Ok, so maybe the Utes enjoy living on the edge...
The Rams weren't supposed to give Utah much of a fight, but that's exactly what they did and Colorado State actually had a chance to win the game in regulation. Luckily for the Utes, it did not happen and they continue to sit alone at the top of the Mountain West.
Hooray, now let's all exhale.
Utah needed this game and not because a road win over the Rams would look good on their resume. It wouldn't, but a loss sure would be hard to ignore, especially since it would have most likely cost Utah a chance at the conference championship (remember, they still have road games against BYU and New Mexico). But instead of discussing the loss and the impact it will have on the rest of the season (and I'll admit, it crossed my mind during the final 14 seconds of regulation), we can enjoy and breakdown the victory.
The Utes won this game because a few players stepped up at the right time. Tyler Kepkay took over in the second half, where he scored most of his 27 points. But down the stretch, Luke Nevill made some huge plays, as well, including a block on Marcus Walker's final shot at the end of regulation. That block saved Utah's butt, especially after Kepkay missed a shot with about 15 seconds remaining in the game.
In overtime, Utah took it to the next level, outscoring the Rams 16-6 and because of that performance, are now 19-7 on the season and still in prime position to win the Mountain West.
But this game goes to show the Utes can't take anything for granted. Based on both team's records entering this game, most would have thought the Utes would walk to victory, but they didn't. In fact, this was the first time since Idaho State the Utes were in position to lose a game they had no business losing. That's a scary thought, because these next couple of weeks are going to be the biggest this program has played through in four years. They can't afford performances like tonight, or they're going to struggle down the final stretch, something that could cost them more than just the conference championship.