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Arizona vs. Utah: Wildcats need to 'swarm to the ball' to improve run defense

The Arizona Wildcats are second-to-last in the Pac-12 in run defense, and they expect the Utah Utes to run the ball from the get-go.

Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona Wildcats fully expect the Utah Utes to run the football against them when the two teams meet Saturday in Salt Lake City, and there's good reason for that. The Wildcats rank 11th in the Pac-12 and 91st in the country in run defense.

Rich Rodriguez joked to the Arizona Daily Star's Ryan Finley that the defense isn't going to grow in size and speed overnight. So they can only go in with the mentality of swarming the football and Utes running back John White IV. Said Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer to the Star:

"People have to knuckle down and be ready to play this week, or we're going to get exposed," Fischer said. "Its all about desire and knowing what you have to do; if you know what you have to do, you can play all-out."

The Wildcats have given up bushels of yardage in its past two games, a 66-10 loss to the UCLA Bruins and a closer-than-comforting 56-31 win against the lowly Colorado Buffaloes.

Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin went for 162 yards as UCLA piled up 308 total yards on the ground against Arizona before the anemic CU offense got going last week, rushing for 224 yards despite being the 112th-best rushing team in the nation.