Tucson, Ariz. • Utah running back Zack Moss wishes he could have gained one more yard in the first half Saturday night, but his 203-yard rushing night in three quarters was more than sufficient in a 35-7 win over Arizona.
Moss was denied on a play that started at the Arizona 1-yard line as the first half ended with the Utes feeling as though they should have led by much more than 14-0. And the goal-line stand gave the Wildcats some hope.
“I thought it gave us some momentum coming out of there and those [defensive] guys were playing as hard as they could play, and I thought that could spark a comeback,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said.
Instead, Moss and Utah's offensive line subdued the Wildcats as the third quarter began. Utah took the second-half kickoff and marched into Arizona territory for a fifth consecutive drive. This time, Moss made shorter work of the possession, as he ran down the right sideline for a 41-yard touchdown.
That fulfilled the Utes' second-half goal to “just come out and dominate,” Moss said.
Moss finished with 203 yards on 26 carries in three quarters of work. He easily could have topped his career high of 211 yards, set last season at UCLA, but Utah’s coaching staff judiciously gave him the rest of the night off. Moss, who missed one game due to injury, has rushed for 1,158 yards in 10 games – giving him another school record, with a third 1,000-yard season.
Moss pointed out how Utah's offensive linemen were hustling to the line of scrimmage, because they were so eager to block for him. Utah's biggest real flaw Saturday was their 11 penalties for 110 yards. The Utes “could have kept our composure better,” Moss said, but the penalties didn't stop them from scoring.
Two fourth-down stops by Arizona and Ute quarterback Tyler Huntley's second interception of the season – stemming from a receiver's mistake on the route, Whittingham said – marked the only times in the Utes' first eight drives when they failed to score a touchdown.
Utah finished with 517 total yards, including 297 on the ground. Tight end Brant Kuithe ran for two touchdowns and caught four passes for 81 yards.