Oct 23, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham looks onto the field during the first half against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Rising helps No. 24 Utah hold off Arizona

Cameron Rising threw for 294 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, and T.J. Pledger scored a late touchdown as No. 24 Utah held off Arizona 38-29 on Saturday in Pac-12 play at Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona (1-9, 1-6 Pac-12) scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to get within 31-29 before Utah (7-3, 6-1) answered with a 15-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Pledger’s 2-yard run with 2:10 left to make it a two-score game after the extra point.

Rising completed 19 of 30 passes, including two touchdowns. He opened the scoring with an 11-yard run nearly five minutes into the game.

Arizona, which ended a 20-game losing streak last week by beating Cal 10-3, closed within 31-23 with 11:31 to go on Tyler Loop’s 22-yard field goal attempt. After forcing a three-and-out, the Wildcats blocked a Utah punt, with Rhedi Short recovering and scoring on a 3-yard return. The two-point conversion run failed.

On the ensuing drive, Utah converted a fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 42-yard line en route to the game-sealing score.

Utah, which began the day with a one-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker over Arizona State in the Pac-12 South, played without leading rusher Tavion Thomas, who had rushed for four touchdowns in each of the previous two games. He sat for what was described as a “precaution.”

Pledger started and carried 25 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Arizona quarterback Will Plummer completed 18 of 32 throws for 219 yards and one touchdown. He ended up as the team’s leading rusher with 50 yards, most coming on a 43-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Utah took a 7-0 lead after the first possession of the game, but the Wildcats stormed back with back-to-back touchdown drives to take a 14-7 lead after the first quarter.

The Utes tied the game on the first play of the second quarter on a 15-yard rush by Pledger, and that’s how the score remained until Arizona’s Lucas Havrisik tied the school record with a 57-yard field goal with 1:24 to go before halftime.

That was enough time for Utah, which drove 75 yards in nine plays, capped by a 2-yard pass from Rising to Brant Kuithe with two seconds left for a 21-17 lead.

–Field Level Media