The Wildcats (2-7, 1-6 Pac-12) led the Utes (5-4, 2-4) in most of the important statistical categories -- but not turnovers.
Arizona had three, and Utah had zero. That was enough to keep the Wildcats out of the game. 28 first downs for UA? Arizona only allowed the Utes to 20. 457 total offensive yards? The Wildcats held Utah to 332. Even the inept rushing totals worked out, as the Wildcats ran off 131 yards on the ground and held the opponent to 133. It didn't matter.
Two fourth down conversions failed. Interim head coach Tim Kish took chances in the game, even early on, but his team had two punts blocked and an early fake field goal by John Bonano -- it was, indeed, a pretty between the legs pass by holder Kyle Dugandzic -- sniffed out by the Utah defense.Really, the Wildcats shot themselves in the foot time and time again. It was a field day by UA receiver David Douglas, who had one of the bigger games in his career with 156 receiving yards on 10 catches. Still, that didn't out-do quarterback Nick Foles' two interceptions on the homecoming evening.
Part of it was the Utes' pass rush, which kept Foles off-balance and in a hurry. Foles had 326 yards on the night, going 25-for-43. But Utah's Jon Hays went for 199 yards on a conservative 12-for-21, while his little running back, John White IV, rushed for 109 yards off 27 carries for a 4.0 average.
White scored on a 18-yard burst in the second quarter and then sealed the Wildcats' poor fate with a 11-yard touchdown run with 2;50 remaining, putting the Utes ahead 34-14.
Now, Arizona is fighting for a respect. The Wildcats are out of the bowl conversation officially, and the questions now lead to who's next in the head coaching position. Whether it's Rich Rodgriguez, Mike Bellottti, Mike Leach, or someone else, it's clear that even though Mike Stoops left a talented football team, the next in line must clean up a roster of broken mentalities.
How's it feel having one BCS-level win in a dozen games? Probably lost.
The Wildcats can now look to holding their heads high for the seniors, which include guys like Foles, Juron Criner and Trevin Wade. Those three especially have the NFL in their sights, so it's not a question of "Who's going to quit?" at this point.
Rather, Arizona will look to finish off the season with redemption in mind. There's only so much a team can take before it says, "To hell with it," though. The games are winnable from here on out -- even against the ranked ASU Sun Devils, who lost to UCLA Saturday night.
Whatever happens, it'll be interesting to see if anyone in Tucson will pay attention to a few guy who just need a break.