Week 13 Pac-12: Arizona at Utah

    Arizona (8-2) at Utah (7-3) Nov. 22, 3:30, ESPN Here’s The Deal: The Pac-12 South is about to get some clarity this weekend. The tightest division in the

    November 21, 2014

    Arizona (8-2) at Utah (7-3) Nov. 22, 3:30, ESPN 

    Here’s The Deal: The Pac-12 South is about to get some clarity this weekend. The tightest division in the country features five members separated by one game in the loss column. Four of those programs, all ranked, will face one another in Week 13, including the ‘Cats and the Utes in Salt Lake City. Arizona got a gift fumble from Washington last Saturday to remain afloat in the division, though earlier losses to USC and UCLA means it’ll need a few more presents to survive tiebreakers. Utah, which has had a redemptive season for Kyle Whittingham, will play its final two regular season games for bowl positioning and an opportunity to remain within the Top 25. 

    Why Arizona Might Win: The Utes’ overall offensive numbers have been skewed by early blowouts of Idaho State and Fresno State. Since Week 3, Utah hasn’t scored more than 30 points in a game, while the offense has become increasingly one-dimensional around RB Devontae Booker. The Wildcats boast the more diverse offense, a mix of Anu Solomon’s throws to a dynamite receiving corps and the league’s fourth-best ground game. WR Cayleb Jones is an especially dangerous mismatch on the outside. 

    Why Utah Might Win: Arizona is about to get punched in the grill and dragged out of its usual comfort zone. Utah is the most physical team that the ‘Cats will face this year. Against a similarly-talented Washington D last week, Arizona was feeble offensively. The Utes are giving up just five yards per play, second in the Pac-12, spearheaded in the front seven by edge rushers Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick and athletic linebackers Jared Norris and Gionni Paul. 

    Who To Watch Out For: The matchup of the game pits Booker vs. Wildcat LB Scooby Wright, who’s been a national phenomenon in his second season of action. Overlooked coming out of Windsor (Calif.) High School, he’s erupted for 117 tackles, 21 stops for loss, a dozen sacks and five forced fumbles. He’ll be focused this week on Booker, who’s authored his own rags-to-riches story. Ute QB Travis Wilson needs to give Arizona a reason not to stack the box on Booker, who’s been held under four yards a carry in the last four games. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Arizona has not fared well against the more physical teams on the schedule. And Utah might be its most rugged assignment of 2014 … at Rice-Eccles Stadium after dark. Neither school will have much success sustaining drives, making special teams even more important than usual. Advantage, Utes. In a tight, back-and-forth game throughout, Solomon will be forced into a key second-half turnover that tips the outcome in Utah’s favor. 

    Prediction: Utah 28 … Arizona 23 
    Line: Utah -4 o/u: 54 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: HBO’s State of Play – 1: Euros of Hollywood … 3.5


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