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Utah Utes football: Utes wary of Wildcats' high-octane offense

Published: Friday, Nov. 16 2012 10:02 a.m. MST

Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (25) runs ahead of Colorado's Josh Moten (39) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., Sat., Nov. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Wily Low)

Wily Low, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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SALT LAKE CITY — Arizona's high-powered offense is multi-faceted. The Wildcats can run, throw, rack up yardage and score points. They rank second in the Pac-12 in all four categories statistically.

"I think their scheme is exceptional," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "I think that we've definitely got our hands full."

Saturday's Pac-12 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium could keep the Utes busy on both sides of the ball.

"We're going to have to play well on defense (and) we'll have to keep the football away from them with our offense," Whittingham explained. "That's probably as big a factor as anything."

Whittingham stressed the importance of moving the chains, making first downs, possessing the football and keeping it away from Arizona.

"The best defense is to have their offense on the sideline," Whittingham said. "So the more our offense can control the clock and make first downs, the (better) off we're going to be."

Arizona has quite the attack. The Wildcats, who are scoring 37.9 points per game, average 526 yards of total offense — 310.7 yards in the air and 215.30 yards on the ground.

"We've got to play our best football this week," Whittingham said.

Leading the charge for Arizona is running back Ka'Deem Carey. The sophomore ran for a conference-record 366 yards and scored five touchdowns in last week's 56-31 win over Colorado.

"Ka'Deem runs as hard and as angry as any running back in the country," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after the game.

Carey leads the Pac-12 in rushing with 1,381 yards. Whittingham noted that he's got great balance, exceptional vision and is tough.

"I would say he's as good as anybody we've seen this year — maybe the best," Whittingham said.

Senior Matt Scott, who missed the Colorado game because of a concussion, is expected to be Arizona's starting quarterback on Saturday. His 2,848 passing yards this season leads the Pac-12 and ranks eighth nationally.

"I think he's got a really quick release, like he can get the ball out there. He has a cannon for an arm," said Utah cornerback Reggie Topps. "So it's going to be a good challenge for us. It'll be a good challenge for the dbs."

Sophomore Austin Hill is Arizona's leading receiver with 1,023 yards and 6.2 catches per game.

The Wildcats don't fare nearly as well defensively. They come to town with less than stellar numbers — ranking last in the Pac-12 in passing defense (304.7 ypg) and 11th in total defense (491.90 ypg), scoring defense (34.6 ppg) and rushing defense (187.2 ypg).

Email: dirk@desnews.com, Twitter: @DirkFacer

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