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Arizona vs. Utah: Wildcats’ Players of the Game

Here are three Wildcats who stood out in Arizona’s loss to Utah

NCAA Football: Arizona at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats started off fast against the Utah Utes and were leading 14-12 at halftime. However, the defense could not hold off the opposing offense for the second game in a row, resulting in a 36-23 loss. This snapped Rich Rodriguez’s four-game winning streak against the Utes.

There were some Wildcats that stood out in Salt Lake City despite the loss.

Offense: Trey Griffey, WR

Game Stats: 4 rec, 109 yds, 0 TD

Griffey was the standout receiver. Twice he went up and caught a pass down the sideline for 40+ yards. He also caught a shoe-stringer on a throw from Khalil Tate for a first down. Griffey played physical all night and his stats show it, obtaining over 100 yards receiving. It was nice to see him actually used as a deep threat. I would expect that Arizona will continue to use Griffey down the field moving forward.

Defense: Michael Barton, LB

Game Stats: 12 tackles, 2.0 TFL

Barton was a force on defense against Utah. His tackling was borderline perfect and his vision for the ball carrier was spot on. Leading the team in tackles, he made some really solid stops in the backfield and some first down/touchdown saving tackles as well. Week in and week out Barton has earned the playing time he has gotten and was one of the few sparks for this defense.

Special Teams: Josh Pollack, K/P

To be blunt, the special teams were atrocious. The coverage teams were once again a non-factor and, in my opinion, hurt Arizona. Josh Pollack was the one bright spot for the unit.

He boomed four punts for 137 yards, including one for over 50 yards.

He was 1-for-2 on field goals, missing a 52-yarder but making one from 37.

Honorable Mention

Khalil Tate, QB: Tate did make some freshman mistakes (INT, miscommunication) but he did have some nice runs and nice throws. His 63-yard touchdown pass to Samajie Grant was placed right where it needed to be. Makes you wonder what he could do in a full game. Game Stats: 5-for-8, 105 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT; 10 car, 33 yds, 0 TD

Shun Brown, WR: Brown continues to make his presence felt and is becoming a monster on offense. This year he has developed into a great route runner and a pretty darn good pass catcher. He will only get better as the year progresses. Oh, and he had a 75-yard touchdown catch to start the game. Game Stats: 3 rec, 89 yds, 1 TD

Jace Whittaker, CB: Whittaker got the start over DaVonte’ Neal and actually did a pretty solid job. He did get beat a time or two, but also played some great coverage. He was extremely close to a pick-six late in the first half and had some big pass breakups. Game Stats: 4 tackles and 5 PBU

Dane Cruikshank, CB: Cruikshank had a couple of mistakes but overall another solid performance by the redshirt junior. He continues to get better every week and is extremely aggressive in coverage. That does help but it also can hurt him sometimes. Game Stats: 6 tackles and 1 PBU