TUCSON, Ariz. — Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 236 yards in a school
record 40 carries, capping off his night with a 44-yard touchdown run
with 1:30 to play to seal Arizona’s 35-24 victory over Utah Saturday.
B.J. Denker ran for two touchdowns and
passed for another for the Wildcats (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) in their first
conference victory of the season.
Utah (4-3, 1-3), coming off its stunning
upset of then-No. 5 Stanford, lost quarterback Travis Wilson with an
injury to his right hand late in the first half.
Backup Adam Schulz threw a 55-yard
touchdown pass to Sean Fitzgerald to put Utah up 21-20 early in the
third quarter after Arizona led 20-7 at the half.
Carey, the nation’s leading rusher last
season, amassed the second-most yardage in his career, exceeded only by
his Pac-12 record 366 against Colorado last season.
Moments before his late TD run, Carey
had fumbled for the first time this season, giving Utah, down just
28-24, the ball at the Arizona 39. But the Utes stalled at the 23 and
Andy Phillips’ 40-yard field goal was wide left. Phillips, 11 for 11 on
field goals this season entering the game, also missed a 42-yarder. He
made one from 44 yards.
After the miss, Carey took the ball
repeatedly as the Wildcats moved downfield, then burst through for the
long run that clinched the victory.
Down 20-7 at halftime, Utah scored 14 points in a span of 91 seconds to take the lead.
Arizona’s Johnny Jackson muffed a punt
and the Utes’ Chase Dominguez recovered at the Wildcats’ 17. Schulz
threw 16 yards to Dres Anderson, then Kelvin York scored on a one-yard
run to cut the lead to 20-14.
After the kickoff, the Wildcats drove
the ball to midfield, then went for it on fourth-and-two from the Utah
46, and Carey was stopped a yard shy of the first down. On the next
play, Schulz threw deep to a wide open Fitzgerald for a 55-yard
touchdown and the PAT put the Utes up 21-20 with 9:08 left in the third
It was Utah’s first and only lead of the game.
Arizona went back ahead early in the
fourth quarter. Nate Phillips made a tough catch of Denker’s 36-yard
pass to the 9-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 7, Denker rolled to
his left and drilled a pass to Phillips in the end zone. Denker ran for
the two-point conversion and the Wildcats were back on top, 28-21, with
Phillips’ 44-yard field goal cut it to 28-24 with 7:11 left.
Carey started his night much the way he ended it.
On Arizona’s first play of the night,
the junior running back burst through for a 30-yard gain. Seven plays
later, Denker scored on a 10-yard run and the Wildcats were up 7-0.
The Utes took the subsequent kickoff
and tied it with an eight-play, 71-yard drive. Luckey Radley had runs of
17 and 37 yards and, on third and goal, Wilson threw two yards to Nate
Orchard for the touchdown to tie it at 7-7.
Arizona responded with a 17-play drive but on fourth-and-one at the Utah 2-yard line, Denker was sacked by Trevor Reilly.
That only temporarily derailed the Wildcats.
With Utah pinned at its 10 in a
third-and-nine situation, Wilson’s pass over the middle was picked off
by Marquis Flowers, who ran untouched 14 yards to the end zone and
Arizona led 14-7 less than a minute into the second quarter.
Carey’s running and Denker’s passing
led Arizona on a 13-play, 72-yard touchdown drive later in the quarter.
Denker scored from the 1-yard line, the PAT attempt was blocked and the
Wildcats were up 20-7.
Wilson left late in the first half and was on the sidelines in the second half with the thumb on his throwing hand taped.
Schulz had thrown only five passes this season before Saturday night.