Arizona built an early 14-3 lead, but a safety changed the momentum of the game and the Wildcats could never recover as Utah defeated the Wildcats 36-23 Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
Arizona did not wait long to score. On the first play from scrimmage, Brandon Dawkins hit Shun Brown for the touchdown and the extra point put the Wildcats up 7-0.
Utah took the ball on its own 25 and started with an incomplete pass. Armand Shyne gained a yard on the ground before Troy Williams found Raelon Singleton for 16 yards.
On first down, the Utes had another incomplete pass. Evan Moeai then gained four yards and Arizona got the stop on third down to force a punt.
Arizona got the ball back on its own 14 and Dawkins picked up 14 on the ground. Tyrell Johnson picked up a yard and Dawkins added five.
The offense couldn’t convert on third down and was forced to punt, giving Utah the ball on its own 28.
After an incomplete pass, Shyne ran for four yards. Demari Simpkins caught an eight-yard pass and Singleton added one for 17 yards.
Utah had two false starts before Moeai caught an 18-yard pass. Harris Handley then added 17 more in the air.
Williams ran for eight yards and Shyne picked up two. Arizona then got a sack and two incomplete passes led to a 28-yard field goal that cut Arizona’s lead to 7-3 with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
Both teams proceeded to go three and out and Arizona took over on its own 25. Trevor Wood caught an eight-yard pass and two plays later, caught one for four yards to give Arizona the first down and end the first quarter with the Wildcats up 7-3.
Arizona looked to have something going with a six-yard run by Zach Green and a 42-yard pass to Trey Griffey.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Dawkins threw an interception on the next play and Utah got the ball on its own nine.
After a false start, Shyne ran for five yards and Smith caught a seven-yard pass. Arizona then forced an incomplete pass and the Utes punted.
Starting on its own 28, Arizona got a three-yard run from Johnson. Dawkins ran for four yards and added five.
After a one-yard run from Johnson, Dawkins added more. He then found Cedric Peterson for 31 yards.
Dawkins picked up four and Green added ten. Utah was called offside and Dawkins then lost three yards on first down.
On the next play, Dawkins faked a reverse and kept the ball, scoring from six yards out. The extra point then put the Wildcats up 14-3 with 7:54 left in the first half.
Utah started on its own 31 with another false start. Shyne gained two on the ground and after an incomplete pass, Moeai picked up 59 yards.
The Utes had another false start and Shyne did not pick up any yards on the next play. After an incomplete pass, Utah got three more penalties and eventually punted to Arizona’s one.
It only took two plays, but Utah picked up a safety when Arizona put in Khalil Tate and he received no blocking.
The safety cut Arizona’s lead to 14-5 with under five minutes remaining in the first half.
On first down from Arizona’s 47, Utah got a two-yard run by Cory Butler-Byrd. The Wildcats were then called for pass interference.
Shyne gained eight and two plays later, added two more. On third down, Shyne gained nine yards on the ground.
Arizona was called for pass interference and Williams hit Smith for a three-yard touchdown on the next play.
The extra point cut Arizona’s lead to 14-12 going into halftime.
Utah started the half on its own 32 with a three-yard loss by Shyne. After an incomplete pass, Butler-Byrd caught a 69-yard pass on third down.
Williams scored on the ground from two yards out and Utah took a 19-14 lead with 13:12 left in the third quarter.
Arizona tried to get something going from its own 14, but got a false start on first down. After an incomplete pass, Arizona was called for a delay of game.
Dawkins then ran for six yards and after an incomplete pass, the Wildcats ousted and Utah took over on its own 39.
The Wildcats’ defense forced a three and out on the ensuing drive, but punt forced them to take possession on their own one.
After two incomplete passes, Dawkins found Griffey for 40 yards. Green lost one on his next carry and Nate Phillips picked up nine.
Utah was called for pass interference and two plays later, Arizona was called for holding. After an incomplete pass, Dawkins threw an interception.
The Utes got the ball on their own 25 and started the drive with a false start. Shyne then picked up three yards and added 14 more.
Handley caught a 16-yard pass before the Wildcats were called for pass interference. Williams then kept for six and Shyne scored from 26 yards out.
The extra point gave the Utes a 26-14 lead with 5:35 left in the third quarter.
Arizona put Khalil Tate in and got a nine-yard run from Green. On the next play, Tate extended it, but made a poor decision and threw an interception.
Utah got the ball on the Arizona 46 and started with a five-yard run from Shyne. Williams then picked up 19 on the ground.
The Wildcats’ defense held and the 35-yard field goal put the Utes up 29-14 with 2:16 left in the third.
From its own 25, Griffey gained 11 yards. Johnson then ran for five before Tate had gains of six, five, and two to end the third quarter.
Arizona chose to punt the start the fourth quarter, giving Utah the ball on its own 23. The Utes proceeded to go three and out and the Wildcats got the ball right back.
On the first play from the 18, Griffey caught a 16-yard pass. Tate then ran for gains of three and nine.
Utah was called for a personal foul before Tate picked up 11. Green proceeded to run for three yards before Tate added four.
Grant caught a seven-yard pass, but Arizona couldn’t get anything else going. The Wildcats settled for a 37-yard field goal as Utah led 29-17 with 9:04 left.
The Utes started their drive on the 33 with a 17-yard run by Butler-Byrd. Shyne then picked up 14.
Williams ran for 13 yards and Jordan Howard gained five. Williams picked up 16 more and two plays later, scored on a one-yard run.
The extra point put the Utes up 36-17 with 5:10 remaining.
Starting on its 25, Arizona tried to mount a comeback with an eight-yard pass to Grant. Green ran for four yards and on the next play, Tate hit Grant for a 63-yard touchdown.
The extra point cut Utah’s lead to 36-23 with 4:15 left in regulation.
Arizona attempted an onside kick, but Utah recruited and that was all the Utes would need.