Arizona was able to defeat Utah 34-24 on the road. Read on to find out how the Wildcats were able to get it done.
Arizona won the toss in Salt Lake City and elected to receive the ball. It was the first time all season that the Wildcats won the toss and took the ball. It didn't matter as they turned the ball over on downs on the opening drive.
Both teams came out trying to capitalize early. Arizona turned the ball over on its first possession, failing to convert on a fourth-and-23. Utah, similarly, turned the ball over on downs the first two possessions of the game after trying to convert on short yardage fourth downs.
Ka'Deem Carey played sparingly early in the game, splitting carries with Daniel Jenkins. Even with the fewer touches, Carey ran for 204 yards on 26 carries, finding the end zone just a single time.
Returning from a concussion, Arizona quarterback Matt Scott had a rough return to the field. He was just 12 of 27 throwing the football for 160 yards and a touchdown. He did find some success running the football early in the game, as he finished the game with 74 yards on 13 carries with one being a touchdown run.
Coming into the game, Arizona's defense was concerned about Utah's run game. Ute running back John White carried the ball 27 times, but only had 112 yards and didn't find the end zone. It was the first time in four games that White was held out without a touchdown and that was one of the reasons that the Wildcats were able to walk away with the victory.
Utah faced elimination from bowl contention with a loss and pulled out all the stops to make sure that it didn't happen. Early in the game, Utah ran a flea flicker that went for 42 yards and set up a touchdown. Later in that drive, Utah scored after faking a field goal and rushing into the end zone. It gave Utah a 7-3 lead early in the game.
Early in the second half, Utah ran a reverse that gave Utah a first down. The ball was fumbled, but recovered by the Utes. The first down allowed the Utah drive to continue, setting up an eventual field goal that tied the game at 17.
Arizona was driving late in the first half, with Austin Hill leading the charge. He caught three passes for 41 yards on the drive and it ended with Scott and Jenkins having a miscue with the handoff. The Wildcats fumbled and Utah recovered, ending the threat and the first half.
The game was a relative;y clean one as both teams combined for just 6 penalties for 57 yards. However, one penalty that changed the game was by Utah's best defender. Star Lotulelei was called for a hands-to-the-face penalty just as the defense stopped Arizona and forced a fourth and short. It gave the Wildcats a first and goal, which was capped off by a Jenkins touchdown run.
With the victory, Arizona is guaranteed an invite to a bowl game. It is meaningful, not just because Rich Rodriguez has never won more than three games in his first year at a new program, but because a first year coach has never taken his team to a bowl game in the first season in the history of Arizona football.
Arizona's defense came up big throughout the game. The Utes went for it on fourth down five times during the game and the Wildcats stopped Utah four of those five times, including a stop late in the game that helped seal the deal for Arizona.
Arizona also won its first road game of the season. After falling in the previous three trips out of Tucson, the Wildcats were able to get the first road victory of the season.