Turnovers cost the Cats

Arizona played Utah tough all game, but in the end four turnovers, all at critical moments, were too much for the upstart Wildcats to overcome as Utah prevailed 23-6 at Arizona stadium.

Arizona did everything they needed to do to win the game, except hang onto the ball. Arizona turned the ball over four times, twice inside their own 25 and twice inside the Utah 10, and could never overcome their mistakes.

Despite losing Mike Bell for most of the first half, the Wildcat moved the ball well between the 20's but could not punch it in. Conversely, Utah capitalized on the Arizona miscues, scoring nine points off turnovers and twice forcing fumbles with the Cats knocking on the door. A scary opening for the ‘Cats led to a Utah field goal as Mike Bell fumbled on the first play of the game, and limped off the field, but would later return.

"I think he has a cut," explained Mike Stoops. "It's more of a laceration than anything else."

Following the fumble, Arizona was able to hold Utah within the ten for three straight plays. In that span Pat Howard made back to back stops which led to the Utes kicking a 19 yard field goal by Bryan Borreson.

Utah's second drive was opened up by a 30-yard pass from Alex Smith to Steve Savoy to put them to the Arizona 16. Utah was able to convert in the red zone on a pass to Savoy making the score 10-0.

Gilbert Harris entered the game for the injured Bell showing some hidden depth to this Arizona lineup with some strong carries.

"Gilbert (Harris) ran well," said Stoops. "[He] gave us a lot of chances to score."

Harris had a number of strong runs for the ‘Cats in their third drive leading to Nick Folk's first career field goal and attempt.

Utah picked apart the Arizona defense scoring their second touchdown off a 20 yard run by Marty Johnson, making the score 17-3 with 1:17 left in the first quarter.

Arizona had the ball to start out the second quarter, and started strong. The first play of the second quarter was a 20 yard pass to Mike Jefferson on third and eight for a first down inside Utah territory.

Arizona was unable to get in the endzone however when a loss of three followed by a delay of game penalty made it difficult for the ‘Cats to bounce back. Instead Folk made a 35 yard field goal, scoring all of Arizona's six points.

"We are getting better as a unit and will continue to get better," Folk said.

A strong drive by Arizona, with the help of a ten yard penalty, put Arizona on the Utah one to set up second down. After missing on second down, Arizona tried a toss to Harris on third down but he came up short. Arizona went for it on fourth down, needing the points, but Harris fumbled on the play giving Utah the ball on their own two. Utah ended the half with the score Utah 17, Arizona 6.

Arizona appeared to be close to scoring once again, but Kris Heavner threw an interception putting Utah on the Arizona 11. "To lose the turnover battle four to zero you're not going to win many games," Stoops said. Utah later converted on third down scoring a touchdown off a nine yard pass to Steve Savoy making the score 23-6 after Brian Borreson missed the extra point.

After scoring the touchdown, Utah had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This forced Utah to kick it off from the 20 yard line. However, the kick went out of bounds placing the ball at the 50 yard line.

Arizona then looked to be in control of the drive, and back in the game, getting down to the ten yard line with the opportunity to bring the score within ten points, nine if they went for two. Unfortunately, Bell fumbled the ball on the eight, giving the ball to Utah, as well as the hopes and dreams of Arizona fans.

Arizona was able to get to the Utah 20 on their next drive, however a sack made by Utah forced and Arizona field goal attempt. A bad snap took away any chance of a comeback by Arizona, and Utah took over.

"The snap was bobbled a bit, but that won't happen again," explained Folk. "We will continue to get stronger." Arizona did everything they wanted to do on the field defensively. Had it not been for the four turnovers, the outcome of this game may have been quite different. Unfortunately, they dropped a number of potential interceptions, and were unable to force a turnover during key moments.

Offensively Arizona would get very close every time down the field, but would be unable to make the big play. That is how the game went for them, always being one big play away from getting back in the game. In the end Utah prevailed, and Arizona was forced to look ahead to Wisconsin.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories