Jedd Fisch explains decision to throw late touchdown in win over Utah
Jedd Fisch wanted to give quarterback Jayden de Laura a chance to produce a highlight play late in Arizona’s win over Utah. That’s why the Wildcats called a pass with 41 seconds left in a 35-18 game.
The throw from de Laura to Tetairoa McMillan went for 51 yards and a touchdown. It gave Arizona a 42-18 lead that eventually became the final score. It also ignited a hot conversation between Utah and Arizona fans.
The Utes had no timeouts left. It looked like Fisch running up the score.
THAT'S IT, THAT'S THE TWEET.
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— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) November 18, 2023
“The score was 35-10, they drove down, they wanted to keep trying to score, and that’s the job of the offense is to try to score. That’s what they wanted to do and I don’t blame them. I think that was great that they tried to do that, and they did it, and then they got the 2-point play … and then they went for an onside kick with 43 seconds left, down 17 points,” Fisch said.
“I wanted Jayden to go out with a touchdown pass this season. I think that he deserves that. And I thought it was awesome that on what could be a Senior Day for him — doesn’t have to be, but could be a senior day. As a senior and as a captain, I thought it was pretty awesome that he could go out there and throw a touchdown.”
Utah ran 90 plays in the game. They ran 39 plays in the fourth quarter alone — 24 of them passes — trying to extend the game.
To put that into context, Utah ran more plays in the fourth quarter than Arizona did in the second, third, and fourth quarters combined.
With the emergence of Noah Fifita, de Laura effectively lost his starting job because of an injury. He started the first four games for the UA this season and, if not for an injury at Stanford, Arizona might never have gone to Fifita.
Doing so changed Arizona’s season, and de Laura has been a major supporter of Fifita’s ever since. Depending on how the next few weeks go, it’s possible that pass could be the last for de Laura as a Wildcat.