No. 10 Utah loses Pac-12 South lead in upset to unranked Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. — Backup quarterback Jerrard Randall completed one pass Saturday night.
And, boy, was it a big one.
Randall, playing in place of injured Anu Solomon, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nate Phillips on the first play of the second overtime and Arizona stunned No. 10 Utah 37-30.
The loss knocked the Utes (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) into a first-place tie in the Pac-12 with USC and the Trojans hold the tiebreaker by beating Utah.
Solomon passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a season-high 86 yards for Arizona (6-5, 3-5) before leaving the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit with 9:25 left in regulation. No penalty was called.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said the victory "has to be one of the best since I've been here."
Utah's Devontae Booker carried 34 times for 145 yards. The Utes star running back, who left the game in the third quarter and returned after a ride on the stationary bike, didn't have a run longer than 13 yards.
Arizona's Cayleb Jones caught five passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. The win snapped the Wildcats' three-game losing streak and made them bowl eligible.
Both of the Pac-12 one-loss teams went down to a second defeat. Oregon beat No. 7 Stanford 38-36 earlier Saturday.
"All is not lost," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We need to show resilience and toughness."
Arizona beat a Top 10 team for the fourth consecutive year under Rodriguez. It also was the Wildcats' fourth straight win over Utah.
"Every week is a challenge," Whittingham said. "That's why we play in a conference like this."
Each team kicked a field goal in the first overtime.
On the next play, Randall threw deep to Phillips, who gathered the pass in with his left hand and pulled it to his chest as he fell to the turf.
"I couldn't get nothing all night throwing the ball," Randall said, "but I got that one touchdown. I think it was amazing."
Utah drove to the 8-yard line in the second overtime but on second down Travis Wilson was sacked by Sani Fuimaono and Sir Thomas Jackson. On third-and-16 and fourth-and-16, Wilson's passes fell incomplete and the students rushed the field.
The Utes trailed until the second play of the second half, when Wilson connected with Harrison Handley for a 59-yard touchdown.
Andy Phillips' 38-yard field goal increased the lead to 27-20.
After the kickoff, Solomon threw short to Jones and the Arizona receiver reversed field. The 50-yard play moved the ball to the Utah 22. Solomon threw 16 yards to Johnny Jackson, then ran 6 yards for the touchdown to tie at 27 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.
Solomon was injured at the end of a 9-yard run when he slid to the ground and was hit hard by Jason Fanaika. Replays showed it was a helmet-to-helmet hit, despite the absence of a penalty flag.
"Obviously he got hit in the head either by the turf or somebody else," Rodriguez said. "Maybe the turf bounced up and hit him in his head."
Arizona had leads of 10-0 and 17-7 in the first half. Utah cut the lead to three before halftime.
Wilson connected with freshman Britain Covey on a 46-yard play to the Arizona 29. Two pass interference penalties moved the ball to the Wildcats 2 and Kenneth Scott's leaping catch of Wilson's pass made it 20-17 45 seconds before halftime.
"I felt like our biggest struggle was just containing Solomon," Utah cornerback Brian Allen said. "We made a couple of good plays but just couldn't contain him."