Utah Football Battles Arizona Through the Weather


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah’s Nate Johnson (#13) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the game vs. Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium on campus on Nov. 5, 2022. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton and Ethan Pearce


University of Utah football (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) returned home this week, coming off of a 21-17 win at Washington State. Utah’s hopes of advancing to the championship game of a very competitive Pac-12 will depend on how they finish the rest of the season.


Arizona came out with a big 38-yard pass to put some pressure on the Utes. But the cold seemed to get to the Wildcats, with two fumbles early in the first quarter. Jonah Elliss was able to jump on the second fumble, giving Utah possession early.

But the offense was unable to find the endzone and punted to force Arizona on their own 2-yard line. Utah’s defense stuffed the Wildcats, forcing them to punt from their endzone and giving Utah great field position on the Arizona 37.

Utah was able to capitalize on the field position, with Jaylen Dixon finding the endzone on a 7-yard rush. But Arizona quickly stunned Utah, with a 57-yard rush to take Arizona less than a yard from the endzone.

Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura scrambled his way to the endzone to dismantle Utah’s early lead.

Cam Rising took the field to lead the Utes next drive. Arizona’s defensive line applied heavy pressure to Rising throughout the drive, but he was able to evade it. Nate Johnson was able to regain Utah’s lead, finding the endzone on an 8-yard rush.

Johnson’s scare gave the Utes a 14-7 lead after the first quarter. It was the freshman quarterback’s debut, and certainly wasn’t a bad way to open his collegiate career.

On the first drive of the second quarter, Utah forced Arizona into a 4th and 20. The Wildcats chose to go for it, but Karene Reid and Elliss got to the quarterback and forced a turnover on downs.

Utah quickly marched down the field, with big runs from Jaylon Glover and Ja’Quinden Jackson, who took a 32-yard carry to the 2-yard line, quickly punching it in to extend Utah’s lead.

Utah’s defense stopped Arizona but wasn’t able to get anything going offensively. Luckily, a muffed punt placed Utah on the Arizona 9. With Rising lined up at wide receiver, Johnson took the snap and found the endzone with his feet for the second time in his collegiate debut.

With the rain coming down hard, Utah returned to the locker room with a comfortable 28-10 lead at the half. Despite only 243 yards to Arizona’s 249, Utah still held the lead. Utah was a perfect 4-4 in the redzone, and 6 of 8 on 3rd down conversions.

Jackson fumbled the ball on the Arizona 2 after a long drive by the Utes. Utah’s first turnover of the night wouldn’t alter the game, as Utah forced a 3-and-out.

The rain picked up quick, and the Utes began favoring the run game. Utah’s diverse running-back group wasn’t able to get much in the third quarter, scoring just a field goal.

Arizona was able to get some points in the fourth quarter, but Utah’s lead was too much. The Utes took the game 45-20, and now look forward to Stanford next Saturday.


Utah football never ceases to surprise us. Tonight, we saw multiple touchdowns from Johnson, Tavion Thomas on special teams, and a healthy dose of Glover and Jackson in the run game. 

With Thomas clearly dealing with something behind the scenes, and Micah Bernard still limited due to injury, the Utes seem to have finally found a rhythm in the running game. Glover and Jackson moved the ball up and down the field well all night long, showing just how many options Utah has at running back.

The defense was incredible following the first quarter. Arizona couldn’t get much going, and Utah cut down on allowing the chunk plays that had gashed them in previous weeks. 

As the game wore on, the pouring rain made it tough to hold on to the football. Both teams fumbled multiple times in the second half, leading to a sloppy product in the poor weather.

Utah looked good on both sides of the ball for most of the game. With Dalton Kincaid out, the running game stepped up to carry the offense, and the defense played extremely well against the scrappy Wildcats.

Utah will take the win. They face Stanford at home next week for the final game of the year at Rice-Eccles Stadium before heading to Oregon for a huge game on Nov. 19. Buckle up.


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