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Arizona State scores dramatic overtime win over Utah


Special teams was supposed to be Utah's strength going into its matchup against Arizona State.

In the end, it cost the Utes a victory.

Behind the improving play of quarterback Taylor Kelly and a strong defensive effort, Arizona State snuck by Utah in overtime after normally reliable Utes kicker Andy Phillips missed not one but two field goals that would have extended the game.

A Lou Groza Award candidate, Phillips was perfect on the night coming into the extra frame but missed a short field goal after the Utah offense went three-and-out to begin overtime -- but head coach Kyle Whittingham ended up calling a timeout just before the snap. Phillips had another try but missed that 35-yarder as well.

Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly didn't have the sharpest of nights but continued to show progress running the offense after missing nearly a month with a foot injury. He finished just 18-of-32 for 205 yards passing on the night and added 55 yards on the ground.

Receiver Jaelen Strong, one of the team's top prospects, had a strong night with five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. He flashed good ball skills and once again showed how he was a strong runner after he caught the football. Little used Demario Richard also helped move the offense along, running for 116 yards in a very balanced attack.

On the other side, Utah signal-caller Travis Wilson had another forgettable outing with just 57 yards through the air on 12-of-22 passing. His ability to move around and escape the pocket helped keep some plays alive, but it wasn't enough for the offense. The Utes gained just 241 total yards.

Tailback Devontae Booker continued to be the lone bright spot, especially considering the loss of top receiver Dres Anderson last week. Booker ran hard between the tackles once again and was tough to bring down when he burst through the hole. He finished with 146 yards rushing but did fail to reach the end zone on the ground, adding a touchdown off a short pass instead.

The win allows Arizona State to continue to control its own destiny when it comes to the Pac-12 South and should provide a boost in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Things don't get any easier next week as Notre Dame comes to Tempe for a top 15 matchup, but such a big game just might be something the Sun Devils are used to playing in at this point.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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