UTAH UTES

An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Arizona Wildcats

Jul 15, 2023, 3:55 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Fall camp is around the corner as we wrap up taking a look at Utah football’s 2023 opponents. This week we examine the Utes’ matchup with the Arizona Wildcats.

Utah will be on the road one more week after travelling up to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies– a game that could play a big role in who goes to the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2023.

The Utes’ matchup with Arizona should be an easier affair, but third-year head coach Jedd Fisch is determined to get the Wildcats turned around and it shows. While Arizona’s records still leave a lot to be desired, 1-11 in 2021 and 5-7 in 2022, Fisch has steadily gotten improvement from his crew. Maybe most importantly for the Wildcats is they look like they care when they step out on the field under Fisch and that can go a long way toward who wins and loses games.

 

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The When And Where Of Utah Football Vs. Arizona

When: Saturday, November 18, 2023

Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona

Time: TBD

Network: TBD

What We Know About The Wildcats Heading Into 2023

Aside from their head coach being in a more comfortable position heading into year three, the Wildcats do return some key talent in 2023 while also losing a key piece.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura is back for the Wildcats, however, his main target, wide receiver Dorian Singer will now be suiting up for USC. Still, Fisch has been working hard to bring in top-level talent to Arizona in an effort to turn the program around.

Last season, Arizona got the better of #9 UCLA, while also keeping games with USC and Washington respectable. In 2021, the last time Utah was in Tucson, the Wildcats handed the eventual Pac-12 Champion Utes a scare, but ultimately came up short. However, there is proof there that Arizona isn’t afraid of some of the bigger dogs in the conference and we don’t expect that to be any different in 2023.

 

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Taking Inventory Of Key Players For U of A

As mentioned above, Arizona will have their starting quarterback back, but lost their top receiver. However, they have also had some success in the transfer portal too with perhaps their biggest win coming in Oregon transfer linebacker Justin Flowe.

The Wildcats also lost a key player in the defense to USC in cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace, and a safety Jaxen Turner to UNLV.

While Arizona has lost some talent, they also feel good about some of the remaining players but need them to step up.

Offensively, look for guys like wide receivers Jacob Cowing and Tetairoa McMillan along with running back Michael Wiley to make up for some of the production lost with Singer’s transfer.

 

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Defensively, the Wildcats will be looking to fellow linebacker Jacob Manu to help anchor them along with Flowe.

Interestingly enough, in this article, Kyle Ostendorp, the Wildcats’ punter, is listed as one of the 10 best players on the team. This feels reflective of comments made by Fisch about wanting to model what Arizona does after Utah.

As most will recall, while the Utes were building their roster in their early years in the Pac-12, special teams, and particularly the punting game was a big weapon for the team while they worked to address concerns on offense and fill some gaps on defense.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Arizona Wildcats