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Utah Football: Grading out the ASU win

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Utah finally gets a win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. How did the team grade out in their win on Saturday?

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Utah football did something they haven't done since 1976 last night, beat the Arizona State Sun Devils. It wasn't always pretty, and Utah almost couldn't get out of their own way, but they managed to pull out the win to move to 6-0 for the season. The win puts Utah two games ahead of any team in the Pac-12 south and makes them bowl eligible for the second consecutive season. Here's a look at each position group and how they graded out.

Offense

Travis Wilson added another great performance to his senior campaign against the Sun Devils. With Devontae Booker struggling to get anything going through the first three and a half quarters, Wilson took charge of the offense. Wilson finished 26-36 for season high 297 yards passing, He threw two touchdowns and did not turn the ball over, finishing with a 159.9 quarterback rating. Senior Kenneth Scott also had a big game, making several big catches for Utah, including a beautiful, one handed catch in the rain, to put the Utes in good field position. He finished with five catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Booker had a rough night going against the Sun Devil front seven. For three and a half quarters, Booker could not find any room to run, before scoring a couple late touchdowns to put the game away, one on an option pitch from Wilson, and another late game 62 yard run to seal the win. Despite Booker's final stat line of 21 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns, he was completely shut down and taken out of the game until the very end. Utah struggled to move the ball at times and there was some suspect play calling, but overall the offense scored 34 points and totaled 379 yards against a very good Sun Devil defense.

Grade: B

Defense

The Utah defense again proved it is a top caliber defense with their play on the field last night. A sputtering offense and extremely poor special teams play, forced the defense into defending a couple short fields early. The Utah defense was able to come up big all night against the Arizona State offense, holding them to just nine points. The defense did not let up a touchdown and shut down the Arizona State running game, allowing only 15 yards on the ground. The defense allowed just 257 yards of total offense to a Sun Devil team that had been averaging 447 yards of offense per game.  Two timely fourth quarter turnovers, a Mike Bercovici fumble and a Cory Butler-Byrd interception, helped Utah ice the win. The defense once again showed they are a top unit not just in the conference, but in the entire country.

Grade: A

Special Teams

A program that is so well known for its special teams, almost lost the game because of them. The Utes allowed a 100 yard kickoff that allowed Arizona State to tie the game at 7-7, and allowed a big punt return that needed a Tom Hackett show string tackle, to save it from being returned all the way for a touchdown. Britain Covey had one of the strangest plays of the season when he fielded a kickoff deep in the endzone and faked like he was going to take a knee, before throwing an illegal forward pass to Bubba Poole on a trick play. The plan backfired as Arizona State was able to get a safety from the miscue, putting the Sun Devils in the temporary lead.

Hackett did have another great punting day, with 265 punting yards on 8 kicks for a 46.88 yard punting average. Andy Phillips was able to redeem himself from his field goal misses last season in Tempe, by nailing two critical field goals with pressure in his face. Overall thought the game was only close because of special teams miscues. If special teams had played up to usual standards, the game would not have been close.

Grade: C-

Coaching

The coaching staff made some interesting decisions with the trick kickoff return that backfired and kick coverage was terrible for Utah. The Utes did not look as sharp as they have in earlier games this season and the offense struggled to be productive at times throughout the second half. The defense was well prepared, however and locked down Arizona State's offense. Overall the coaches have put together better game plans, but did manage to get a win against a tough opponent in Arizona State, and advance their team to bowl eligibility and a 6-0 record.

Grade: C+