Football: Wildcats bear down, sink Utes 35-24

LEAD ART_MG_5918TUCSON, Ariz.—For the first time in conference play in 2013, Utah didn’t have a chance to tie or win in the final seconds Saturday against the Arizona Wildcats.
Instead, the wheels of the proverbial bus came off before the clock hit triple zeroes in the Utes’ first contest outside of Utah this season. Quarterback Travis Wilson left in the first half with an injury, kicker Andy Phillips missed his first and second field goal attempts of the season and Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey gouged the Utes’ stout run defense for 236 yards as the Wildcats won, 35-24.
In response, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said his team came out “flat” at Arizona Stadium versus the Wildcats.
“In this conference you cannot come out and not be ready to play,” Whittingham said. “You gotta win on the road. You can’t just win at home and not come through on the road … We just didn’t play very well.”
The Utes were down 20-7 at the half thanks to a dominant performance from Carey and Wildcats’ quarterback B.J. Denker. The duo accounted for 147 yards on the ground and two scores in the first two quarters.
Despite the first half deficiency, Utah backup quarterback Adam Schulz came in after Wilson’s injury and helped the Utes get back into the game. Schulz led Utah to two quick scores, going 5-for-5 on pass attempts to open his performance.
The Utes got back out on top 21-20 within the first six minutes of the second half, but that was the last time they had the lead. Down 28-21 with 3:49 to play, Utah’s coaching staff decided to try a field goal instead of going for the first down on fourth-and-five.
“(Phillips) has been lights out so we thought that was an automatic,” Whittingham said. “So that could’ve gone either way. If there had been 30, 40, 50 seconds less in the game, we probably would’ve gone for it. We thought our best percentage at that time was to try the field goal.”
Phillips missed the 40-yard attempt, his second miss of the contest and of the season.
Arizona took over possession and Carey put a 44-yard nail in the coffin as he busted out for a long touchdown with 2:19 remaining.
“Ka’Deem Carey really took it to us again for the second year in a row,” Whittingham said, referring to the 204 yards the junior racked up a season ago at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
With 14 tackles in the game, Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly was able to stop Carey a few times, but it wasn’t easy.
“You really gotta make sure you wrap and roll with that guy, because he does not go down after first contact,” Reilly said. “He’s just one of those backs that he’s always moving forward.”
Coming off of one of the biggest upsets in school history after beating then-No. 5 Stanford a week ago, the Utes took a hard fall Saturday. They came into the game fully expecting to win, according to Reilly.
“It was ours for the taking,” he said. “It stinks pretty bad, I’m not gonna lie. It really stinks that it’s a road trip and we gotta get on the bus and get on the plane.”
Utah will look to get back on the winning track this Saturday against USC in Los Angeles.