No. 17 Utah Takes Down Arizona 23-6
Sept. 11, 2004
By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Alex Smith passed for two scores, and No. 17 Utah heldArizona without a touchdown in a 23-6 victory Saturday night.
The Utes (2-0), seeking to defend their highest poll position since theyfinished the 1993 season ranked eighth, flashed their offensive strength early,then held on with a defensive effort that included three fumble recoveries, agoal-line stand and an interception that set up a TD.
Utah coach Urban Meyer improved to 3-0 against Pac-10 teams, a string thatincludes wins over California and Oregon last year in his first season with theUtes.
Smith, who had a career-high 359 yards in last week's 41-21 win over TexasA&M, had only 170 this time but connected with Steve Savoy on TD passes of 5and 9 yards.
Marty Johnson, who ran for 105 yards on 18 attempts, scored from 20 yardsout to help the Utes snap a seven-game losing streak in Tucson that dated tothe 1969 season.
Nick Folk had 33- and 35-yard field goals for the Wildcats - their first3-pointers since Sept. 27, 2003, in a 13-10 loss to TCU. But that was it beforea crowd of 52,790, the largest to see a game in Arizona Stadium since the 2000season finale.
New coach Mike Stoops' squad, which took a 7-3 lead into the fourth quarteragainst I-AA Northern Arizona last week before adding two late TDs, fell to1-17 against ranked teams in the last four years.
Folk, whose third field-goal attempt went awry in the fourth because of abad snap, cut Arizona's deficit 11 at 17-6 with 10:23 left in the secondquarter, and Utah made that stand up at halftime by stopping the Wildcats fourtimes near the end of the half.
The last three Arizona plays began at the 1-yard line.
On fourth down, safety Casey Evans hit Gilbert Harris in the backfield andhe fumbled. Linebacker Tommy Hackenbruck recovered for a 1-yard loss with 49seconds left in the second quarter, killing a 14-play, 80-yard drive theWildcats couldn't quite finish.
Hackenbruck forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage in the game - acarry by Mike Bell - and safety Morgan Scalley recovered. Following a shortdrive, Bryan Borreson kicked a 21-yard field goal only 2:53 in.
The next time the Utes got the ball, they made it 10-0 on Savoy's 5-yardscoring grab - set up by his 30-yard reception over the middle - with 6:21 leftin the first quarter.
After Folk's first field goal, Smith, who was 6-for-8 in the first quarter,moved the team to its second TD with a 38-yard pass to Paris Warren.
The Utes scored from the Arizona 38 on two running plays - a 14-yard carryby Quinton Ganther and Johnson's 20-yard burst off tackle, with a juke left tofreeze the last defender before he ran in untouched.
Utah only had to move 11 yards for its clinching TD in the third afteranother big defensive play.
Ryan Smith broke through a pass by Arizona's Kris Heavner to Ricky Williams,and the ball ricocheted to lineman Sione Pouha, who cradled it while lying onthe ground for an interception.
Three plays later, Savoy made it 23-6 with 1:07 left in the quarter.