The University of Arizona

Cats Welcome Pac-12 Newcomer Utah for Homecoming

By Arizona Athletics, November 2, 2011

Arizona will host Pac-12 newcomer Utah on Nov. 5 for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. MST at Arizona Stadium.

Senior CB Trevin Wade (24), senior CB Robert Golden (1) and freshman DB Tra'Mayne Bondurant (27). (Photo by Luke Adams/Arizona Athletics Photography)
Senior CB Trevin Wade (24), senior CB Robert Golden (1) and freshman DB Tra'Mayne Bondurant (27). (Photo by Luke Adams/Arizona Athletics Photography)

The Wildcats will try to start their final third of the season on a good note Nov. 5 at home against Utah. The game, during the University of Arizona's Homecoming celebration, is scheduled for 4 p.m. MST.

This will be the UA's last Pac-12 home game of the year, and the Utes will try to win a league game on the road for the first time in their Pac-12 history.

Arizona will pit its 465-yard offense against a team in the league's top three in total defense (325 ypg). Arizona's beleaguered defense will go against the league's No. 12 offense.

Some paperwork indications of what's in store: The UA has completed more passes (265) than Utah has attempted (225). Utah running back John White has a 1,000-yard season in sight (915 yards) against a squad that's allowed 5 yards per attempt.

As one of three 4-4 clubs in the circuit, Utah will play for continued bowl possibilities, while Arizona's window is clear – win out or stay home for the holidays.

The Wildcats need a victory to keep chances of no less than four league wins since the conference went to a nine-game format. The UA also needs a win to keep alive a chance for a winning home record for a fifth-straight season.

From the Wildcats' perspective, seniors Nick Foles and Juron Criner are chasing a bevy of school records, while as many as 23 freshmen (true and redshirt) continue to gain valuable experience heading into the final month of the regular season.

Arizona will re-engage an old rival under new co-affiliations, with 36 previous meetings (Utah leads 19-15-2).

Last week, Arizona jumped to a 10-point lead at the onset but couldn't stop Washington from scoring 14 in a 5-minute span in the fourth quarter to beat the Cats, 42-31, in a hard-fought battle in Seattle.

The Cats had the lead, 31-28, and the ball after Trevin Wade's 12th career interception with a dozen minutes left, but UW held the Cats to a 3-and-out, and then drove 81 yards for the go-ahead points.

On the next possession, receiver Criner fumbled a potential first down catch, and the Huskies drove 50 yards for the insurance points.

It was not exactly a defensive game, with 900 total yards, but each team had three interceptions, including the UA's Robert Golden taking a tipped ball back 91 yards for a score to knot the game at 21-all in the third period. Marquis Flower added the Cats' third pick.

Foles, who threw for 388 yards and a pair of scores to Criner, was intercepted in Washington territory twice and in desperation mode near the end in the UA's half of the field.

The Huskies were led by running back Chris Polk, who finished with 144 yards and four rushing touchdowns, plus added 100 yards and a score on four receptions for a 244-yard all-purpose evening.

Arizona's John Bonano, fresh off his first game as the kicker, socked three field goals including one of 47 yards, but two of those were part of the problem for the UA – points left in the red zone. The Cats had three red zone trips and got 13 points thereby. Washington had six red zone penetrations and scored six touchdowns.

The UA's rough night on third down – 3-for-11 – hurt, as did UW's whopping 10 yards per pass attempt and 18 yards per completion on a nice night from Keith Price.

Criner turned in 11 catches for 118 yards. The UA had a season-low 36 rushing yards on a season-low 19 tries and the single dimension helped Washington counter the Cats' moves.

The UA lost on the road for the fourth time in as many tries and fell to 1-5 in league play.

Up Next

Arizona will wrap up its inaugural Pac-12 slate with a pair of road games in the coming weeks. The Wildcats play at Colorado (Time, TV is TBA) on Nov. 12 and then travel to Arizona State on Nov. 19 (Time, TV is TBA).

The regular season schedule concludes on Nov. 26 at Arizona Stadium, when the Wildcats will host non-conference foe Louisiana-Lafayette (Time, TV is TBA).