Tom Smart, Deseret News
Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Jamal Miles (32) as the Univeristy of Utah and Arizona State University play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.

Utah beating Arizona State isn’t improbable just because of the Sun Devils’ aptitude. History is against the Utes, too, as they have often played ASU when their program is down and the other’s is up.

Utah has lost nine straight games to the Sun Devils dating back to 1976 and is just 6-18 overall. Seven losses came in the 17 years since the original “Star Wars” was released, along with two more in the seasons since the Utes joined the Pac-12. Six of the losses have been by 21 points or more. Six of those nine matchups were in Tempe, but at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah still lost 47-19 (1977) and 35-14 (2011).

The Utes and Sun Devils met every season but one (1965) between 1961-76, when Utah got six contests in the Wasatch Front. Both teams were part of the Western Athletic Conference from 1962-77 until ASU split for the Pac-10. During that time, Utah never lost more than three games in a row and even won two straight in 1964 and 1966.

The Utes’ last win in the series was a 31-28 decision in 1976 in Tempe.

In 1973, the Utes stunned a nationally ranked Sun Devils squad in a snowy game that featured 10 ASU turnovers. The upset of No. 8 ASU marked the Utes’ most recent regular-season defeat of a Top 10 opponent at home until they beat No. 5 Stanford, 27-21, last month.

Take a look at how the Utes have fared over the last 9 games against Arizona State.

Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for Utah Policy Daily and an alumni of USU. The co-founder of magazine, he has interned for the Deseret News and other publications. | Twitter: @wilklogan