A look at the stats that mattered in Utah's 30-27 overtime win over Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, from Tevin Washington's passing, to Shawn Asiata's emergence, to those pesky missed field goals.
9.9: Points expected, on average, by field goals of 32, 34, 42, 42, and 48 yards. On such kicks, Georgia Tech scored only six points, going 2-for-5. The misses included a 48-yarder at the end of regulation. Let's see, 3.9 missing points in a game you lost by three. Seems rather significant. Tech outgained Utah by 112 yards (449 to 337) and won the turnover points battle by 6.0. But while they made eight trips inside Utah's 40 (as compared to six for the Utes), they came up empty three times. Utah, meanwhile, scored every time they got the chance.
9.1: Yards per pass attempt averaged by Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington. Washington completed 11 of 15 passes for 137 yards; it was the first time since September -- September -- that he completed over 50 percent of his passes. Quite a few of the throws were conservative and short (a relative rarity for the Yellow Jackets), but he did find Stephen Hill on a long touchdown, something that defined Tech's September hot streak.
9: Times in the last 13 years that the Sun Bowl has been decided by a touchdown or less. The good folks of El Paso have seem some doozies, from Oregon State's comeback win over Missouri in 2006 (one of the most fun games my alma mater has ever lost), to Minnesota's 31-30 win over Oregon in 2003, to Saturday's comeback win for the Utes. (And this doesn't even count UCLA's ridiculous 50-38 win over Northwestern in 2005, which featured back-to-back onside kicks returned for touchdowns.)
7: Season receptions for Shawn Asiata before Saturday. The little-utilized, and enormous, 253-pound running back was a non-factor for the Utes in 2011, catching seven passes for 40 yards and rushing twice for a loss of nine yards. But coaches sometimes pull out all the stops in bowl games; while for some coaches, that might mean a high volume of trick plays and special teams kookiness, for Utah it meant Asiata. He caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter, a 14-yarder in the second quarter, two screens for 33 yards on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, and a third-and-3 pass that set up the game-winning touchdown in overtime. For the game: five targets, five catches, 57 yards and a touchdown.
4: Touches given to Stephen Hill and Orwin Smith. On a pure, per-touch basis, few players in the country had higher rates of productivity than these two Yellow Jackets. But while defenses were able to account for, and neutralize, Hill (he had a 78-percent catch rate in the first five games, 35 percent in the final seven games of the regular season), Smith just disappeared from the gameplan. There is probably a reason, but from the stat sheet, I cannot tell what it is. Hill caught both passes thrown his way, gained 35 yards, scored a touchdown, and threw in a four-yard run; Smith, meanwhile, got one carry for a one-yard loss.
2.5: Yards per play averaged by Georgia Tech in the fourth quarter. The Ramblin' Wreck led 24-10 after 45 minutes, but the Utah defense, stout all season, raised its game. They held Tech to 29 yards on 14 rushes and 3-for-7 passing for 23 yards. Utah, meanwhile, gained 104 yards on 20 plays (John White IV had a John White-esque seven carries for 30 yards, Asiata caught two big screens, and DeVonte Christopher caught a 28-yard touchdown pass) and scored twice. Tech still engineered one final opportunity, but of course, it ended with a missed field goal. And White took it from there.