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Arizona football looks to get back on track against Utah at home

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Madeleine Viceconte | The Daily Wildcat Kevin Sumlin coaches the team from the sidelines during the UA v USC game on Saturday, Sep 29 at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona men's football (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) is back at home this weekend against the No. 7 Utah Utes looking to snap its five-game losing streak after a punishing 6-34 loss to the Oregon Ducks last weekend.

Arizona needs to win these last two games of the season to become bowl eligible for the first time in the Kevin Sumlin Era. However, the odds are not in the Wildcats' favor after the way they’ve played the last five games and they’re going up against the top defensive team in the Pac-12. 

Last weekend’s game showed again the two-quarterback system we have seen for several weeks, and neither Tate nor Gunnell was able to find their footing in the pocket. Gunnell started the game, but Tate entered the game in the second quarter, and both struggled offensively. Tate finished 7-for-16 with only 50 yards passing and had 9 carries for only 19 yards. Gunnell finished 10-for-14 with 82 yards passing and was sacked five times. 

Arizona’s offensive line is the big question mark this week as Cody Creason, Josh McCauley and Bryson Cain are all listed as doubtful this week against the No. 1 defense in the Pac-12: Utah. The Utes are currently leading the nation in rushing yards per game allowed and lead the Pac-12 in points as well, only fifth in the nation behind Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and Iowa.

Utah defensively is led by linebackers Devin Lloyd and Francis Bernard, who each have over 60 total tackles on the season. The Utes have forced 22 turnovers this season, with just over two turnovers a game, which ranks 12th in the nation. They’re currently coming off a 49-3 win over UCLA in which they forced five turnovers. The Utes are more than a defensive team, though, as they have one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the Pac-12 as well as the leading running back in the conference.

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley currently is averaging 11.47 yards per attempt, only second in the nation behind Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Huntley is currently completing 74.2% of his passes, which is a Pac-12 best as well. The Utes also lead the conference in rushing behind running back, Zach Moss. Moss is currently averaging 106.1 yards rushing a game, also a Pac-12 best. 

Arizona is going to have to find a way to stop Moss this week and get pressure on Huntley, who is a very mobile quarterback. Offensively, though, Arizona needs to be able to find a way to move the ball. They struggled to do this against Oregon and never truly found anything that worked to move the ball against the Ducks. The Wildcats will need to limit turnovers as well, as the Utes are going to be looking for ways to take the ball away. 

The Wildcats will be back in action this weekend on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Arizona Stadium as they host the Utah Utes in their last home game of the year.


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