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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bowl Busted

Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA football team faced the Utah Utes Friday Nov. 5 at Arizona Stadium. The Utes upset the Wildcats in a 34-21 victory.

Arizona had two punts blocked, dropped three passes, had three false-start penalties, botched a fake field goal attempt and threw an interception deep in its own territory, and that was just the first half of a 34-21 loss to Utah at Arizona Stadium on Saturday.

The Wildcats’ loss eliminated them from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2007.

“It’s a tough situation for these guys to be in,” interim head coach Tim Kish said. “We’ve eliminated ourselves from postseason eligibility, but we’ll pick ourselves up and find a way to be positive.”

But even though Arizona lost its second straight game while turning the ball over at ill-advised times, Kish said that all he wants to see is the team fighting for the entire game.

“From my vantage point on the sideline, that was a team that played hard for 60 minutes,” Kish said. “There was no quit in them. They fought to the very last second of the game and they have no reason to hang their head.”

Arizona (2-7, 1-6 Pac-12) missed an opportunity to get points on its first drive of the game after driving to the Utah 15-yard line. A false start pushed the Wildcats back to the 20-yard line, where they unsuccessfully tried a fake field goal.

Kish said Utah (5-4, 2-4) is a team that rushes field goals hard from off the edge, and that’s why the play called for holder Kyle Dugandzic to pitch the ball to kicker John Bonano, who was tackled for a loss of five.

“We knew that if they (came off the edge), that thing would be wide open,” Kish said. “But unfortunately, in that particular case for whatever reason — I don’t know if they sniffed something or what — but they played coverage on our wings.”

On its next possession, Arizona had the first of two punts blocked, setting up the Utes for a 33-yard field goal.

Utah took a 10-0 lead on a 65-yard touchdown pass that took advantage of corner Jourdon Grandon — who was replacing injured starter Shaq Richardson — being overly aggressive on a play-action pass, then used a scoring drive started by a Nick Foles interception at the Arizona 30 to increase the lead to 17.

Later in the game, Lyle Brown, who subbed in for Grandon, was burned on a 44-yard touchdown strike by a Utah offense that was looking to take advantage of one-on-one coverage on the outside as Arizona focused on taking away the run.

“You cannot make critical mistakes like we made tonight against a good football team and expect to have a good outcome,” Kish said.
Senior wide receiver David Douglas hauled in 10 passes for two touchdowns and a career-high 156 yards, but the Arizona offense struggled to find a rhythm for much of the night while playing the first half without freshman running back Ka’Deem Carey, who was suspended for a violation of team policy.

Though they outgained Utah 457-332, the Wildcats were forced to punt five times and turned the ball over three times, partly due to a schematic change that Utah made before the game — playing more zone coverage.

“They’re usually a team that plays a lot of man,” Douglas said. “They were just mixing up their looks. They’re a tough defense and they play hard.”

Although Arizona got down early, it had a chance to get the game to within six points after it drove to the Utah 2-yard line with a little over 7:30 to play in the game.

But Foles threw his second interception of the game, which was returned to the Arizona 43-yard line. Seven plays later — all runs — Utah running back John White IV scored from 11 yards out, putting the Utes up 34-14.

Foles was looking for Gino Crump who was in one-on-one coverage, but threw the ball just a few feet too far inside.

“I just made a bad throw,” Foles said. “It just wasn’t a good ball.”

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