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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


3 ways to win, 3 ways to lose: Arizona vs Utah

Keenan Turner

Arizona football quarterback Anu Soloman (12) slides during Arizona’s 27-26 win against Washington on Nov. 15 at Arizona Stadium. The Solomon’s play should be a huge factor in determining Arizona’s result against Utah this weekend.

3 ways to win

by Roberto Payne

Solomon shines through cold weather

Anu Solomon may not be used to the type of cold he’ll face this weekend, but he has at least seen more cold weather than the majority of those on the roster. Solomon played his high school ball in Las Vegas and said he’s used to chilly weather.

Temps are expected to be in the low-40s to mid-30s this weekend, but Solomon could use his time in Vegas to prepare for the cold.
If he can get a good grip of the ball during pre-game warm-ups, Solomon could be in for a season-defining performance against the Utes.

Cardiac Cats come up clutch

Knowing how this Arizona football team has played all season, I would bet against this weekend’s game going down to the wire. If and when that happens, the Wildcats have a knack for coming up huge.

The lone comeback attempt that didn’t succeed was the USC game where Casey Skowron’s last-second field goal missed wide right. Regardless of the final result, it was remarkable that the Wildcats came back in that game. They had no business doing so.

With Skowron’s confidence back to form and the Wildcats knowing they need to win out in order to challenge for the South title, there will be unprecedented motivation on the Arizona sideline this weekend.

All eyes on the Utes

Overlooking opponents has been something that has plagued the Wildcats over the past decade or so. A classic example of this is last season’s overlooking of Washington State before a huge matchup with Oregon.

With just two games left in the regular season and no margin for error, Arizona cannot afford to look past Utah and focus on the ASU game next week. Doing so would likely spell doom for the Wildcats.

Under Rich Rodriguez, the team has adopted a motto of playing all 60 minutes of each game. In order to win their ninth game of the season this weekend, the Wildcats will need to adopt the motto of never overlooking an opponent.


3 ways to lose

by James Kelley

Sack attack

If last week’s game is any indication, UA quarterback Anu Solomon could be in for a long day.

Washington’s potent pass rush constantly harassed the rookie signal caller and he was 17-for-39 passing for zero touchdowns and two interceptions He’s also nursing an ankle injury.

This week, he faces a Utah defense that leads the country in sacks (47) and sacks per game (4.70) and is second in the land in tackles for loss per game (8.6).

Utah defensive end Nate Orchard is first in the country in sacks per game (1.65) and in total sacks (16.5).

The weather outside is frightful

It probably won’t be cold enough to snow, but the weather will certainly favor the Utes.

Almost all of the UA’s roster is from Arizona or California. Arizona’s two most important players in a close game are from the Sun Belt: Solomon is from Las Vegas and kicker Casey Skowron is from Phoenix.

UA head coach Rich Rodriguez admitted there is no way to simulate rain or snow. Utah, on the other hand, is so used to snow that it has ski teams, and Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Tucsonis so warm, it could host the summer Olympics during the winter.

Devontae throws the book at the UA

If it does rain — and there is supposed to be a 90-percent chance — then the battle would likely be fought on the ground where the Utes have an edge.

UU running back Devontae Booker has already rushed for 1,113 yards. He leads the Pac-12 in carries (218), is third in the conference in rushing yards per game (111.3) and is averaging 133.4 yards in Utah’s seven Pac-12 Conference games.

Meanwhile, Arizona is No. 8 in the Pac-12 in rush defense, giving up 158.8 yards per game.

UA running back Nick Wilson is fourth in the conference in rushing (96.3 yards per game), but much of that came against UNLV, UTSA and Nevada.


Follow @WildcatSports on game day for live updates during the game.

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