Positives and Negatives: Arizona vs. Utah

Dan Buckner

Arizona was able to defeat Utah on Saturday due to numerous factors. Read on for a closer look and the positives and negatives of Saturday's game.

It was a back-and-forth-affair in Salt Lake City on Saturday night, but the Arizona Wildcats dug deep and picked up their first road win of the 2012 campaign over Utah. The game appeared to be is Arizona's hands in the first half, but a few miscues allowed the Utes to hang close.

Thanks to the play of running back Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona's offense continues to roll through opposing defenses as if they are wet paper bags and Utah just happened to be the latest team in the way.

The running of Carey and quarterback Matt Scott - combined with some opportunistic plays by receiver Austin Hill - allowed the Wildcats to move the ball with relative ease and Utah didn't provide a strong enough response.

The game went smoothly for Arizona at times, but the Wildcats struggled mightily in other areas. There are several areas to build off of heading into Friday night's Territorial Cup, but there were some rough patches that need to be smoothed out before Arizona State comes to town.

Positives

Ka'Deem Carey: The sophomore would likely be a Heisman candidate if Arizona was a better (or more recognizable) team this season. His 204 yard outing improved his total to 1,585 for the season, which now happens to lead the nation. He got rolling early and Utah struggled bringing him down from the early moments of the game.

Carey continues to be UA's offensive catalyst and his running ability once again allowed the Wildcats to overcome a tough night in the passing department.

Matt Scott's footwork: Scott struggled throwing the ball, but given where he has been health-wise in recent weeks, his performance rushing the ball was impressive. Coming off a concussion he suffered against UCLA, Scott was still assertive as a runner. The senior rushed the ball 13 times for 74 yards and a touchdown, more than making up for his struggles in the pocket.

Austin Hill: Great receivers can make an impact even when the quarterback isn't having the most memorable game throwing the ball. Despite Scott's passing struggles, Hill still caught six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Hill's route-running continues to be strong, while his playmaking ability seems to show up on a weekly basis.

Offensive line: The unit continued to pave the way for Carey and keep defenders off of Scott's back. This week, UA's line received a huge test in defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and it performed admirably against the projected top-10 NFL Draft selection. Lotulelei picked up only three tackles – none behind the line of scrimmage – and was rendered a non-factor for much of the contest.

Run Defense: John White did run for 112 yards, but that's only a part of the story for Utah's rushing attack. White's performance displayed several nice runs, but he was stifled on more than one occasion and could never break the big run the Utes desperately needed. Utah finished the game with a 3.8 yards-per-carry average.

Shaquille Richardson: The junior cornerback has been questioned and called out all season, but he played relatively well on Saturday. He picked up plenty of tackles, but his two pass breakups and forced fumble stand out more than anything. Richardson has to continue to find ways to make a positive impact and Saturday night was certainly a step in the right direction.

Improvement needed

Pass defense: Arizona allowed over 300 yards passing to an inexperienced quarterback who was coming off his worst game in college. UA made it look a tad too easy at times, often leaving Utah's receivers wide open for big plays.

Pass rush: The Wildcats, once again, failed to pick up a sack. Arizona tried to put pressure on quarterback Travis Wilson, but it was mostly unsuccessful in the process.

Time of possession: While head coach Rich Rodriguez will always run a no-huddle, hurry-up offense that tends to produce quicker possessions, the time of possession battle needs to be a bit closer in the future. The defense allowed Utah to move the ball with somewhat consistency and it kept Arizona's offense on the sideline for longer periods of time.

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