Another defensive stand followed as Utah linebacker Jared Norris denied Carey any yardage on fourth-and-2 near midfield. The loss on downs was immediately followed by some first-down trickery from the Utes. A flea flicker featuring running back Bubba Poole was capped by a 55-yard touchdown toss from Schulz to Sean Fitzgerald. Phillips then added his 30th consecutive successful extra-point kick to give Utah a 21-20 lead with 9:08 to go in the third quarter.
The Utes remained in front until early in the fourth. That’s when Arizona reclaimed the lead on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Denker to Nate Phillips. The Wildcats added a two-point conversion to carry a seven-point advantage into the final 13:32 of play.
Utah eventually cut into the 28-21 deficit with a 44-yard field goal by Phillips. The Utes added to the drama with 6:29 to go when LT Tuipulotu forced Carey to fumble and Reilly recovered it on the Arizona 38.
The Wildcats held firm, though, and averted any more danger when Phillips missed a 40-yard kick at 3:49.
Just over two minutes later, Arizona added a 44-yard touchdown run by Carey to clinch the late-night contest. Last season’s national rushing leader — a focal point of Utah’s defensive effort — finished with 236 yards on 40 carries. He had 204 against the Utes last year.
"I'm exhausted. It was a nice team win against a good physical team," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez. "We made a few mistakes, but it was a good effort and a very good win."
Whittingham, obviously, saw things from a different perspective. He noted the lack of production in the throw game, the missed field goals and the second-half impact Carey had in the game.
"We came out flat in the first half. In this conference, you can't come out and not be ready to play," Whittingham said. "We weren't ready to play in the first half. In the second half, we came out with some fire (and) did some good things. We fought our way back in the game and took the lead, but my final analysis of the game — we didn't make enough plays to win the game."
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