UA Wide Receivers Grateful for QB Khalil Tate as Cats gear up fo - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

UA Wide Receivers Grateful for QB Khalil Tate as Cats gear up for USC tonight

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Arizona Wide continue to praise the passing ability of QB Khalil Tate.  Here's more from the KVOA sportscast:

Here's more from Arizona Athletics:

Fresh off a perfect 4-0 October, the 23rd ranked Arizona Wildcats will head to USC to take the 17th-ranked Trojans. Game time is set for 7:45 p.m., and will be televised by ESPN. Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich will have the call. 

Below is a full preview:
Some Game Themes: The saying goes: "you remember the games you win in November." … Well, November is here, and the Wildcats hope their October momentum carries over into the final month of the regular season … If Arizona's redemption tour is to continue, it would include upsetting a Trojans' team that sapped the spirit of the Wildcats a year ago (48-14 rout in UA's Family Weekend game) and spiraled an eventual eight-game losing streak out of control. Now Arizona has a four-game win streak and an entirely different trajectory for its program regardless of this week's outcome ... Yet, plenty is at stake this week and the storylines are quite simple. The winner solidifies leading position as the only 1-loss conference team in the Pac-12 South race. A head-to-head victory over the other also looms large should any tie-breakers be needed down the road … More presently, it's a top-25 matchup that was unexpected just a few weeks ago. Arizona's four-game win streak has earned a No. 23 ranking in the AP Poll, while USC boasts the No. 17 spot following a convincing road win at Arizona State last week. This so happens to be the first time a ranked Arizona squad has entered the Coliseum since 1994, and it's the first time these programs have both been ranked at the time of their meeting since 1995 … All eyes will be on the quarterbacks, who were both named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award this week. USC's Sam Darnold is proven commodity, one that has drawn consideration for all the of the top individual honors. His counterpart, Khalil Tate, has needed little time – only four weeks, in fact – to throw his name in the mix for some of those honors. But each quarterback is focused solely on one thing: leading his team to victory … From that standpoint, plenty more will go into this showdown. Which team can limit mistakes? Which team plays the most disciplined? Which team is the most physical? … USC reestablished a pounding ground attack with Ronald Jones last week, and Jones has enjoyed success against the Wildcat defense in recent years. However, the Arizona defense, while not dominant, has shown different edge this season. It's scrappy and opportunistic, forcing 19 turnovers, including 10 over the last three contests … A #Pac12AfterDark scene will be boosted by a Homecoming atmosphere for the Trojans, who have yet to lose at the Coliseum this season … This is big boy football and the type of game every program wants to play this time of year. See you Saturday night under the LA lights.

Last Week: Arizona capped a perfect October with its first win over a ranked opponent in two seasons at it upset then-No. 15 Washington State, 58-37, last Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The final score is a bit misleading for the back-and-forth nature of the game, but it's still indicative of how the Wildcats always seemed to have one more counter-punch for every Cougar jab. After Arizona's seemingly comfortable two-score lead was cut to a mere six points by a late first-half touchdown, true freshman kicker Lucas Havrisik drilled a school record-tying 57-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 23-14 advantage at halftime of their Homecoming game. But two quick WSU touchdowns and a couple Arizona turnovers seemed to have flipped momentum the way of the visitors in the third quarter. Facing their first deficit of the game, 27-23, Arizona quickly responded with a dose of running back J.J. Taylor. The freshman's 62-yard run was followed by a 3-yard touchdown, and UA had a lead again in two plays. Arizona never looked back … Cougar quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who took over for starter Luke Falk late in the first half, had rallied his team to three touchdown drives. But now facing the 30-27 deficit, he threw interceptions on the next two possessions. The latter, picked off by Jace Whittaker, came in the back of the endzone to thwart a potential go-ahead score. Arizona again capitalized in two plays. Taylor's 1-yard run was followed by a 79-yard burst for a touchdown and a 10-point lead … The Cougars would draw within a touchdown on Erik Powell's 56-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but it was all Wildcats thereafter … Quarterback Khalil Tate's 49-yard touchdown run capped another quick-strike, three-play drive for a 44-30 lead. Then, true freshmen linebacker Colin Schooler intercepted Hilinski again, returning it 66 yards for a touchdown to effectively put the game away … When it was all said and done, it was a 58-37 win for the Wildcats. Youngsters starred all over the field, again. Taylor, a freshman has 153 yards for his first triple-digit game of the year. Redhsirt freshman tight end Jamie Nunley has two catches for a career-best 116 yards, including a48-yard touchdown. True freshmen linebackers Colin Schooler and Tony Fields IIcombined for 19 tackles and two interceptions for a defense that totaled four picks of Hilinski. And then there was Tate, the three-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. The sophomore rushed for 146 yards on 13 carries and passed for a career-high 275 yards and two scores on just 17 attempts. His 421 yards on 30 attempts produced a school-record 14.03 yards per play (min. 25 attempts). It was a happy Homecoming to be sure.

Cats Return to National Rankings: Arizona makes its first appearance in the AP Top 25 since September 2015. The Wildcats' debut in the poll finds them at No. 23 this week as they head to No. 17 USC. Arizona also cracked the rankings at No. 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll. The first College Football Playoff rankings will be will be exclusively revealed on ESPN's College Football Playoff: Top 25 show, live at 4 p.m. (MST) on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Arizona has an all-time record of 87-48-1 when playing as a ranked team, including a 34-23-1 record in road games.

Tate's Statement Month: Khalil Tate introduced himself to the college football world with 327 rushing yards at Colorado on Oct. 7. That set an FBS single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The rest of his month was pretty good, too, as he finished October with 840 rushing yards – the most by any FBS player in the month of October in the last 10 years. He averaged an astounding 14.2 yards per rush in October and had seven runs of 70 yards or longer (no FBS player has done that in 10 years, either). Already this season, Tate has eight runs of at least 40 yards. To reference that, Lamar Jackson had only six such runs in his Heisman campaign season a year ago. Here's a look at Tate's breakout month of October:
                                      RUSHING           PASSING            TOTAL OFFENSE
OPPONENT                 Att-Yards-TD      C-A-YDS-TD        Plays-Yads-YD
at Colorado                14-327-4               12-13-154-1        27-481-5
UCLA                          15-230-2               9-13-148-1           28-378-3
at California               17-137-1               10-15-166-2        32-303-3
vs. Wash. St.              13-146-1               10-17-743-2        30-421-3
Total                            59-840-7               41-58-743-6        117-1,583-14
Avg./Play                    14.2 ypc               12.8 ypp              13.5 ypp
Avg./Game                 210.0 ypg            185.8 ypg            395.8 ypg

Tate Named Maxwell Award Semifinalist: 
Despite only three starts and playing in six of Arizona's eight games, Khalil Tate's four-game stretch of spectacular play has earned him recognition as a semifinalist for one of college football's most prestigious honors. On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday morning Tate as one of 18 semifinalists for the 81st Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year.Tate is among one of four sophomores on the list and one of four Pac-12 players to be included, along with Oregon's Royce Freeman, Stanford's Bryce Love and USC's Sam Darnold. In three starts and six games played, Tate has rushed for 926 yards and eight touchdowns on 69 attempts. He's averaging 13.4 yards per carry and 154.3 yards per game, which is third-best in the country. He's passed for 784 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 69 percent of his passes.

FWAA Team of the Week: For the first time since 2010, Arizona has been named the Football Writers Association of America National Team of the Week Quarterback. Khalil Tate had a fourth straight masterful performance and the Wildcats kept pace with the leaders of the Pac-12 South with a resounding 58-37 win over No. 15 Washington State on Saturday. For its first win over a ranked team since 2015, Arizona (6-2) has earned the FWAA weekly honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 28. The win was Arizona's fourth straight in Pac-12 play. The Wildcats' last win over a ranked opponent came on Nov. 14, 2015, a 37-30 double-overtime win over No. 10 Utah.

Tate Named Pac-12 POW Record-Setting Fourth Time: Quarterback Khalil Tate has been named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth consecutive week. No player in conference history has been honored four straight weeks and former USC quarterback Matt Barkley is the only other Pac-12 player to win the award four times in a season. Tate's latest honor comes after he totaled 421 yards and three touchdowns in a 58-37 upset of No. 15 Washington State last week. Tate passed for a career-high 275 yards and two scores, while adding 146 yards and a touchdown on the ground. On his 30 total offense attempts (17 passing, 13 rushing), Tate set a school-record by averaging 14.03 yards per play (for players with a minimum 25 attempts).

Havrisik Named Pac-12 Special Teams POW: True freshman kicker Lucas Havrisik was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the upset of No. 15 Washington State last Saturday. On only his second career field goal attempt, Havrisik drilled a 57-yarder before halftime to give the Wildcats a 23-14 lead. The kick tied for the longest in school history with Josh Prasuhn's 57-yarder made against Pacific on Sept. 2, 1995. Havrisik's big leg also boomed nine of 10 kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks, with the lone return allowed mustering only 13 yards.

Bowl Bound: The Wildcats have achieved bowl eligibility by the end of October with four regular season games remaining. It marks the fifth time in Rich Rodriguez's six seasons that the Wildcats have been bowl-eligible. Last season, an injury-riddled and depleted roster struggled to a 3-9 clip as Arizona missed out on a bowl berth for only the second time in nine seasons. Now, at 6-2, the Wildcats are essentially assured of a post-season destination for their eighth bowl game in the last decade. Arizona's recent bowl trips include the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl (win vs. BYU), 2009 Holiday Bowl (loss vs. Nebraska), 2010 Alamo Bowl (loss vs. Oklahoma State), 2012 New Mexico Bowl (win vs. Nevada), 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl (win vs. Boston College), 2014 Fiesta Bowl (loss vs. Boise State) and the 2015 New Mexico Bowl (win vs. New Mexico).

Points, Points and More Points: Through eight games this season, Arizona has scored 360 points. That's the highest total for the Wildcats through eight games since joining the Pac-10/Pac-12 in 1978. It's the highest total overall for the Wildcats since Arizona had 418 points in its first eight games in 1921. The Wildcats opened that season with an 84-13 win over Bisbee Legion to give you an idea of the opponents and also faced New Mexico Junior College and the Phoenix Indians. The 360 points are more than the Wildcats scored in any season from 2002 to 2006. Arizona's highest total in that span was 252 total points scored in 11 games in 2005. The Wildcats also failed to eclipse the 300-point mark in 12 games last season, scoring 297 points in 12 games. The most points the Wildcats have scored in a season under coach Rich Rodriguez is 496 points in 2012.

Most Points Through Eight Games in Pac-10/12 era

Points Scored Year
360 2017
334 2015
315 2014
293 2008
277 1983

45 or More: The Wildcats have posted 45 or more points in four straight games for the first time since in program history. In 1920, Arizona scored 45 or more in three straight games, but the program had never reached four games prior to this season. Arizona, currently riding a four-game winning streak, scored 45 points against Colorado, 47 against UCLA, 45 against California and 58 against Washington State. While the Wildcats have scored 45 or more in four straight, no other Pac-12 team has more than three such games the entire season. Arizona has scored 45 or more six times total this season. Combined, the rest of the Pac-12 South has scored 45 or more seven total times, with UCLA as the tops with three games. On the season, Arizona is averaging exactly 45.0 points per game, which leads the Pac-12 and is third in the country.

Top Scoring Teams in the Country

School Games Points Points Per Game
Central Florida 7 357 51.0
Ohio State 8 370 46.3
Arizona 8 360 45.0
Oklahoma State 8 356 44.5
Alabama 8 344 43.0

Teams With 47 or More Touchdowns This Season

School Number of Touchdowns
Ohio State 49
Central Florida 48
Arizona 47

In a Rush: Through eight games, Arizona is fifth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 342.7 yards per game. The Wildcats are behind traditional option teams Navy, Army and Georgia Tech. Perhaps more impressively, Arizona is averaging 7.01 yards per carry, which is the second-highest total in the country for a team with 250 or more carries. Notre Dame is averaging 7.06 yards per carry on 315 totes. All total, Arizona has 2,399 rushing yards, joining Navy, Army, Air Force and Alabama as the only teams in the country to surpass the 2,300-yard mark on the season already. At 342 rushes, the Wildcats have the fewest carries for a team already over the 2,300-yard mark.

Highest Yard Per Carry for Teams with 300 or more rushes

School Rushes Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry
Arizona 376 2,709 7.20
Notre Dame 369 2,543 6.89
Alabama 377 2,390 6.34
Florida Atlantic 376 2,367 6.30
Army 466 2,897 6.22

Most Rushing Touchdowns in the Country
T1. Arizona: 32
T1. Florida Atlantic: 32
T3. Army: 31
T3. Air Force: 31
T3. Tulsa: 31

Most Rushing Touchdowns by Arizona in Pac-10/12 Era

Rushing TDs Year Total Rushing Yards
36 2014 3,444
34 1998 2,567
33 2008 2,059
33 2012 2,961
32 2017 (through 8 games) 2,709

Jumpin' Jace: Junior cornerback Jace Whittaker started his 15th straight game Saturday night versus Washington State. Whitaker notched his third interception of the season Saturday against the Cougars and now has three interceptions over the last three games. Whittaker had two interceptions against UCLA, and returned one for a touchdown. After notching a pass breakup against Cal, Whittaker picked off his third past of the season against Washington State, and broke up another pass. The junior from Oceanside, Calif., leads Arizona with nine pass breakups this season. For his career, Whittaker has 24 career pass breakups, which is tied with Martin Rudolph for 15th all-time with 24 pass breakups. He's also tied for second in the Pac-12 in passes defended with nine pass breakups and three interceptions for a total of 12 passes defended.

Passes Defended Leaders in the Pac-12

Name School Passes Defended Passes Defended Per Game
Arrion Springs Oregon 14 1.56
Jace Whittaker Arizona 12 1.50
Isaiah Oliver Colorado 12 1.50
Jack Jones USC 11 1.22
Uchenna Nwosu USC 10 1.11

A Dane-dy Weapon: Prior to the season, senior Dane Cruikshank moved positions, switching from the boundary cornerback spot to the "Spur" safety spot for the Wildcats. The position change seems to have agreed with Cruikshank, who started all 12 games for the Wildcats a year ago. Cruikshank picked off his first pass of the season against UCLA and now has three career picks in two seasons. He followed that up with a season-high nine tackles against Cal and his first pass breakup of the season. The senior from Southern California then had eight tackles and a pass breakup against Washington State. Cruikshank didn't have any tackles-for-loss in his first 11 games as a Wildcat, but has 4 1/2 over his last nine games after notching one in last year's season finale against Arizona State. Cruikshank has 43 tackles in eight games for the Wildcats this season.
Can't Burn Him: Redshirt freshman Lorenzo Burns is enjoying the best stretch of his young career. In Arizona's four October games, Burns had one pass breakup in each of the four games and picked off two passes, notching one each in back-to-back games against California and Washington State. Burns has 32 tackles over his past four games in October and has 53 total tackles on the season. Burns is tied for the team lead in interceptions with Jace Whittaker and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles with three. The trio of Wildcats are tied for third in the league, averaging 0.38 interceptions per game. Burns is second to teammate Tony Fields for most tackles by a freshman in the Pac-12 with 53 stops.

Lorenzo Burns' Last 4 Games

Opponent Tackles Interceptions Pass Breakups
at Colorado 10 0 1
UCLA 6 0 1
at California 12 1 1
Washington State 4 1 1
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