its matchups with Utah since the Sun Devils left for greener pastures, including the first three games Utah and Arizona State have played as Pac-12 South rivals.
But different from the 35-14 and 37-7 drubbings Arizona State put on Utah in 2011 and 2012, the Utes finally fought back in 2013 on their home field, the same field on which they upset No. 5 Stanford earlier that season.
Arizona State jumped out to an early lead on a 10-yard Taylor Kelly scamper, but a stingy Utah defense shut down the explosive Sun Devil offense after that. A pair of Sun Devil fumbles in the first half kept Arizona State from extending its lead, and the Utah offense took advantage. Star receiver Dres Anderson, who went for 100 yards on only four catches, caught an 8-yard touchdown from Travis Wilson to tie the game, but a failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 7-6. The Utah defense continued to stymy Arizona State, and the Utes tacked on two field goals to take a 12-7 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Utah extended its lead over Arizona State, taking a 19-7 advantage when Wilson connected with senior Sean Fitzgerald on a 12-yard touchdown, and things looked bleak for the Sun Devils. But thanks to the stop on Utah's early attempt at a two-point conversion, Arizona State entered the fourth quarter needing two touchdowns to escape with a win.
Taylor Kelly provided the first score on the ground, running for a two-yard touchdown to cap off a 70-yard drive that pulled Arizona State within five points at 19-14. A quick three-and-out by Utah gave the ball right back to Kelly and the Sun Devil offense, but Arizona State wasn't able to do anything with it and was forced to punt. Another Arizona State punt late in the fourth put doubt in the hearts of Arizona State fans, but the Sun Devils got the ball back at their own 19-yard line with 4:31 left to score a touchdown.
That's exactly what they did, as Kelly administered a six-play drive that culminated in a 14-yard Richard Smith touchdown catch. The touchdown was set up by a 38-yard run by Marion Grice and a 13-yard Kelly scramble. Arizona State attempted a two-point conversion to take a possible 22-19 lead, but Kelly's pass fell incomplete and Utah received the ball with 2:37 left and a chance to win the game. But on the first play of Utah's drive, Wilson was picked off by Robert Nelson.
The Utes would get one more chance at a victory however, as a pair of Utah timeouts and an ill-advised Sun Devil timeout left 1:20 on the clock for a possible game-winning drive. A 9-yard completion to Fitzgerald followed by a 9-yard pass interference penalty on Arizona State advanced the Utah drive, but big Will Sutton made the biggest play of his senior campaign, snatching a Wilson pass out of the air to secure the 20-19 comeback victory for Todd Graham's Sun Devils.