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Utah expert previews the Arizona game and makes a score prediction

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utah-utes-arizona-wildcats-interview-blocku-questions-answers-pac-12-football-moss-huntley Melissa Majchrzak-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats wrap up their 2019 home schedule with their toughest opponent yet, hosting the Utah Utes on Saturday night.

Utah (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12) has won six straight and has climbed to seventh in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The Utes can clinch a second straight South Division title with a win and a loss by USC against UCLA earlier Saturday.

To better help us understand Utah and what it will bring to Arizona Stadium, we reached out to Aaron Woods of SB Nation sister site BlockU. He are his eloquent answers to our inarticulate questions:

Senior Zack Moss is Utah’s career rushing leader and has the best numbers in the Pac-12. He’s done this despite missing games because of injury in all but one season. Do the Utes do anything to limit his workload in order to keep him healthy?

“Utah has a stable of younger, incredibly talented running backs including Devin Brumfield, Devonta’e Henry-Cole and true freshman Jordan Wilmore, all of whom are averaging 4.0 yards per carry or better on 129 combined carries. Rotating in the younger talent has been incredibly beneficial for Zack’s longevity, but the fact that the roster is loaded with more talented receivers than Utah has had since joining the Pac-12 certainly helps as well.”

Utah leads the conference in rushing but also has the league’s most efficient passing game. How is that possible?

“The offensive line lacks a star like Oregon’s Penei Sewell, but they’re an incredibly talented unit nonetheless. Guys like right guard Nick Ford and center Orlando Umana have been huge in keeping Tyler Huntley on his feet to give him time to find a receiver or opening up a lane for whoever might be carrying the ball. Without the offensive line, this team wouldn’t be as balanced as they are.”

QB Tyler Huntley is getting some grassroots Heisman Trophy love, though he’ll probably be hard-pressed to get an invite to New York City. Nevertheless, his performance this season has been astounding. What’s his secret?

“The return of offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has undoubtedly benefited Huntley. It’s a much more simplistic playbook with lots of short, quick passes and fewer designed quarterback runs. And again, the offensive line coming together like that have really deserves more credit.”

Arizona just gave up six sacks to Oregon’s stout defensive front, now comes a Utah group that’s just as imposing. Who should Wildcat fans be most fearing from that unit?

“Linebackers Devin Lloyd and Francis Bernard are absolute beasts and the teams’ leading tacklers, but defensive end Bradlee Anae’s 10 sacks and defensive end Leki Fotu’s 5.5 tackles for loss can’t be overlooked. In all honesty, Utah’s defense might be more dominant than even Oregon’s, which won’t bode well for Arizona’s much maligned offensive line.”

It doesn’t look like it’s mattered so far, but is there concern that the punting and kicking games—normally a staple for Utah—could be a liability in a close contest?

“Absolutely. It’s been interesting to see the offense firing on all cylinders while special teams is in a bit of a slump, because since joining the Pac-12 it’s been the opposite. Ben Lennon is far from a bad punter, especially for a freshman, but he can’t quite flip a field like fans have become accustomed to. Kicker Jadon Redding’s performance (despite being 8 of 10) leaves a bit more to be desired, and I’m not sure many fans would have much confidence in him hitting a 40-yard game-winner as time expires.”

Prediction time. What chance do you give Arizona of pulling off what would be one of the biggest upsets of the year? Give us a score.

“Arizona appears to be too broken, beaten and bruised to really have much of a chance this weekend. Utah gives up a lot of its yardage and points in the opening drive before the defense tightens up and shuts teams down, so if (Kevin) Sumlin can keep that first drive momentum alive, anything is possible. But realistically, I see Utah winning 51-10.