If it's all coming together, it's happening at the right time.
Arizona laid the wood on the Utah Utes with a 42-10 win in a rainy and cold Salt Lake City, and it was probably the team's most complete effort of the season. Nick Wilson led the Wildcats with 218 yards on just 20 carries while scoring three touchdowns in the process, and that helped alleviate any worries UA might've had with Anu Solomon stepping off the field in the third quarter.
Solomon remained on the sideline with a walking boot, and Jesse Scroggins did enough to keep the Wildcats rolling, hitting 3-of-5 passes for 65 yards but mostly deferring to Wilson.
Arizona jumped ahead 21-0 in the first half, but the defense allowed a touchdown just before halftime as it sat back in a sort of prevent defense. The tune changed there, and after the half Utah put pressure on. The Utes just couldn't quite break through. Even when Solomon went down and a bad snap in the red zone shot down the Wildcats' chance to go ahead 28-7, Arizona's defense fortified just in time to force a long but quick Utah drive into scoring on a field goal from 28 yards out with five minutes left in the third quarter.
What it means: Arizona fans' rooting interesting aren't done with. UCLA beating the USC Trojans later tonight in the Rose Bowl and then losing to Stanford next week will give Arizona a shot at controlling its own destiny. If that happens, the Wildcats can beat ASU next Friday to win the Pac-12 South.
The light before the dark: Solomon looked fresh as he has all season before stepping aside in the third quarter. He went 8-for-17 for 158 yards, but he was quick in his decision making and savvy when deciding where and how to get out of trouble.
Turnovers break Arizona's way: Aside from the failed snap to Scroggins, it was the Utes who couldn't handle the weather. Quarterback Travis Wilson threw two picks and backup Conner Manning threw a final interception when the game was out of hand -- it went to Tra'Mayne Bondurant, who took it 39 yards for a score. Bondurant forced a fumble with 1:17 to go in the second quarter than was scooped up by end Dan Pettinato and returned for a 31-yard score.
And by the way, Bondurant become a father today.
Bondurant with a pick 6. His girlfriend of 6 years, Tiara, gave birth to couple's first child this morning at 1:37 a.m. Quite a day for #21.— Daniel Berk (@DSBerk) November 22, 2014
That pass defense, too: The secondary had its best game of the year. Jonathan McKnight dropped a pick by jumping in front of a Wilson pass early in the third quarter, Jourdon Grandon got in the action with a big sack on a safety blitz and Utah could only go 18-for-35 on 4.7 yards per attempt. Bigger than that, Arizona won on third down, holding the Utes to 6-for-19 to make up for its own offense completing just 4-of-12 third-down opportunities.