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Graham's 15 Best Wins No. 7: ASU downs Utah with overtime field goal

Our No. 7 best win kept Arizona State's College Football Playoff hopes alive and boosted its record to 7-1.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

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 have No. 7 in our countdown, as we remember when ASU sneaked past a top 20 Utah team to keep its College Football Playoff aspirations alive.

No. 7: November 1, 2014 - ASU Football: Zane Gonzalez's game-winning field goal lifts Sun Devils to first place in Pac-12 South

As No. 14 Arizona State started to rise higher and higher in the 2014 College Football Playoff rankings, each week began to feel like an elimination game for the Sun Devils.

Every victory brought more pressure, hype, and expectations to a team fighting a challenging schedule and an injury to their first sting quarterback. Nevertheless, the Sun Devils managed to fight their way to wins against USC, Stanford, and Washington, setting up a Top-20 battle at home between them and No. 17 Utah to start the final month of the season.

The stage was set for a nationally televised clash, with Fox Sports 1 pushing kickoff back all the way to 8 p.m. local time.

Both offenses would struggle to find the end zone out of the gate, but a pair of first quarter field goals from Zane Gonzalez gave the home team an early 6-0 advantage.

Arizona State's only touchdown of the night came midway through the second quarter, as Taylor Kelly answered a 50-yard field goal from Utah's Andy Phillips with a 6-yard strike to Jaelen Strong. The pass and ensuing extra point made the score 13-3, the only double-digit lead owned by either team throughout the game.

The second half was once again an exhibition in solid field-goal kicking. Another deep field goal from Phillips near the end of the third quarter gave the Utes a 16-13 lead, but Gonzalez answered back in the fourth period with a 30-yarder of his own.

The score remained tied until the final seconds of regulation, when coach Todd Graham decided to call upon backup quarterback Mike Bercovici for another attempt at a Hail Mary. With six seconds left and the ball at the Sun Devil 47 (the same spot from where Bercovici threw his famous last-second touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong against USC), the move delighted fans who were hoping to see lightning strike twice.

The pass didn't have quite enough on it, however, and the ball was intercepted eight yards short of the goal line. The clock hit zeroes and signaled for overtime, making a long night at Sun Devil Stadium even longer.

In a fitting conclusion, the extra session came down to the legs of Phillips and Gonzalez. And when Phillips' 35 yard attempt to start overtime went wide left, the opportunity opened for ASU's sophomore.

Three quick running plays set Gonzalez up for a 36-yard try, and the sophomore's kick was on-target from the start. His teammates already spilled onto the field by the time the ball hit the ground, setting off a wild celebration for Arizona State players and fans once it eventually split the goalposts.

WHAT IT DID FOR ASU: The win put the Sun Devils at the top of the Pac-12 South and moved them to No. 9 in the following week's College Football Playoff rankings. It was another hard-fought effort from Graham's Sun Devils against a rising team that was also making its case for a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance. The nation started to consider ASU as a contender to crash the playoff and made its next game against No. 10 Notre Dame must-see television.