Utah football vs. Arizona: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score
Utes battle Wildcats
TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 8 Utah is riding a six-game win streak as it chases a second-straight Pac-12 Championship Game berth while keeping its long shot College Football Playoff hopes alive. But the Utes must first take care of business in their final two regular-season games, beginning with Saturday night’s visit to Arizona.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Utah -22.5
Utah, which remains at No. 7 in the CFP rankings for the second straight week, is a half-game ahead of USC atop the Pac-12 South Division, but likely will need to win out as the Trojans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of their 30-23 win Sept. 20 in Los Angeles. The Utes would still then need to beat No. 6 (coaches’ poll, CFP) Oregon in the Dec. 6 Pac-12 title game in Santa Clara, Calif., to have any shot at finishing among the CFP’s top four. “(The CFP noise) certainly gets louder and there is more of it, but you still have to take the same approach and the same M.O. of just not listening to it,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday in his weekly news conference. “We have to keep our focus on the immediate task at hand, and our guys, to this point, have done a great job of that. Here we are with the last two games of the regular season, and hopefully we don’t deviate from that now.” Arizona, meanwhile, is a program headed in the opposite direction, losing five straight after a 4-1 start and appears headed for a second straight losing year in as many seasons under head coach Kevin Sumlin.
ABOUT UTAH (9-12, 6-1 Pac-12)
The Utes entered last Saturday’s home date with UCLA only a game ahead of the surging Bruins in the South standings but completely dominated the visitors on both sides of the ball in a 49-3 rout – Utah’s largest margin of victory in nine seasons of Pac-12 play. Zack Moss ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns while the Utes’ defense, led by a front four loaded with NFL prospects, limited UCLA to 50 rushing yards on 37 attempts, further fortifying the Utes’ Pac-12-leading rushing differential of 151.7 yards per outing. Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 14-of-18 passes for 335 yards and two TDs and leads the conference in passing efficiency (190.07 rating) with 11.5 yards per attempt, 13 TDs and only one interception.
ABOUT ARIZONA (4-6, 2-5)
The Wildcats’ woes have led to weekly uncertainty at quarterback, as freshman Grant Gunnell started last Saturday in place of senior Khalil Tate for the second time this season, but each wound up playing inefficiently with double-digit pass attempts in a 34-6 road loss at Oregon. Running back J.J. Taylor was one of the few Arizona bright spots in the contest, accounting for 129 of the team’s 240 total yards, and he ranks ninth in the conference in that category, averaging an even 100 per game. And while the Arizona offense ranks second in the Pac-12 with an average of 470.2 total yards per outing, the defense is the conference’s worst, surrendering 37 points and 480.2 yards.
1. Utah and Arizona have split their Pac-12 series 4-4 since the Utes joined the conference in 2011, but Utah has won the last three meetings, including a 42-10 romp last season in Salt Lake City.
2. The Utes own the Pac-12’s second-best turnover differential at plus-10 while the Wildcats are third worst at minus-1.
3. Arizona hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons since consecutive 3-8 finishes under coach Mike Stoops in 2004-05.
PREDICTION: Utah 38, Arizona 17
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