ARIZONA COACHES SELECT WEEKLY PLAYER NODS
The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) earned a road win at Utah, 34-24, on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Each week, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff will select Player of the Week honorees based on performance leading up to and including the game each week. The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) earned a road win at Utah, 34-24, on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Offense: Austin Hill, Sophomore, Receiver
A Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, given to the nation’s top receiver, Hill turned in another big game, and with it some crucial catches, to help lead Arizona to a 34-24 road victory at Utah. He hauled in six catches for 96 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, helping clinch a bowl berth for the Wildcats.
All six of Hill’s receptions resulted in first downs, including three on third-and-long situations. Two of the biggest grabs came in the second half. With Arizona trailing by seven and facing a third-and-11, Hill hauled in a 19-yard pass from Matt Scott to move the chains and keep the eventual game-tying drive alive. On UA’s next possession, the Wildcats faced a third-and-seven at Utah’s 18-yard line, and Hill turned a first-down completion into an 18-yard touchdown reception for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Hill’s game improved his season totals to 68 receptions for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. His yardage total ranks second in the Pac-12 and No. 9 nationally, while ranking as the fifth-most yards in single-season school history. His eight touchdown grabs rank tied for 10th-most in single-season school history. He is averaging 16.5 yards per reception on the season, which is actually a yard-and-half more than USC’s Marqise Lee, the conference leader in receiving yards.
Defense: Marquis Flower, Junior, Linebacker
Flowers led Arizona with 11 total tackles, including one for loss, as the Wildcats pitched a fourth-quarter shutout to help clinch a bowl berth in last Saturday’s 34-24 win over Utah.
Flowers and the Wildcats’ defense held Utah to just 93 yards of offense, including 14 on the ground, in the decisive fourth quarter when UA outscored the Utes, 17-0. In the fourth quarter, Utah converted just one-of-five third-down opportunities, while the Wildcats thwarted four-of-five fourth-down conversion tries in the game.
On the season, Flowers ranks second on the team and seventh in the Pac-12 with 86 tackles. He is the Wildcats’ leader in both tackles for loss (12) and sacks (5.5). He has added two interceptions and three forced fumbles to go with three pass breakups.
Special Teams: Kylan Butler, Junior, Running Back
While Butler doesn’t show up with any return yards or offensive stats, he delivered perhaps the biggest play of the game early in the fourth quarter to swing the momentum firmly in the Wildcats’ favor.
With Arizona and Utah knotted at 24-24, the Utes tried a fake punt on fourth-and-six from their own 39-yardline. The play was set up perfectly as punter Sean Sellwood completed a pass over the middle to Mike Honeycutt, who needed only to turn up field for four more yards to pick up a first down. However, Butler, a regular on UA’s punt block/return unit, sniffed out the play and tracked down Honeycutt from behind to make his first and only tackle of the season, thwarting the Utes’ attempt to regain momentum.
Four plays later, Arizona punched in a touchdown to take a 31-24 lead and never looked back, going on to win 34-24.
From the scout team, freshman receiver R.J. Aguero on offense, junior linebacker Tyler Ermisch on defense and junior running back Terris Jones on special teams were also honored for their efforts during the Utah game preparations.
The Wildcats will wrap the regular season and host the Sun Devils of ASU in the Territorial Cup on Fri., Nov. 23. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. MT and the game will air nationally on ESPN. To purchase tickets, call 520-621-CATS, visit the McKale Ticket Office or purchase online at ArizonaWildcats.com.
For continued coverage of Arizona football, visit ArizonaWildcats.com.