No. 19 Arizona looking to remain in Pac-12 championship game hunt against No. 16 Utah
Thu, Nov 16, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
No. 16 Utah (7-3, 4-3 Pac-12, No. 22 CFP) at No. 19 Arizona (7-3, 5-2, No. 17), Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Network)
Line: Utah by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Utah leads 26-19-2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Utah is out of the running for a third straight Pac-12 championship, but Arizona still has a longshot bid to reach Las Vegas. The Wildcats beat ranked teams in three consecutive games for the first time in program history and backed it up with a 34-31 win at Colorado last week. Arizona needs a lot of help to reach the Pac-12 title game, but it starts with beating the Utes and rival Arizona State to close the regular season. Utah reached as high as No. 10 in the AP Top 25 this season, but has lost two of three, including to No. 5 Washington by five last week.
Arizona's run game vs. Utah's defense. The Wildcats have had success running the ball in recent weeks with the emergence of Jonah Coleman. The sophomore ran for 179 yards against Colorado last week and has 744 yards with three touchdowns this season. While Utah has had some questions on offense, its defense has been stellar. The Utes are fifth nationally against the run, holding teams to 85.6 yards per game, and they're No. 1 nationally on third downs, allowing teams to convert just 25.6% of the time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Utah: DE Jonah Elliss. The anchor to Utah's stout defense up front, Elliss leads the Pac-12 and is third nationally with 12 sacks. He's also eighth nationally with 16 tackles for loss.
Arizona: QB Noah Fifita. With Utah so good against the run, Fifita will likely have to take some pressure off the ground game by going through the air. He's been superb since Jayden de Laura suffered an ankle injury in Week 4, throwing for 1,735 yards and 16 touchdowns with four interceptions in nine games to keep the starting job.
FACTS & FIGURES
Utah has won six straight in the series, winning by an average of 18.6 points per game. ... A win would give Arizona eight in a season for the first time since 2014. ... Utah leads the Pac-12 and is fifth nationally in time of possession at 33:23 per game. ... Arizona WR Jacob Cowing has 10 touchdowns receiving, second-most in program history in a single season and behind the record accomplished six times. ... Utah has never beaten two AP Top 25 opponents on the road in the same season. The Utes won at then-No. 18 USC on Oct. 10. ... Arizona CB Tacario Davis has at least one pass breakup in eight straight games.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football"