De Laura’s 3 Touchdown Passes Leads Arizona to 31-10 Win Over UTEP
Tucson, Ariz. (AP) - Jayden de Laura threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and Arizona’s defense shut down UTEP for a 31-10 win on Saturday night.
The Wildcats (2-1) bounced back from an overtime road loss to Mississippi State last week with a dominating defensive performance. Arizona forced the Miners (1-3) into a fumble, a turnover on downs and seven punts in 10 drives before scoring a late touchdown.
The Wildcats poured it on offensively after some shaky early moments, pushing an 11-point halftime lead to 28 early in the fourth quarter. De Laura led the way after throwing four interceptions last week, hitting 23 of 29 passes with no interceptions in Arizona’s 14th straight win over UTEP.
The Wildcats played a choppy first half against the Miners a week after turning it over five times against Mississippi State
Tetairoa McMillan turned a receiver screen into an 18-yard touchdown, but also lost a fumble near midfield. McMillan later had a spectacular one-handed, 37-yard catch to UTEP’s 32. The Miners blocked Tyler Loop’s 45-yard field goal to prevent Arizona from capitalizing.
Arizona looked sharp offensively on a closing 57-yard drive, taking a 14-3 halftime lead when Michael Wiley bulled in for a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Wildcats had a 333-159 advantage in total first-half yards.
While its defense continued to dominate, Arizona’s offense found its groove in the second half.
Loop kicked a 38-yard field goal on the Wildcats’ opening drive and Jonah Coleman broke off a 59-yard run on the next possession. De Laura kept the drive going by converting a third down with a flip throw to Wiley for a 15-yard gain, then found Jacob Cowing for a 2-yard touchdown reception.
Montana Lemonious-Craig put Arizona up 31-3 early in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass, three plays after Gunner Maldonado snatched the ball from UTEP running back Mike Franklin for a fumble recovery.
UTEP: The Miners kept it close in the first half against a Power Five opponent for the second straight week, only to wear down again in the second half.
Arizona: The Wildcats got in their own way through most of the first half before clicking late in the second half. A strong game from de Laura was just what they needed to bounce back from last week’s loss.
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