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ASU vs. Utah Game Balls: Fiso, Simone-led defense shows grit in loss to Utes

An outstanding performance from the ASU defense was squandered in their 34-18 loss to Utah.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It was no secret that coming into this week, the Arizona State Sun Devils objective was to contain the likes of Utah running back Devontae Booker. The players were able to solve the issue he posed, however were unable to figure out how to slow down the No. 4 Utah Utes' passing game Saturday night before it was too late.

Regardless, there were some courageous efforts made by multiple Arizona State players this week, despite the result not ending in their favor. Below are this week's Game Ball recipients.

DJ Calhoun, LB - No. 3 (Sophomore)

Utes quarterback Travis Wilson was under duress the entire contest. While he found success for a majority of the contest, Calhoun managed to bring him down not just once, but twice, aiding in the defense's valiant attempt to carry the team to victory.

The true sophomore finished the game with three total tackles (two solo), and the two sacks brought his season total to 4.5 sacks through seven games.

Jordan Simone, S - No. 38 (Senior)

Wilson had a day picking apart the Sun Devils secondary, but Simone did his damage in run support and even in getting after the passer.

Simone managed to reach Wilson on two separate occasions to earn two sacks to go with his game-high 12 tackles (nine solo, two for a loss) and a pass breakup.

Salamo Fiso, LB - No. 58 (Junior)

The nation's leading tackler extended his numbers in the loss, tallying nine total takedowns (five solo, three for a loss).

Fiso anchored a stubborn front-seven unit that helped stymie Utah's reliable rushing game throughout the first three quarters of the matchup.

Tashon Smallwood, DT - No. 90 (Sophomore)

Arizona State's ability to slow down the Utes' rushing attack started with the efforts of the defensive line, and Smallwood was the key to its success early on.

Finishing with seven tackles (two solo, 0.5 for a loss), Smallwood was instrumental to contain a burgeoning Utah run game which featured one of the most dynamic running backs and revered offensive lines in the country.

Tim White, WR - No. 12 (Junior)

White had an abominable drop that cost the Sun Devils six points during the third quarter. All things considered, the JUCO transfer supplied the Sun Devils with their lone touchdown of the evening when he returned a kickoff 100 yards, giving ASU a huge boost in momentum in the early stages of the game.

White finished the game with two receptions for 25 yards on six targets and four kickoff returns for 169 total yards, earning him 194 all-purpose yards in the defeat.