#14 Utah Football Rushes Past Arizona, 45-20
SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 14 University of Utah Football team recorded a season-high 306 rushing yards on its way to a 45-20 victory over Arizona on Saturday night, winning in front of its 75th straight sellout crowd in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in Pac-12 play.
Arizona entered the game averaging 474.9 yards of offense per game with the Utes holding them to 387, including holding them to just 231 passing yards after they were averaging 340.1 heading into the game.
Utah finished the game with 457 yards of total offense that included 306 rushing yards and 151 passing yards while recording 28 first downs in the game. Utah's defense also walked away with four takeaways in fumble recoveries, the most by the Utes since 2011.
Utah's 306 rushing yards and five rushing scores was powered by nine different players carrying the ball, led by Ja'Quinden Jackson, who finished with a career-high 13 carries, 97 yards (7.5 ypc) and a touchdown. Jaylon Glover added eight rushes for 69 yards (8.6 ypc) with freshman Nate Johnson and sophomore Charlie Vincent scoring their first touchdowns as Utes.
Quarterback Cameron Rising was 13-of-25 for 151 yards and a touchdown with his favorite target in the game being Devaughn Vele. Vele recorded five catches for 57 yards with Thomas Yassmin adding two receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown.
On defense in his first start at Utah, safety Clayton Isbell racked up a team-high seven stops with JaTravis Broughton contributing six (1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack) and a pass breakup. Utah's secondary was solid with Zemaiah Vaughn also recording three tackles and a career-high three pass breakups.
FIRST QUARTER BREAKDOWN
After forcing the Wildcats to punt on its second possession of the quarter, Utah made quick work of its first scoring drive with 8:53 on the clock, finding the end zone on a 37-yard drive. Rising and Vele would connect for a first down to the Arizona 16-yard line, followed by back-to-back rushing plays with Jaylen Dixon punching in his third rushing score of the season on a seven-yarder for the 7-0 lead.
Arizona would answer though, scoring on a three-yard rushing touchdown on its next drive. The Wildcats only burned 1:40 off the clock with four plays and 70 yards, tying the score with 7:07 to go in the first quarter.
The Utes would regain the lead with under two minutes to play in the quarter with Johnson finding the end zone for the first time in his collegiate career. It was part of a 75-yard drive that included a key 14-yard passing play between Rising and Vele on a third down, finishing with Johnson rushing in for an eight-yard score with 1:35 on the clock to make it 14-7.
SECOND QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah extended its lead to 21-7 with 11:21 to go in the second quarter, ending the 60-yard drive with its second rushing touchdown of the game. The Utes started with solid filed position after Jonah Elliss and Karene Reid teamed up to sack the Wildcats on a fourth-and-20 on the Utah 40-yard line, giving Utah the ball that eventually ended up in Jackson's hands for a two-yard rushing touchdown.
The Utes were forced to punt with less than five minutes to play in the quarter, but Arizona would muff the return with Vaughn recovering the ball on the Arizona nine-yard line. Johnson would come into the game at quarterback, running in his second touchdown of the game on a nine-yard quarterback keeper to put the Utes up 28-7.
Utah would wrap up the first half by holding Arizona to a field goal with 44 seconds on the clock with the Wildcats knocking in a 30-yarder to make it 28-10. It ended a 62-yard drive that lasted for eight plays, taking 2:39 off the block.
THIRD QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah forced a quick three-and-out on the Wildcats with less than 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, taking over possession on the Arizona 50-yard line with 9:20 on the clock. Tavion Thomas would come up big for the Utes, extending the drive by converting on a fourth-and-one with a one-yard rush, eventually leading to Jadon Redding scoring a 27-yard field goal to give Utah a 31-10 lead with 4:31 remaining.
The Utes held Arizona to just 53 yards of total offense in the third quarter, limiting them to 13 yards on the ground and 40 yards passing.
FOURTH QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah extended its lead to 38-10 with 10:16 on the clock in the fourth quarter, ending a 10-play, 69-yard drive. Thomas was once again key in extending the drive with his carries, converting on a third-and-two and then again on a second-and-10, allowing Rising to find Yassmin open over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown.
The Utes then forced their second fumble of the game on Arizona's next drive with Elliss getting the force and R.J. Hubert earning the recovery on the Arizona 43-yard line. The Utes drove to the Arizona two-yard line a few plays later with Vincent running in his first touchdown as a Ute, running in a two-yard score to give Utah a 45-10 lead.
Arizona would squeeze nine points in before the clock expired in the fourth quarter with a safety on a muffed punt and a last minute two-yard passing touchdown, but the Utes had the game in hand, walking away with the 45-20 victory at home.
The Utes will take on the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Rice-Eccles Stadium for their final home game of the year. The game time will be announced on Sunday morning.