Game 3: Arizona Wildcats (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) vs. Utah Utes (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12)
Date/Time/Location: Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. (MST) at Arizona Stadium (56,037 capacity) in Tucson, Ariz.
Television: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)
Live Stream: Pac-12.com (with subscription)
Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM and 107.5 FM in Tucson (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett, Dana Cooper)
Game Notes: Arizona, Utah
Odds: Arizona (-3.5), O/U 60 (Odds Shark)
Tickets: PrimeSport is the Official Ticket Exchange for Arizona Football tickets.
Meet the Coaches
Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez is in his second season with the Wildcats after stints at Salem (1988), Glenville State (1990-1996), West Virginia (2001-2007) and Michigan (2008-2010). Over the course of his 19 seasons as a head coach, the 50-year-old Rodriguez possesses a 131-91-2 career record. In his debut season with the Wildcats, Arizona went 8-5 including a dramatic win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. It was Rodriguez’s first debut winning season and first bowl appearance in a debut season. He also tied Jim Young for most wins in a coach’s first season at Arizona. At the three schools he coached for more than one year, Rodriguez increased his win total from the first to the second season, averaging a 3.67 win increase from year one to year two.
Utah’s Kyle Whittingham is in his ninth year with the Utes and overall as a head coach. The 53-year-old Whittingham is 75-34 in his career with Utah, which includes a 7-1 record in bowl games. In 2008, he earned three different coach of the year awards after leading the Utes to a 13-0 finish and MWC Conference Championship, including a win over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. He served as an assistant coach at BYU (1985-1986), Eastern Utah (1987), Idaho State (1988-1993) and Utah (1994-2004). He played collegiately at BYU from 1978-1981 before stints with the Denver Gold and New Orleans Breakers of the USFL, Calgary Stampeders of the CFL and the Los Angeles Rams. He was Utah’s defensive coordinator from 1995-2004 before taking over as head coach.
The Wildcats lost back-to-back road games to Washington and USC after beginning the season 3-0. They will be playing at Arizona Stadium for the first time in 34 days.
In a 38-31 loss to USC last Thursday, they dug themselves in a hole early before a comeback attempt fell just short. Quarterback B.J. Denker set career highs with 28 completions, 44 pass attempts, 363 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Ka’deem Carey added 138 yards on 21 carries, good for 6.6 yards per carry.
The Trojans torched the Wildcats for two 60-plus yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, helping them take a 28-10 lead into the locker room at halftime. USC racked up 546 yards of total offense, including 249 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The Wildcats are led on offense by Carey, who ranks fourth in the country with 142.3 rushing yards per game. Over his last eight games, he has rushed for 1,483 yards and 15 touchdowns, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in every game. As a team, Arizona ranks 14th in the country with 262.2 rushing yards per game.
After his performance last week, Denker moved up to 71st in the country in total offense, averaging 216.2 yards per game. However, the Wildcats have only thrown for 161.6 yards per game, which ranks 114th in the country.
On defense, the Wildcats rank 47th in the country in total defense, 36th in pass defense and 77th in rushing defense. They rank 22nd in scoring defense, allowing only 19.0 points per game, and tied for 19th in turnover margin, at plus-5.
Safety Tra’mayne Bondurant leads the team with three interceptions and is one of five players tied for the team lead with 1.0 sack. Linebackers Scooby Wright (34 tackles) and Marquis Flowers (33) are second and third on the team in tackles. Leading tackler Jared Tevis (36) will miss the game due to a knee injury and will be replaced at safety by William Parks, who will be making his first career start.
On special teams, the Wildcats rank 99th in net punting, 53rd in yards per punt return and 106th in yards per kick return. However, they rank fourth in the country in opponent kick return average, allowing only 16.3 yards per return.
The Utes are coming off the biggest win in the conference – and maybe the country – this season after upsetting No. 5 Stanford at home last weekend.
Quarterback Travis Wilson accounted for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, while running back Bubba Poole eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career.
Utah was able to secure the victory after stopping the Cardinal on 4th-and-goal with less than a minute left.
On offense, the Utes are led by Wilson, who has thrown for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns in six games. He has thrown for 13 interceptions, but six of those came in a loss to UCLA on Oct. 3.
Poole has accounted for 126.0 all-purpose yards per game, which ranks 38th in the country. As a team, Utah ranks 31st in the country in total offense, and 29th in scoring offense.
Utah is led on defense by defensive lineman Trevor Reilly, who has 44 tackles (5.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks, two passes broken up, two fumbles recovered and one fumble forced through six games. Defensive lineman Nate Orchard leads the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Defensive backs Keith McGill and Michael Walker have one interception each.
As a team, the Utes rank 31st in the country in rushing defense, but rank 104th in the country in pass defense and 72nd in total defense. They rank 57th in scoring defense, allowing 25.3 points per game.
Kicker Andy Phillips is one of the best in the country, as he’s yet to miss a field goal (11 attempts) or a PAT (27 attempts) this season. His longest field goal of the season is 48 yards, which came last week against Stanford.
Arizona Injury Report
Questionable: Cornerback Derrick Rainey (lower back)
Out: Offensive lineman Beau Boyster (knee, season-ending), wide receiver Austin Hill (knee), linebacker Cody Ippolito (knee, season-ending), safety Jared Tevis (knee)
Utah Injury Report
Arizona vs. Utah Series History
The Utes lead the all-time series 20-16-2. The teams first played in 1924 with Utah winning 32-7. The Wildcats won last year’s meeting 34-24 in Salt Lake City. Arizona running back Ka’deem Carey ran for 204 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Wildcats have won nine of the last 15 meetings, but the two teams have split the last six.
Topics: 2013 Football Game Previews, Andy Phillips, Arizona Wildcats, Austin Hill, B.J. Denker, Beau Boyster, Cody Ippolito, Derrick Rainey, Follow, Index, Jared Tevis, Jim Young, Ka'deem Carey, Keith McGill, Kyle Whittingham, Marquis Flowers, Michael Walker, Nate Orchard, Rich Rodriguez, Scooby Wright, Tra'mayne Bondurant, Trevor Reilly, Utah Utes, William Parks