It was difficult at times, but Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey would not be denied.
Carey ran for 236 yards and one touchdown to lead Arizona to a 35-24 win over Utah at Arizona Stadium.
Utah started on its own 31-yard line with a 14-yard run by Bubba Poole followed by a three-yard gain on the ground by Travis Wilson. After a sack by Reggie Gilbert, Wilson found Dres Anderson for seven yards and then Kelvin York gained seven on the ground for the first down. The Wildcats then stood their ground for the next three downs to force a punt and take over on their own 20.
Ka’Deem Carey took the first play 30 yards on the ground and then added nine more on the next play. After a three-yard gain by Carey and an incomplete pass, B.J. Denker hit Samajie Grant for five yards and picked up the first down with a six-yard completion to Nate Phillips.
Denker proceeded to keep it twice in a row for a 16-yard run and then a 10-yard touchdown with the extra point putting Arizona in front 7-0 with 9:17 left in the first quarter.
Starting on its own 29, Utah got a four-yard carry by Poole followed by one for five yards. Tra’Mayne Bondurant left two plays later with an injury and the Utes took advantage, getting a 17 and 37-yard carry by Lucky Radley. Three plays later, Wilson hit Anthony Denham for the two-yard touchdown pass with the extra point tying the game at seven with 6:01 left in the first quarter.
Arizona started on its own 25 with a two, seven, and four-yard run by Carey. Grant then caught a four-yard pass before Denker gained four on the ground and Jenkins picked up three for the first down. Carey proceeded to run for six yards and two plays later, a Denker four-yard run got the first down.
Two plays after a seven-yard run by Jenkins, he caught an eight-yard completion for the first down. Denker then completed a 14-yard pass to Phillips and Arizona closed in on scoring. Denker ran for nine yards on third down and Arizona found itself in a fourth and short situation on the Utah three. The Wildcats went for it, but Denker was sacked and they turned the ball over on downs to basically end the first quarter with the score tied at seven.
The Utes took possession on their own nine and after two short plays. Wilson threw a pick six to Marquis Flowers as the 14-yard interception return and extra point gave the Wildcats the 14-7 lead with 14:11 left in the second quarter.
Arizona forced a three and out and took over on its own 34. Carey gained the first down with three consecutive carries for a total of 13 yards. However, the drive stalled and the Wildcats were forced to punt, giving the Utes the ball on their own 12.
Shaquille Richardson got an interception on the first play from scrimmage to give the Wildcats the ball on their 28. Carey started the drive with a three-yard run and Johnny Jackson got an eight-yard pass. Two plays later, David Richards gained five in the air before Jackson had a 21-yard completion.
Denker gained eight yards on the ground and Carey followed with a six, two, and eight-yard run before Richards gained nine in the air. After a two-yard run by Carey, Denker scored from a yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Jake Smith’s extra point was blocked, but Arizona took a 20-7 lead with 5:48 left in the first half.
The Utes tried to get some momentum going on their 25 with a six, five, and four-yard run by York. Wilson then gained 11 more on the ground before a false start and incomplete pass. Sean Fitzgerald caught his first pass of the night for six yards and Wilson kept it for four before the Utes punted, giving the Wildcats possession on their own seven.
Arizona went three and out with 1:40 and gave the Utes the ball on the UA 45. Adam Shulz replaced Wilson due to a hand injury and completed a 13-yard pass to Geoff Norwood. He then found Poole for four yard and rushed for four yards on the next play. Arizona held on third and two and the 42-yard field goal was no good, as the Wildcats took a 20-7 lead into the half.
The Wildcats went three and out to start the half, giving the Utes the ball on their own 39-yard line. Arizona proceeded to force a three and out of its own, but Jackson muffed the punt and gave Utah the ball on the UA 17.
Two plays into the ensuing drive, Anderson caught a 13-yard pass and York proceeded to run it in from a yard out, as the extra point cut Arizona’s lead to 20-14 with 10:39 left in the third quarter.
Arizona tried to match Utah’s momentum with a 22-yard pass to Terrence Miller from its own 25. The Wildcats get to third and two, but can’t pick it up on two downs and turn it over. On the first play from scrimmage, Schulz finds Fitzgerald for the 55-yard touchdown pass with the extra point giving the Utes the 21-20 lead with 9:08 left in the third quarter.
Arizona went three and out in response and gave the Utes the ball on their own 35. York gained 12 yards on the first play from scrimmage, but Arizona forced a third and one and made the stop, getting the ball on its own five after the punt.
After two carries for a combined five yards by Carey, Richards got the first down with a nine-yard completion. Carey then followed with an 18-yard run and Denker gained eight more on the ground. The Utes proceeded to force third down and ten, but Arizona kept the drive alive with a pass interference call.
The drive then fell apart and Arizona turned it over on down, giving Utah the ball on its own 35. After a one-yard gain by Poole and sack by Justin Washington, Sir Thomas Jackson got another sack and got the Wildcats the ball back.
Starting on the 36, Grant caught an 11-yard pass and Carey followed with six on the ground. Two plays after that, Denker connected with Phillips for 36 yards. After two short runs by Carey, Denker found Phillips for the seven-yard score. He then ran for the two-point conversion to put the Wildcats up 28-21 with 13:32 left in regulation.
The Wildcats forced a three and out on the next possession and took the ball on its own 33-yard line. However, Utah matched it and Arizona then went three and out as well due to an offensive pass interference call on Richards that would have otherwise gone for a big gain.
Utah started on its own 43 with a four-yard run by Poole and five-yard pass to Karl Williams. On third down, Schulz kept it and ran for 11 yards and Williams followed with five more. After an incomplete pass, Fitzgerald caught an eight-yard pass for the first down.
Once again, the Wildcats forced a third down, but stood their ground this time, as the 44-yard field goal on fourth down brought the Utes within 28-24 with 7:11 left in regulation.
Starting on the 17, Carey ran for 18 yards. Unfortunately, he fumbled on first down and gave the Utes the ball on the Arizona 39 with 6:26 left.
On second down, Poole caught a ten-yard pass to get to Arizona’s 29. York ran for three yards on first down and then picked up three more. Arizona eventually forced a 40-yard field goal attempt and it missed, keeping Arizona’s lead at four with 3:49 left.
On first down, Utah was called for a facemask and Carey followed it with a five-yard run. He then gained eight on the ground and four more on first down. On third and five, Carey took the ball and went untouched for the 44-yard touchdown as the extra point gave Arizona the 35-24 lead and sealed the win.