SALT LAKE CITY — With their backs against the wall and their hopes for a 10th consecutive bowl game on the line, the Utes came up short, literally.
On Utah’s next to last possession of the game, their last real chance for hope against the Arizona Wildcats, the Utes faced a fourth and 4. Travis Wilson completed a pass to Kenneth Scott for three yards and the ball turned over on downs.
Arizona went on to win the game 34-24, eliminating Utah from post-season contention.
It wasn’t the only time Utah came up short. After Brian Blechen forced a fumble that was recovered by Star Lotulelei in the first quarter, the Utah offense had first and 10 at the Arizona 28 yard line. They drove to the Arizona four where John White was stuffed on third down and 1.
On the next play, rather than kicking a field goal, Utah ran the ball with White again on fourth down and he was stopped for no gain.
Utah did take a gamble that paid off in the second quarter. With fourth and one from the Arizona one yard line, the Utes called a fake field goal and kicker Coleman Petersen ran the ball in for the first touchdown of the game.
Utah fell behind later in the second quarter when Arizona quarterback Matt Scott rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up 17-7.
Utah retook the lead on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to DeVonte Christopher in the third quarter. But Arizona outscored Utah 17-0 to close out the game, dropping the Utes to a 4-7 record.
Even if Utah can beat Colorado next weekend in Boulder, the Utes would not be able to reach the minimum of six wins required for bowl eligibility.