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5 Things We Learned from the ASU Win

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

1 - Yes, Travis Wilson has improved, and can beat you.

All week long, I read various articles and listening to podcasts from our friends over at House of Sparky. Not only them, but people around the country said that Utah couldn't win if Booker is held in check and Wilson was forced to throw the ball. Well, Travis Wilson just proved you all wrong. ASU held Utah stud running back Devontae Booker in check for almost the entire night, so the coaching staff put the game plan on the shoulders of the 6-foot 7-inch Utah quarterback, and he delivered. Wilson was 26-of-36 (72%) on the night, with 297-yards, two touchdowns and ZERO turnovers. Most of that damage happened in the first half when Utah was softening up ASU's defense to allow Booker to do more damage late in the game. Some of Wilson's best plays were ones that a lot of people won't notice. Like when he took a sack when he noticed a screen pass to Britain Covey was completely covered. Wilson also looked into the teeth of a crazy blitzing defense, sat in the pocket, and delivered all night long. Ladies and gentleman, if Wilson keeps this up, watch out.

2 - This team is resilient and will battle.

Utah faced a lot of adversity in this game. A kickoff return for a touchdown, a big punt return to set up a score, a botched special teams trick play, and facing down a blitz happy defense all game long. Utah of years past would have folded up and lost this game, especially against ASU, whom the Utes were winless against. This go around, the Utes banded together and scored 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to put the game away after trailing 18-14 to open the final quarter.

3 - Coach Whitt and A-Rod are more aggressive.

It seems like forever ago now where Dave Christensen would run into the teeth of the defense, regardless of what was going to happen. This year, both Coach Roderick and Whittingham have been going for broke on a lot of plays. The Oregon film speaks for itself, but that trend has continued. Nothing speaks louder than the botched special teams play that happened Saturday night that resulted in a safety. Personally, I loved the play, it was there and would have been a huge play had Covey hit Poole. In the post game presser, Coach Whitt said that they play was there to be made, and that they were keeping the pedal to the metal with that call. Roderick's play calling all night was to go down the field, something that people have been waiting for, and it paid off. Utah showed that they are willing to push the ball down the field, especially if the defense is susceptible to it, see Oregon, and now ASU.

4 - Utah's defense passed another test.

Utah has struggled against ASU since joining the Pac-12. Saturday night, the Utah defense held the ASU offense to essentially one sustained drive, and three points. Utah held ASU to 257 total yards, 15 of which on the ground, and a 0.5 average yards per rush. ASU QB  Mike Bercovici was only 20-of-41 on the night, with 242 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. Kalen Ballage got the start in place of Demario Richard and only had 49-yards on 18 carries, with a 2.7 yard per carry average. At no point did it feel like ASU had the firepower to get past this Utah defense, and that's a first since joining the Pac-12. Once Utah took the lead for the final time in the 4th quarter, there was virtually no threat from the ASU offense to bring them back.

5 - Utah's O-Line answered the bell.

As I've stated throughout, ASU's defense was all about the blitz. Their goal was to get to Wilson, rattle him and force him into mistakes. While the Devils did get to Travis five times, the offensive front gave Wilson great pockets almost all night, that allowed him to find his receivers down field, and punish the Devils for bringing the heat. To go along with the line, Devontae Booker and the tight ends did a great job helping to negate the pass rush as well. In terms of tests, the Utah offensive line faced one of their most difficult ones this season, and passed.