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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football loses by 25 points to Utah

Nathanial Stenchever

The Arizona football team runs onto the field before a game against North Dakota State University on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats would go on to win the game 31-28 and advance their record to 2-1. 

The Arizona football team took on the then No.14 ranked University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday night and lost 45-20.

On a cold, rainy night in Salt Lake City, the Wildcats would fumble the ball seven times as a team and turn it over four of those times. On the second snap of the night for the Arizona offense, a fumbled snap would lead to an incomplete pass by sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura. Following a 38-yard pass to junior running back Michael Wiley on the next play, De Laura would fumble and turn over the football on a run up the middle.

After consecutive punts by the Utes and the Wildcats, Utah was able to score first on a seven-yard touchdown rush by senior wide receiver Jaylen Dixon.

Arizona would begin the next drive with a 17-yard pass to redshirt-junior tight end Tanner McLachlan. On the next play, Wiley ran 57 yards to the left sideline and was initially ruled to score a touchdown as he knocked over the pylon in the corner of the endzone.

The ball was spotted at the Utah 1-yard line, and after another Wiley rush, De Laura would finally run it in himself for the touchdown and tie the game 7-7 halfway through the first quarter.

On Utah’s next possession, quarterback Cameron Rising marched the offense down the field to the Arizona 8-yard line before freshman quarterback Nate Johnson entered the game and ran the touchdown in to make it 14-7.

Following a gain of 28 yards on the ground by freshman running back Rayshon Luke and 14 more from junior running back D.J. Williams, Arizona once again found its way into Utah territory. 

Jayden de Laura would be sacked on first and ten from the Utah 24-yard line. After incomplete passes intended for D.J. Williams and Tanner McLachlan, head coach Jedd Fisch opted to go for it on fourth down and 20, which led to De Laura being sacked again and turning the ball over on downs.

Starting on their 40-yard line, it took Utah just under three minutes to score again after a 32-yard run by redshirt freshman running back Ja’Quinden Jackson set up first and goal. He would score on the next play from two yards out to make it 21-7 with 11:14 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats would enter halftime trailing Utah 28-10 following the second touchdown of the day for Utah quarterback Nate Johnson and a 30-yard field goal by Arizona kicker Tyler Loop.

Arizona would be forced to punt on their first possession out of halftime after redshirt-senior linebacker Jerry Roberts forced a fumble on defense by Ja’Quinden Jackson at the Arizona 2-yard line.

After a field goal by Utah kicker Jadon Redding from 27-yards made the score 31-10, the Wildcats needed to put some points on the board. Arizona and Utah would then trade fumbles, De Laura losing one on a run followed by Utah junior tight end Thomas Yassmin fumbling after a catch.

Utah had the ball to begin the final quarter and made the score 38-10 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Rising to Thomas Yassmin.

Down by 28 points on the road, Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch opted to have freshman quarterback Noah Fifita enter the game for Jayden de Laura. De Laura finished with 159 yards passing on 10-20 attempts and added 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 10 rushing attempts.

Fifita would complete three passes on his first drive of the night, the last of which was fumbled by Jacob Cowing.

A 51-yard pass from Fifita to sophomore receiver Anthony Simpson would set up first and goal for the ‘Cats late in the fourth quarter. Freshman receiver Tetairoa McMillan score on a 2-yard pass from Fifita, and a successful 2-point conversion would make it 45-20 Utah. Noah Fifita’s first collegiate touchdown goes to a familiar face in McMillan, who were teammates and attended Servite High School together in Anaheim, CA.

Next week Arizona football will be on the road once again to take on UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 12.

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