It was pretty, and it was closer than everyone would have liked, but the Utes got their 7th win of the season after a win over Arizona on the road 38-29. The Utes did what they've done the last handful of weeks by taking the ball, going down the field, and scoring on the game's opening possession. The Utes had to go to the air more today than they did a week ago against Stanford, even though the run game was solid with 174 rushing yards, 119 of which from TJ Pledger. This game was more about Cam Rising and his ability to control the game. He went 19 of 30 for 294 yards and two touchdown passes. Rising punched in the opening touchdown on the ground with an 11-yard touchdown run.
The offense on the day was solid with 468 yards, but some penalties helped derail a few drives. Rising does such a great job keeping this offense on track, and it rarely feels like there's a down and distance that is too out of reach for No. 7 and his offense. The tight ends were featured on Saturday with 12 of the 19 completions and both of the receiving touchdowns.
The Utes gave a bit too much on the defensive side, and a lot of it was by some blown assignments and some painful penalties to extend drives. The Utes had Arizona bottled up multiple times, but they'd overplay a receiver, like on a 3rd and 19, or get a roughing the passer on a 3rd down to keep Arizona on the field. Also, to the Wildcats credit, they played harder than I think many people were expecting. They only had 329 yards on the day, but some of those extended drives kept the game a lot closer than it should have been.
Next up for the Utes are the Oregon Ducks, as the top team in the Pac-12 North comes into Rice-Eccles Stadium next Saturday. The question is how many injuries will the Utes be battling going into next week, as some guys got beat up on Saturday.
Also, Kyle Whittingham tied Ike Armstrong for the most wins as a Utah football head coach, needing just one more to take the top spot. The next win could be a big one, too, as post-season implications start to mount.