Postgame Analysis: Utah

Arizona won a close contest on Saturday night. Read on to find out which two Wildcats had career-highs, who returned an interception for a touchdown, and more.

Arizona snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-24 victory over Utah on Saturday night. The win moved the Wildcats to 1-2 in conference play with a 4-2 overall record. Here is a closer look at what happened:

  • Ka'Deem Carey ran hungry throughout the game and carried the team on his back towards the end of the night when the Wildcats needed him most. Carey rushed for a school record 40 times, breaking the previous mark of 36 that was held by Ontiwaun Carter. Carey ran for 236 yards on those touches, his season-high.

    "I feel every carry," Carey said after the game. "That was a fun game. The blockers were giving me holes and I just took it. B.J. (Denker) had a good game spreading it out and throwing deep.

    "After that fumble, I felt like I let the team down. When I got the ball and saw the crease, I said, ‘Man, I got your back, team.'"

  • With the 236 yards, Carey surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for his career at Arizona. He finished the game with 3,159 yards at Arizona. The school record for rushing yards in a career is 3,824, held by Trung Canidate and Carey will need 665 yards to break the record.

    "On his last touchdown, I was yelling at him to get down, but I'm sure he didn't hear me or care," Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I knew he was going to run hard after that fumble. He is just a great football player. If he makes a mistake, it is uncharacteristic and he will run harder.

    "He's ten pounds heavier and in great shape and he has a certain hunger when he plays. He's one of the best I have ever coached."

  • Carey may have only needed 600 yards to break the record, but he had a 65-yard touchdown run called back early in the first quarter because the referees called the play dead moments before the ball was snapped. The explanation given was that the clock never started when the ball was set and the clock needed to be reset.

  • Arizona also had help on the offensive side of the ball with a strong performance by quarterback B.J Denker. The senior slinger completed 18 of 30 passes on the night for 168 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball effectively, carrying thirteen times for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Early in the second quarter Marquis Flowers intercepted a pass from Utah quarterback Travis Wilson and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Wildcats the lead at 14-7. That was about it for Flowers, who finished with 4 tackles on the day.

    "The interception return to me was a long time coming," Flowers said. "Obviously, the one at UNLV, Coach Rodriguez and the whole team messed with me about getting tripped up on that one. It was just a big play for the defense and it was a good night."

  • Shaq Richardson was beaten early on a jump ball that allowed Utah to tie the game at seven. Later in the game, Richardson was able to get his revenge, as he picked a deep ball from Wilson that was just slightly overthrown. He finished with four solo tackles on the game.

  • Travis Wilson wasn't very effective for the Utes during the game. He came into the game as one of Utah's most dangerous weapons, but finished with just three completions on his nine attempts. Wilson had just fifteen yards passing, but did throw a touchdown. The sophomore also threw two interceptions.

  • Sione Tuihalamaka was another big force for the Wildcats on defense. The defensive lineman finished the game with eight total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. The eight tackles was a career high for the senior.

    His previous career-high was seven tackles against Toledo last season. He had fifteen total tackles this year coming into the game.

  • Johnny Jackson had a rough game for Arizona. He muffed two punts early in the game with one returning the ball to Utah. Jackson was pulled after the second muffed punt in favor of Nate Phillips, who started the year as the punt returner.

    On the positive side, Jackson did have two catches for 29 yards in the game.

  • Tra'Mayne Bondurant left the game with an injury in the first quarter. He did not return to action and was replaced by Anthony Lopez. The injury didn't hurt the Wildcats until early in the third quarter when Sean Fitzgerald beat Lopez for a 55-yard touchdown. It gave the Utes a 21-20 lead that they would not relinquish.

    Bondurant was not the only safety missing for the majority of the game. Jared Tevis did not dress for the game as he was out with an injury and Will Parks played in his place.

    "I think they did a tremendous job," Flowers said. "You know, obviously we missed Tevis, but Im' never worried about it. Will Parks came in and did a great job.

    "Whoever had to come in, Anthony Lopez came in for Tra'Mayne and… we have to keep having depth like that because anything could happen."

  • Freshman wide receiver Nate Phillips continued to be a standout for the Wildcats on offense. He had just four receptions in the game, but totaled 63 yards on the night. He also caught the touchdown that put the Wildcats ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.

    "The biggest (catch) of the game was the one down the sideline," Rodriguez said of Phillips' game. "He has the same hunger and intensity that Ka'Deem has. That was a huge play. We hadn't executed well, so that was big for our momentum."

  • One of the top guys that Arizona needed to key in on was Dres Anderson. The Wildcats held Anderson to just 29 yards receiving on three catches. Heading into the game, the receiver was averaging 98.7 yards per game through the air.

  • The biggest surprise of the night may have come from Utah kicker Andy Phillips. Prior to the game in Tucson, Phillips had attempted and made eleven field goals this year, including four that were over 40 yards. Phillips made just one of his three attempts at Arizona, both of which were from beyond 40 yards.

  • Arizona wore all blue as the uniform choice on Saturday night. Trying to keep up with Oregon's pink uniforms, the Wildcats wore pink gloves in addition to the blue uniforms to support breast cancer awareness.

  • Wildcat Authority Top Stories