Final update:

Even with the opposing team using a backup quarterback, Arizona was unable to pull off the second half comeback against No. 23 Utah and fell 30-24 Friday night in the Pac-12 opener at Arizona Stadium.

UA quarterback Brandon Dawkins finished completing 19 of 36 passes for 180 yards and threw two interceptions. Dawkins entered Friday's game not throwing an interception all season. 

His second interception came earlier in the third quarter and was returned for a 14-yard score. 

The defense provided the offense with opportunities late in the game forcing Utah to punt on several occasions, but Dawkins was unable to convert it into points. On a third down, Dawkins had tight end Trevor Wood wide open down the field, which would've most likely resulted in a touchdown. 

When it came down to put points on the board and keep the 'Cats close in the game, freshman kicker Lucas Havrisik's 47-yard field goal -- his first career field goal -- was blocked. 

With less than 10 minutes left in the game, Utah had the ball up 27-17 and put together an eight play drive capped off with a field goal to go up 30-17. Arizona looked like it was out of answers. 

The ensuing drive, Dawkins hit Tony Ellison for a 30-yard touchdown to cut the deficit 30-24 with 2:44 left in the game. The Wildcats follow up with an onside kick recovered by Shawn Poindexter to give Arizona hope with potentially a game-winning drive, but Dawkins fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage and Utah recovered it. 

Ball game. 

Arizona finished Friday with 444 yards of total offense, but five turnovers -- four from Dawkins -- proved to be too costly in the game. 

Wildcats fall to 2-2 on the season and will go into a bye week before hitting the road to Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Third-quarter update:

The Arizona Wildcats trail No. 23 Utah 27-17 through three quarters of their game Friday night at Arizona Stadium.

After trimming its deficit to three points with 4:38 left in the quarter, Arizona made what could turn out to be a fatal mistake. On third-and-3 from the UA 12, Brandon Dawkins forced a pass toward Shun Brown. Utah defensive back Javelin Guidry intercepted it at the 14 and returned it for a touchdown.

It was Dawkins’ second interception of the night, and it gave Utah a 27-17 lead.

Trailing 13-10 at halftime, Arizona had a chance to get the ball back down three – or, at worst, six. But on third-and-18 from the UA 39-yard line, Williams, with a clean pocket, connected with Demari Simpkins for 37 yards. Simpkins caught the ball between two Arizona defensive backs.

Two plays later, Williams scored from the 1 to give Utah a 20-10 lead.

As they did after falling behind by 10 points in the first half, the Wildcats responded. Dawkins hit Tyrell Johnson for 32 yards on third-and-1. After a targeting foul on Utah safety Marquise Blair, who hit Dawkins in the head on a 1-yard run, J.J. Taylor scored from the 7 to make it 20-17.

Dawkins is 16 of 29 for 149 yards. He has rushed 13 times for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Troy Williams – playing in place of Tyler Huntley, who was knocked out of the game in the second quarter, is 8 of 17 for 129 yards.


The Arizona Wildcats are hanging around with No. 23 Utah.

The Cats trail the Utes 13-10 at halftime of their game Friday night at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona had fallen behind 13-3 before a late touchdown drive made it a three-point game.

The Wildcats knocked out Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley, who had completed 8 of 9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown when he had to leave the game.

QB Brandon Dawkins has Arizona’s lone touchdown. After a slow start, Dawkins has completed 11 of 22 passes for 100 yards. He has rushed for 35 yards on eight carries.

On the opening possession of the second quarter, Arizona converted two fourth downs and finally got its running game going. But J.J. Taylor’s 15-yard run to the Utah 10 ended with a fumble. The Utes took over at their 1-yard line.

On second-and-2 from the 33, Tony Fields ran down Huntley for a sack. Huntley got shaken up and had to leave the game.

Veteran Troy Williams replaced Huntley and immediately hit Darren Carrington II for 40 yards on third-and-9. Utah eventually reached the 3-yard line. But a penalty, an overturned touchdown and Jace Whittaker’s defense on a third-down pass kept the Utes out of the end zone. Matt Gay’s 26-yard field goal, his second of the game, gave Utah a 13-3 lead.

Arizona answered with its best drive of the night. Shun Brown started it with a 22-yard run on an end-around. Dawkins connected with Tony Ellison for 24 yards on third-and-6. Dawkins finished it with a 1-yard keeper to make the score 13-10 with 1:39 left in the first half.

Carrington, Utah’s star receiver, has four receptions for 76 yards.


The Arizona Wildcats trail No. 23 Utah 10-3 after the first quarter of their game Friday night at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona’s defense put up little, if any, resistance on Utah’s first drive. The Utes went 73 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead. Three of Utah’s first five plays gained first downs. The sixth resulted in a touchdown – an 8-yard pass from Tyler Huntley to Samson Nacua.

The Wildcats responded with a field goal. Brandon Dawkins’ 9-yard scramble on third-and-8 and his 11-yard pass to Cedric Peterson advanced Arizona into scoring range. The drive stalled at the Utah 15. Josh Pollack’s 32-yarder made it 7-3.

Utah again advanced into Arizona territory on its second possession. But on second-and-6 from the 26, freshman Kylan Wilborn stripped Zack Moss. Wilborn then recovered the fumble.

The Wildcats couldn’t capitalize. The offense went three-and-out. Boobie Hobbs returned the ensuing punt 48 yards to the UA 28. Matt Gay’s 41-yard field goal made it 10-3.

Utah has 124 total yards to Arizona’s 61.

Huntley is 7 of 8 for 90 yards. Dawkins is 4 of 11 for 29 yards.

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Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.