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AP: 9bfcc1eb-a519-435d-b7f0-851df43c598a
Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey (25) tries to out run the reach of Utah's Jared Norris (41) in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Wily Low)
The Arizona Wildcats entered Saturday's game against the Utah Utes looking at a three-game stretch that would likely decide their postseason future.

Consider the first test passed.

The Wildcats (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12) held on for a 35-24 win in Tucson behind another monster game from running back Ka'Deem Carey and opportunistic performance by the defense.

The UA offense racked up 468 total yards of offense -- 300 of which came on the ground -- while holding Utah to 329 total yards. The Wildcats converted on 12 of 20 third downs while holding Utah to a 5-of-18 conversion rate.

THE GOOD

Carey was his typical hard-running self, picking up 236 yards and a score on a school-record 40 carries.

Quarterback B.J. Denker played one of his better games of the season, completing 18-of-30 passes for 168 yards and a score, and giving the Wildcats' offense a level of balance it had yet to achieve this season.

The Arizona receiving corps made a few downfield plays, and the Wildcats' defense held its own, recording three sacks and forcing 2 turnovers, including a pick-six by linebacker Marquis Flowers to put the UA ahead 14-7.

THE BAD

Carey lost a fumble at the Arizona 39-yard line with 7:05 to play, giving Utah a chance to take the lead. But Arizona's defense held and Utah kicker Andy Phillips missed a 40-yard field goal -- his second miss of the game after entering the contest perfect on the season.

But in an all-around well-played game, the Wildcats still had a few other costly miscues. The Arizona defense allowed a number of gashing plays, including a flea-flicker that went 55 yards for a touchdown, and punt returner Johnny Jackson muffed a pair of kicks -- one of which was recovered by Utah.

Jake Smith also had an extra point blocked, though the Wildcats made up for that by later converting on a two-point conversion.

WHAT'S NEXT

Arizona travels to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes Saturday at 5 p.m.

Alex Williams,

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