Welcome to our new summer series. A lot has happened over Todd Graham's first three seasons as Arizona State's head football coach. Over the next two weeks, we will be ranking 15 of Graham's 28 total wins so far before the 2015 season, which has potential to send the program to new heights. Today we get to No. 12 in our countdown, when ASU traveled to Salt Lake City to do battle with a tough Utah team.
No. 12: November 9, 2013 - ASU battles Utah in Salt Lake City
In 2012, ASU defeated Utah in Sun Devil Stadium by 30 points, racking up over 500 yards and forcing three turnovers in the process. The next year, ASU traveled to Salt Lake City for an early November showdown with Kyle Whittingham's squad. This time however, the victory did not come as easy.
The Sun Devils opened up a 7-0 lead on Utah nearly four minutes into the game on a Taylor Kelly 10-yard touchdown run. Utah responded on a Dres Anderson 8-yard touchdown reception with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter. A failed two-point conversion attempt kept ASU up 7-6 after one quarter of play.
Utah kicker Andy Phillips drilled a 51-yard field goal with 9:15 left in the second quarter and the Utes took a 9-7 lead into halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Utah, as the Utes scored the only 10 points of the quarter and led 19-7 after three. The Sun Devils finally found the endzone in the second half on a Taylor Kelly two-yard touchdown run with 13:12 left in the game.
The ASU defense forced three consecutive three-and-outs in the fourth quarter and ASU took the lead when Kelly found Richard Smith on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 2:37 left in the game. Leading 20-19 (after a failed two-point conversion attempt), the ASU defense intercepted Travis Wilson twice in the final 2:30 of the game, including Will Sutton's pick to seal the ASU victory.
WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: The victory was ASU's third in a row to improve their record to 7-2 in the 2013 season. The next time the Sun Devils tasted defeat, it was to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game. More importantly, this game proved that under Graham, the Sun Devils could grind out a victory on the road.
Salt Lake City is not an easy place to play and ASU trailed by 12 points entering the fourth quarter. Most ASU teams in the past would have folded and taken the loss, but Graham's team found a way to get the victory. That is why it is No. 12 in our countdown of his best wins at ASU.
Check back tomorrow for No. 11.