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

Ark
20
LSU
56
F
PSU
17
OHSt
28
F
TxAM
13
UGA
19
F
WCU
3
Ala
66
F
Oreg
28
AzSt
31
F
Utah
35
Ariz
7
F
TCU
24
Okla
28
F
Minn
38
NW
22
F
Mich
39
Ind
14
F
Tex
10
Bayl
24
F
Purd
24
Wisc
45
F
BC
7
ND
40
F
Sam
0
Aub
52
F
Temp
13
Cin
15
F
Mem
49
SoFL
10
F
Ill
10
Iowa
19
F
Boise
56
UtSt
21
F
SMU
28
Navy
35
F
OkSt
20
WVU
13
F
TxSt
13
App
35
F
Pitt
0
VaTec
28
F
E Mi
45
NIU
17
F
Ohio
66
BGSU
24
F
Akr
17
MiaOH
20
F
Toled
30
Buff
49
F
NCSt
26
GATec
28
F
ColSt
7
Wyo
17
F
Ball
38
Kent
41
F
UCF
34
Tul
31
F
ECU
31
UConn
24
F
Kans
31
IASt
41
F
Lib
27
UVA
55
F
MSU
27
Rut
0
F
BYU
56
UMass
24
F
SoAl
15
GASt
28
F
AF
44
NM
22
F
GaSo
33
ArkSt
38
F
UCLA
35
USC
52
F
ETenn
0
Vand
38
F
LaTec
14
UAB
20
F
W Ky
28
SMiss
10
F
NorTx
14
Rice
20
F
Mer
7
UNC
56
F
Neb
54
MD
7
F
UT-M
7
KY
50
F
Marsh
13
Char
24
F
SJSU
35
UNLV
38
F
Cal
24
Stan
20
F
UTEP
35
NMSt
44
F
Syr
34
Lou
56
F
OD
17
MidTN
38
F
CoCar
42
ULMon
45
F
Troy
3
ULLaf
53
F
FlAtl
40
UTSA
26
F
K St
30
TxTch
27
F
MiaFL
24
FLInt
30
F
Hou
24
Tuls
14
F
Tenn
24
Mizzu
20
F
Abil
7
MisSt
45
F
Duke
27
Wake
39
F
OreSt
53
WaSt
54
F
Wash
14
Colo
20
F
Nev
35
Fres
28
F
SDSU
11
Hawaii
14
F
Utah-Arizona Preview
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:49 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Utah has won six straight games and is very much in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff thanks to one of the nation’s top defenses that has held opponents to seven points or less on five different occasions.

It’s also becoming clear that the Utes have a dominant offense as well.

No. 7 Utah plays its next-to-last regular season game of the season Saturday when it travels to face Arizona. The Utes are a confident offensive bunch after beating UCLA 49-3 last week.

“I love what we are doing offensively,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

It’s easy to see why: Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley had an efficient performance against the Bruins, completing 14 of 18 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Huntley has completed 74% of his passes this season while throwing for 13 touchdowns and just one interception.

“His preparation is outstanding,” Whittingham said. “When we are in the locker room pre-game he is still in his book, preparing right up before kickoff, looking for that last little advantage.”

While Utah (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12, No. 7 CFP) is rolling, Arizona (4-6, 2-5) is struggling. The Wildcats have lost five straight games - all by double digits - including last week’s 34-6 loss to No. 6 Oregon.

“Our guys continue to play hard,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Our job as coaches is to continue to try to put guys in positions where they can be successful.”

The Wildcats might be close to the bottom of the Pac-12, but Whittingham is guarding against a letdown as his team’s games start to become more important.

“Every week if you are not on your game, then bad things are going to happen,” Whittingham said. “We need to have a good week of practice and we need to handle our business like we have been the last several weeks. We need to have the right attitude, the right approach and the right mentality and go down there and try to play well.”

CATCHING TAYLOR

Arizona RB J.J. Taylor leads the Wildcats with 640 yards rushing this season and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. The redshirt junior’s 4,546 career all-purpose yards are fifth for an active Football Bowl Subdivision player.

Sumlin has been irate a few times over the past couple weeks after it appeared Taylor’s facemask was grabbed but penalties weren’t called. The coach believes one reason Taylor gets hit in the face so much is he’s just 5-foot-6, making him a low-to-the-ground target.

“You’ve got guys reaching and grabbing and getting what they can from him, because there’s not a lot,” Sumlin said. “It happens at least a couple times every weekend.”

ARIZONA QB SITUATION

Arizona’s quarterback situation has been fluid this season and it remains to be seen if freshman Grant Gunnell or senior Khalil Tate will get the most playing time against the Utes.

Tate has thrown for 1,687 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Gunnell has thrown for 1,143 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. Tate is the more productive with 331 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.

PAC-12 COMPETITION

Utah has a 40-40 record against Pac-12 opponents since becoming a member of the league in 2011. The Utes are 26-17 in the league over the past five seasons and 12-4 over the past two.

Whittingham has been the program’s coach during their entire Pac-12 tenure. He said he doesn’t really think about the program’s slow rise to prominence.

"As soon as the gun goes off and the game is over, I'm already thinking about the next opponent and so I probably do myself a disservice by not enjoying the victories as much as I should,” Whittingham said. “I think that is how a lot of coaches are built.”

UPSET WATCH

Arizona has a 2-2 record against Utah when the Utes are playing as a nationally ranked team, including a 37-30 victory in double-overtime over a 10th-ranked Utah squad in 2015.

DEFENSIVE NUMBERS

Utah’s defense is allowing just 55.4 yards rushing per game, which leads the FBS. Opponents are averaging just 2.28 yards per carry. The Utes are giving up just 248.6 yards per game, which ranks third in the nation, and are allowing opponents just 11.3 points per game, which ranks fourth.

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