Take care of business. That’s the name of the game for the Utes right now, and that’s exactly what they did on Saturday night in Tucson, as they rolled over Arizona 35-7, and frankly, the Utes left a lot of points on the field. Utah inches closer to clinches the Pac-12 South, and meeting Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and let’s not talk about the Ducks right now.
As it has been most of the season, it was just another dominating performance for the Utes, on both sides of the ball. After stopping Arizona on the opening drive of the game, the Utes took the ball and went right down field on the Wildcats in 11 plays and 75 yards to get on the board to take the 7-0 lead. The game plan was pretty simple tonight for Utah, give Moss the ball and shove it down Arizona’s throat until they stop it. They couldn’t stop it. On the night, Moss had 203 yards on 26 carries, while the team rushed for 297 yards, a season high. Utah scored the opening drive with a Brant Kuithe fly sweep, just to show there’s another way to use the versatile and talented tight end.
Utah held ‘Zona to another punt, and again, 10 plays and 72 yards on offense to take the 14-0 lead. A lot more Zack Moss on this drive, but they mixed in Jaylen Dixon into this drive, with a big pass to Kuithe of 22 yards, Samson Nacua for 11, and it was topped off with a slip screen to Demari Simpkins on the outside for a 3 yard touchdown pass.
Utah had two more scoring chances in the first half, but were stuffed on 4th and short twice, once on the 1 yard line, or else the score could have been much worse. It was very disappointing to see that miss on the 1 yard line, but that gives the coaches something to fix after the win.
Coming out of the locker room, the Utes had the ball, and they were locked back in.Utah went 75 yards in 6 plays, and Zack Moss pretty much put the game away on a 41 yard touchdown run.
Arizona lost the ball on downs their next possession, and then Utah would have had a quick strike with a Dixon fly sweep that would have been a 57 yarder, but Nacua got called for what looked like a phantom holding call. No matter, the Utes went down and scored on another Kuithe rushing touchdown.
That drive, and the night in general, the Utes were penalized way too many times, and yes, some of them were really bad calls. On the night Utah was penalized 11 times for 110 yards.
Huntley did throw his second pick of the year on the very next play in the end zone, but it was a bad route by Simpkins, that Coach Whittingham confirmed in his post game press conference. No matter, after a great return by Simpkins on the following Arizona punt to setup the Utes at the 18 yard line. Four plays later, TJ Green went in for a 1 yard touchdown run, putting the game at 35-0 at that point.
It was all twos and threes from that point on for the Utes, and a dominate defensive performance was almost a shut out, until the backups allowed a late touchdown to Arizona. This defensive performance was insane. Utah held Arizona to 196 total yards, while picking up 517 of their own. Arizona, a team that is known for a rush attack, was held to just 61 yards on the ground. Utah held Arizona to 2 of 12 on third down. Arizona was never a threat to put pressure on Utah, on either side of the ball. Huntley did finish the night with 211 yards on 19 of 23 passing, and his one touchdown. The one loss Utah did have tonight is that it looks like Bryan Thompson will be out for a while with a leg injury. That hurts, but a loss that Utah can absorb, but I wouldn’t expect him back this season, just by the looks of it.
Utah is now 10-1 on the season, their first 10 win regular season since joining the Pac-12, and moves to 7-1 in league play. The Utes now move on to play Colorado next week at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the regular season finale. And that looks like it could be a cooooolllld game. CU is coming off a big win over Washington, and are 1 win away from bowl eligibility. It’s all on the line for the Utes next week, and they just need to keep taking care of business and stay locked in.