NCAAF Game Preview - Utah at Arizona
Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:00 PM EST

Ark
LSU
7:00PM
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OHSt
12:00PM
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UGA
3:30PM
WCU
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12:00PM
Oreg
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7:30PM
Utah
Ariz
10:00PM
TCU
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8:00PM
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NW
12:00PM
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3:30PM
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3:30PM
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4:00PM
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2:30PM
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4:00PM
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12:00PM
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7:00PM
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12:00PM
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4:00PM
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12:00PM
OreSt
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9:00PM
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12:00PM
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TxTch
7:00PM
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10:30PM
SMU
Navy
3:30PM
UCLA
USC
3:30PM
Neb
MD
3:30PM
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Lou
4:00PM
OkSt
WVU
12:00PM
Tenn
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7:30PM
Duke
Wake
7:30PM
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IASt
12:00PM
TxSt
App
2:30PM
SDSU
Hawaii
11:00PM
MSU
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12:00PM
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3:30PM
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10:00PM
E Mi
45
NIU
17
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Ohio
66
BGSU
24
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17
MiaOH
20
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30
Buff
49
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NCSt
26
GATec
28
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9:30PM
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12:00PM
ECU
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12:00PM
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12:00PM
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NM
2:00PM
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3:30PM
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3:30PM
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3:30PM
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UNC
3:30PM
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3:30PM
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Char
3:30PM
SJSU
UNLV
4:00PM
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4:00PM
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4:30PM
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5:00PM
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5:00PM
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UTSA
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FLInt
7:00PM
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7:30PM
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Fres
10:30PM
(7) Utah (9-1) at Arizona (4-6)
No. 7 Utah's offense worries Arizona
Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:09 AM

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has built his program on toughness, physical play and a strong running game.

This year's team has a little something extra.

The seventh-ranked Utes (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) are in the discussion for the College Football Playoff, mixing their traditional strengths with a downfield passing game that takes advantage of opponents' worries about senior running back Zack Moss, the school's career leading rusher.

"I love what we're doing offensively," said Whittingham, whose team plays at Arizona (4-6, 2-5) on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Utah, behind quarterback Tyler Huntley, is averaging 10.89 yards per pass attempt, the fourth-best mark in the country. The Utes also lead the conference and are 25th nationally in rushing (207.1 yards per game), while ranking third in the country in time of possession (34:36 per game).

"You've got one of the best running backs in the country," Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin told reporters of Moss, averaging a Pac-12-best 106.1 yards per game. "I think the quarterback is unbelievable, just the way he does things. He's extremely gifted, to be able to throw it and run as fast as he does."

Huntley is completing 74.2 percent of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and one interception. He threw for a season-high 335 yards on 18 attempts in last week's 49-3 win over UCLA.

Whittingham cited Huntley's "complete dedication and his complete immersion into the details of what he is doing" for the senior's improvement this season. "His preparation is outstanding," the coach said.

While Sumlin frets about how to stop Utah, his bigger concern might be how to move the ball on the Utes. The Wildcats have lost five games in a row, are coming off a 34-6 loss at Oregon and have a banged-up offensive line while going against their second consecutive top-10 opponent.

Due to injuries, Arizona used three first-time starters on the offensive line last week. The three injured linemen are all doubtful for this week, Sumlin said, adding that true freshman Jordan Morgan, who started at left tackle, might also be out after missing the second half with an injury.

At quarterback, Arizona has rotated senior Khalil Tate and true freshman Grant Gunnell in the past few games, with Gunnell starting last week. The two-QB look is likely to continue while the Wildcats lean on running back J.J. Taylor (640 yards, 5.2 per carry).

Utah, meanwhile, is No. 1 in the country in rushing defense (55.4 yards per game) and has held four of seven conference foes to seven points or fewer. John Penisini and Leki Fotu are 330-plus pound tackles in the middle of the line, while end Bradlee Anae has 10 sacks.

"He might not be the first pick of the draft, but you won't have to wait too long to hear his name called," Sumlin said of Anae, a senior. "He's extremely explosive. He's created double-teams and gotten his other guys open for the pass rush. He can defend the run and the pass."

Utah is one game up in the loss column over USC in the Pac-12 South, needing to beat Arizona and Colorado (or get one win coupled with a USC loss to UCLA on Saturday) to claim its second consecutive berth in the conference title game.

"The culture here we feel has been really good for many years and last year's team was similar to this year's," Whittingham said. "It just seems we've taken it up a notch this year."

--Field Level Media

Team Record Comparison

Utah Arizona
Standings 1stPac-12 West 5thPac-12 West
Rec 9-1 4-6
Away/Home 3-1 3-2
Streak W6 L5

Team Offense Comparison - 2019

Utah Arizona
Points Per Game 34.7 30.2
Rushing Yards per Game 207.1 187.2
Passing Yards per Game 248.3 283.0
Total Yards Per Game 455.4 470.2
Fumbles - Lost 12/9 10/6
Interceptions Thrown 1 9
Touchdowns by the Team Offense 41 39
Time Of Possession Per Game 31:19 29:53
Third Down Conversion Percentage 48.0 45.9
Sacks Against 14 31

Team Defense Comparison - 2019

Utah Arizona
Points Allowed Per Game 11.3 37.0
Rushing Yards per Game Against 55.4 164.8
Passing Yards per Game Against 193.2 315.4
Total Yards Allowed Per Game 248.6 480.2
Fumbles Recovered 7 4
Interceptions Caught 13 10
Third Down Conversion Percentage Against 31.5 46.8
Sacks 23 13