Rich Rodriguez (USA Today)

Staff Predictions: Arizona vs. Utah

WildcatAuthority picks the winner of Arizona vs. Utah.

Jason Scheer: If Arizona had a running back, I would pick the Wildcats to win. For some reason, Arizona's scheme tends to work against Utah. 

The problem is that it usually revolves around a big rushing performance and Arizona doesn't have a running back that can put that together. It wouldn't surprise me if the game is close, but Utah eventually pulls away. 

Utah 38, Arizona 27

Overall: 4-1

Cody James Martin: All signs point to Khalil Tate being the starter for Arizona and he certainly seems like he is the best fit for the offense moving forward. Rich Rodriguez has said the offense is limited with Tate, but he is the caliber of player that Arizona has needed under center and it will show against Utah.

Rodriguez hasn't lost to Utah in 4 years and I don't think that changes here. It's going to be a long slugfest for these teams, but Tate and the offense will move the ball and the Wildcats' defense should be able to stymie Troy Williams. Arizona triumphs in a game that is decided late.

Arizona 31, Utah 30

Overall: 4-1

Ben White: Arizona just can’t catch a break with injuries and while it clearly has had the upper hand on Utah the past four seasons, I can’t see them winning this game with the players they’ll have out on the field.

Nick Wilson is likely out and with JJ Taylor unavailable for the rest of the season, their running back situation is a glorious mess with Tyrell Johnson and Zach Green leading the way in the backfield.

On top of that, injuries at quarterback point to Khalil Tate making his first collegiate start. While I think Tate is the most talented quarterback on the roster, he’ll likely struggle to run and make plays against a Utah defense loaded with talent. 

Will Tate continue to build off his aggressive play last week against UCLA? Will the burdened offensive line give the freshman enough time to throw the ball? How effective will Arizona’s zone read option be with frankly two players who have no business playing running back to begin with? 

There are too many uncertainties and holes to fill, which is why Utah is the clear comfortable favorite.

Utah 31, Arizona 17 

Overall: 5-0

Michael Luke: On paper this seems to be a mismatch. Utah is at home and is big and physical on defense.

Add in the fact that Arizona figures to throw out multiple sub-pac12 level running backs and it would seem to be a recipe for disaster.

Disaster could certainly ensure, but it says here that there’s something special about Khalil Tate. Arizona is the underdog for a reason, but there’s also a reason why people around the program think so highly of Arizona’s freshman signal caller.

Arizona 21, Utah 17

Overall: 3-2


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