Utah Utes: After snapping lost 20-game skid, Arizona is hungry for more

A week ago at Arizona Stadium there was a big party.

That’s because Arizona ended their nation’s longest 20-game losing streak with a 10-3 win over Cal.

It was the Wildcats’ first victory since their 35-30 loss to Colorado on October 5, 2019.

Never mind that this victory came against a Cal team who played without more than two dozen players and five assistant coaches, who tested positive for COVID-19.

A victory is a victory is a victory.

Especially for a program that had not won a game this season or this decade.

After the win, first-year coach Jedd Fisch watched Arizona fans storm the pitch.

“They earned it – 763 days is a long time,” he said. “As we continue to develop this program, I hope fans will rush to the field for the championships rather than just for a win.”

The Wildcats are looking to start a winning streak on Saturday (noon MST, Pac-12 network) when they host Utah, leaders Pac-12 South.

The Utes know that last-place Arizona is confident heading into this weekend after ending a long losing streak.

“This match should give them confidence. They got the win and I’m sure they’re going to do whatever they can to build on that and try to keep that momentum going, ”Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Conversely, we will do everything in our power to try to win on the road. We’ll see what happens.”

“You can’t take a team like that lightly. They got their first win and they’re going to get the most out of it, ”said wide receiver Solomon Enis. “We just have to prepare like we did every week and go 1-0 every week, no matter who we play.”

Arizona (1-8, 1-5) ranks 125th in the country in offensive scoring, averaging 16 points per game and 82nd on defense, allowing 28.5 points per game.

The Wildcats have faced six players in quarterback this season, including their top two, Jordan McCloud and Gunner Cruz, both of whom are out for the season.

Freshman quarterback Will Plummer had to quit last week’s game a few times for shoulder and hand injuries. But he finished the game.

Plummer completed 16 of 28 passes for 129 yards and threw two interceptions as he rushed 11 times for a high of 68 yards. He is expected to be the starter against Utah on the Wildcats’ senior day.

“He’s just rock hard. His tenacity shone, ”Fisch said of Plummer. “His resilience shone. He is definitely someone you are proud to call a teammate. You want that. You expect this. You want your quarterback, who is your leader on the court, to be someone who always wants to find a way to jump in and out and be the guy running the team.

“And I think he would have had a hard time not wanting to take that knee. We had been practicing victory training since spring football. So it was good to get into this. I know he wanted to be the one who did it.

Whittingham said the Wildcats appeared to be okay with their quarterback situation.

“I think they’re comfortable with the rotation they had last week. I guess they are settled. They had some kind of revolving door there and they can’t get in there. They did a good job on Saturday.

The Utes aren’t focusing on the Arizona record.

“We have to prepare as we prepare and not treat it like we are playing a 1-8 team,” said quarterback Cam Rising. “We have to focus on winning this game and going 1-0 this week.”

Running back TJ Pledger knows Arizona has some momentum, but it’s important to do what they do best.

“They definitely have a lot of juice. You can’t ignore any opponent, no matter what their record, ”Pledger said. “In college football you see it all the time. We treat it as such. We have a lot to work on. The most important thing is to play better this week than we played last week.


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