TUCSON, AZ – After getting off to a hot start, No. 19 Arizona Football (8-3, 6-2) cruised to the 42-18 victory over No. 16 Utah (7-4, 4-4).
What a way to end it in your final home game of the season! On senior day in the desert and facing a solid Utah program, No. 19 Arizona Football brought the effort and energy as they took on the visiting Utes.
And from the kick, Arizona was up for the challenge!
Despite being out-gained by Utah 453-443 yards, both the offense and the defense was super crisp for the Cats.
Once again, Noah Fifita was masterful, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns to zero interceptions as he completed 22-30 passes.
Jayden de Laura and Tetairoa McMillan got a bit of action at quarterback as well, combining for 72 yards passing on 3-3 passing, accounting for a touchdown each.
On the ground, Arizona was nearly as efficient, running for 118 yards (24 carries) and a touchdown. Jonah Coleman led the way with 90 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The defense was stout! Despite giving up 453 yards of offense, Arizona held Utah to just 18 points and forced two interceptions all while holding Utah to 11-21 on third downs.
However, it was the offense that was the difference-maker in this one. Jumping out to a quick start, Arizona got to work quickly, opening the game on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a little trickery as TMac connected with Michael Wiley on a wide receiver pass from 21 yards out to make it 7-0.
On the ensuing series, Arizona would block Utah’s punt, returning it for a touchdown to make it 14-0, Cats!
Not done, the Wildcats would add another score in the first quarter as Arizona would drive 80 yards in six plays on their next possession to make it 21-0 after Fifita connected with Montana Lemonious-Craig as he scampered in from 32 yards out.
Continuing to hold Utah, Arizona’s defense stood tall once more, giving the ball back to the offense and setting up Fifita and Co. to drive 72 yards in six plays that ended in another Wiley touchdown as Noah connected from 31 yards out to make it 28-0, Arizona!
Dominating, Utah would finally answer just before the half, driving 92 yards on 10 plays as they found the end zone when Bryson Barnes found Devaughn Vele to cut it to 28-7 just before the half.
Leading comfortably, No. 19 Arizona Football would continue to dominate before cruising to the 24-point win!
Giving Utah the ball to start the second half, the Utes would find a bit of offensive rhythm again, this time driving 57 yards on 12 plays as they would eventually settle for a 36-yard field goal to make it 28-10.
And luckily, that would be the most offensive success the Utes would see until late in the fourth quarter.
Still leading 28-10, Arizona would add to its lead midway through the fourth quarter when Jonah Coleman found the end zone on a one-yard rush after the Cats drove 61 yards on seven plays to make it 35-10.
Continuing to fight, Utah would score again in the waning moments of the game as Barnes connected with Munir McClain to make it 35-16 before Barnes converted on the two-point conversion to cut it to 35-18.
After a failed onside kick, Arizona had the ball once more where Jayden de Laura would then connect with TMac on what may be his final pass as a Wildcat.
A missed tackle by Utah allowed for TMac to run into the end zone, making it a 51-yard touchdown reception and putting the exclamation point on the 42-18 drubbing over the visiting Utes!
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 8-3 (6-2) on the year and now turn its focus to its annual matchup against those guys up north!