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SALT LAKE CITY — It's no secret that the Utes must prevail in each of their final two games to secure bowl eligibility. Arizona will come to town Saturday night before a road date with Colorado concludes Utah's 2012 regular season.
Utah's primary obstacle this Saturday will be slowing down Arizona's electric running back, Ka'Deem Carey.
Carey ran for a Pac-12-record 366 yards on 25 carries (14.6 yards per carry) for five touchdowns last weekend, leading the Wildcats to a 56-31 win over the hapless Colorado Buffaloes.
The Utah defense ranks No. 18 in the nation in rushing defense, giving up just 110.6 yards per game — despite getting roughed last week up by Washington running back Bishop Sankey, who torched the Utes for 162 yards.
That formidable Utah defensive front is led by Star Lotulelei, for whom the Wildcats will be making special preparations, according to ESPN's Kevin Gemmell.
"We don’t have any players that are similar to his size, strength and speed to emulate it in practice," Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez told Gemmell. "He has been a dominant player in this league for a couple of years and he will be a first-round draft pick. They will move him around as well and he won’t be lined up on the same person each time. Our guys up front have to watch the film and play with great leverage and intensity.”
The battle between the Utah defense and the Arizona rushing attack — more specifically Lotulelei vs. Carey — will be one to watch in the Utes' penultimate test toward bowl eligibility.
And with that, here is this week's Utah Utes national roundup:
— How many Pac-12 teams will go bowling? ESPN's poll points out that seven are already bowl eligible, with Utah and Arizona State still clinging to hope.
— Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller takes a quick look at the Pac-12 matchups for week 12.
— Also from Miller: Quarterback questions for Arizona, on whether or not its starter Matt Scott will be healthy to play Saturday night at Rice-Eccles.
— Scott's progress back to full health is going well, according to the Arizona Daily Star's Ryan Finley.
— While UA's rushing offense excels, its run defense has struggled, giving up over 500 yards over the past two weeks. The Wildcats must now take upon themselves the task of stopping Utah's White.
— CBS Sports' Jon Gold offers up a preview and prediction for Saturday's game.
Tyson Maddy has covered University of Utah athletics as a contributing writer for KSL.com Sports since 2011.