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SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION – ARIZONA

… Previews for CU’s opponents will be posted each week leading up to the start of Fall Camp … Previous posts: Oregon StateWashington StateNew HampshireNebraskaUCLAWashingtonCaliforniaUSC

 

2018 Game Nine – CU at Arizona – Friday, November 2nd 

Last game between the two schools … October 7, 2017 … Arizona 45, Colorado 42

Kahlil Tate set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback, going for 327 yards and four touchdowns (on only 14 carries), leading Arizona to a 45-42 victory in Boulder. Tate was also almost perfect through the air, completing 11-of-12 passes for 142 yards and another touchdown.

The loss wasted the efforts of senior running back Phillip Lindsay. On a night when Lindsay became CU’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards, Lindsay had 41 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns. Steven Montez went 19-for-32 for 251 yards and three touchdowns, including two to tight end Chris Bounds.

The teams were close in total yards (Arizona 567; Colorado 551) and first downs (Colorado 29; Arizona 25), but the Buffs committed 12 penalties for 110 yards … and couldn’t tackle Kahlil Tate, who didn’t even start the game.

“Could someone please tackle No. 14 [Khalil Tate] for Arizona?”, joked CU head coach Mike MacIntyre after the game, though no Buff fans were laughing. “That was the difference in the football game. He was amazing. He should be National Player of the Week. He’s a phenomenal player.”

… The full game story and You Tube video of the game, along with the essay for the game, “Broken (by Kahlil Tate)“, can be found here

 

2017 Arizona results – 7-6 (5-4 in Pac-12 play – lost 38-35 to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl)

– Returning starters, Offense: 8 … Returning starters, Defense: 9

 

– 2017 Arizona National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 5th … 41.3 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 74th … 28.2 points per game)

— Rushing – 3rd … 309.3 yards per game   (Colorado rushing defense – 108th … 208.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 100th … 180.2 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 94th … 242.6 yards per game)

— Total – 12th … 489.5 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 109th … 450.6 yards per game)

– 2017 Arizona National Rankings (Defense)

— Scoring – 108th … 34.4 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 81st … 26.4 points per game)

— Rushing – 85th … 185.1 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 74th … 157.2 yards per game)

— Passing – 123rd … 286.1 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 39th … 260.4 yards per game)

— Total – 118th … 471.2 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 48th … 417.6 yards per game)

 

Arizona storylines … 

– Not like we haven’t heard it before …

In case you missed it (and I know you haven’t), Arizona quarterback Kahlil Tate is in the running to become Arizona’s first-ever Heisman trophy winner, or, at the very least, Arizona’s first All-Pac-12 first-team quarterback since the Wildcats joined the Pac-8 to form the Pac-10 in 1978.

And Tate has the Buffs to thank for that.

Tate had played a minor role in the first four games of Arizona’s 2017 campaign, completing 5-of-9 passes for 41 yards, with 10 carries for 86 yards in mop-up duty against Northern Arizona and Houston.

Then, in Game Five in Boulder, starter Brandon Hawkins was taken out by a Buff defender, setting the stage for Tate’s heroics, detailed above.

Tate went on to become the Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week for an unprecedented four weeks in a row. Tate would finish the season (in basically eight games) with 1,411 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, averaging 9.2 yards per carry.

And now?

Lindy’s calls Tate “the most exciting player in college football”.

Mentioned in most Heisman trophy discussions, Tate will now be calling signals for new head coach Kevin Sumlin, who coached Johnny Manziel to the Heisman trophy at Texas A&M.

It will be up to the Pac-12 defensive coordinators to figure out how to corral Arizona’s talented quarterback this fall.

 

Players make plays

Rich Rodriguez did not exactly leave the cupboard bare for Kevin Sumlin.

Eight starters return on offense, including all of the wide receiver starters. Sophomore J.J. Taylor returns at running back, and will see the ball more often as Tate will be called upon less often to run the ball in Sumlin’s spread offense. Even with all of Tate’s antics, Taylor ran for 847 yards last season.

What Arizona lacked on offense was balance, with the Wildcats winding up 3rd in the nation in rushing (309.3 yards/game), but 100th in passing (180.2 yards/game). The leading receiver for Arizona is Shun Brown, who collected 43 receptions for 573 yards and six touchdowns in 2017.

If there is an issue for the Arizona offense, it is along the offensive line. with only two starters returning. The Wildcats are depending upon transfer Tshiyombu Lukusa and junior college transfer import Steven Bailey to provide experienced depth. If there are significant injuries along the offensive line, however, the Arizona offense may not be as explosive as predicted.

Arizona finished the season ranked 5th in the nation in scoring, posting 41.3 points/game. And yet, the Wildcats enter the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak, finishing with a 7-6 overall record.

How is that possible?

Easy … the Wildcats were also ranked 108th in scoring defense, surrendering 34.4 points per game.

Arizona returns nine starters on defense, which could be seen as either a blessing or a curse. The Wildcats are most susceptible at the cornerback position, where there are two decent starters in Lorenzo Burns and Jace Whittaker … but precious little depth behind them.

There is a promising young corps of linebackers, led by Tony Fields, who led the team in tackles (with 104) as a red-shirt freshman last fall.

The front line has been way too small in recent years, but the Wildcats (like the Buffs) have brought in big-bellied junior college transfers to try and shore up the defensive front. Transfer P.J. Johnson checked in at 315-pounds for his first spring in Tucson, while true freshman Mykee Irving (all 320 pounds of him) may play as a true freshman.

 

 

How the Buffs fit into the Wildcats’ 2018 schedule

It will be Friday night lights in Tucson when the Buffs come for a visit the first weekend of November.

One of the reasons Arizona is considered a dark-horse candidate to win its first Pac-12 title since 1993 is the Wildcats’ schedule. Arizona misses both Washington and Stanford in cross-over play, and the non-conference schedule is manageable. The Wildcats open with BYU at home (the Cougars were 4-9 last season), then take on a Houston (7-5) before returning home to face Southern Utah from the Big Sky Conference.

If Arizona can survive the three-game stretch leading up to CU’s visit, the Wildcats will be in good shape in the Pac-12 South. After a gauntlet of Utah and UCLA on the road, Arizona will face Oregon at home before facing the Buffs.

For its part, Colorado will becoming off of a game against an Oregon school as well. While the Wildcats are facing the Ducks, the Buffs will be hosting the Oregon State Beavers in Folsom six days before the two teams meet under the lights on November 2nd.

 

Bottom Line

When looking at Arizona, there are a number of reasons to be concerned.

There are also reasons for optimism.

The Wildcats were able to post a winning season in 2017 by out-scoring the opposition (witness the 45-42 win in Boulder). In the final five games of 2017, Arizona gave up an average of 41 points per game, going 1-4 (defeating only Oregon State).

Arizona’s offense can be good, if the quarterback and offensive line stay healthy (the same could be said for Colorado).

Arizona’s defense can be good, if some unproven talent along the defensive line lives up to its potential (the same could be said for Colorado).

Had Brandon Dawkins not been hurt against the Buffs, allowing Kahlil Tate to introduce himself to the college football world, the Buffs (who had their chances to defeat the Wildcats, even with Tate running wild) could have been a 6-6 team heading to a bowl last December, and Arizona might have been the team which ended up at 5-7.

The two teams are not all that far apart.

Yet, because Kahlil Tate took off after the CU matchup, while Buff quarterback Steven Montez leveled off, the prognosticators love Arizona, and hate Colorado.

Lindy’s has Arizona as the No. 34 team in the nation; Colorado comes in at No. 73.

Athlon has Arizona at No. 32; Colorado at No. 67.

You get the picture.

When the two teams meet, the 2018 season will be two-thirds complete.

Whether one – or both – of these teams is playing for a “November to Remember” remains to be seen.

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4 Replies to “Scouting the Opposition – Arizona”

  1. Worse display of HC and DC and OC coaching in-game decisions possibly in the history of the game. Mein Gott, this was the previous year COY. Don’t be fooled by that ” we had to run cause we knew they were gonna score” bullship.

    That was TunaMac covering his arse and “being what his record is” The DC wasn’t running that “bend and big-break defense” That was tuna2. And he was terrible jut like he was in the pac-12 championship game and the bowl game. He was living his dream……….and it’s not that BS video……….”You are my dream….where the fake tears roll down the cheeks……………That was him personified. He loved that 5 year OJT OC……Loyalty to stupidity is a short trip..Into the valley rode Mac2 and Earache and his 598 sheep. But he is gone now………….to the chagrin of the baaaaing of the
    earahcingloanofficergoofball……………

    Okay then, maybe Tuna2 is past that. Naybe not. We will see

    He had no clue. None. Then. Does he now?

    He sounds back to almost normal.

    I hope he is.

    Buffs.

    Go Big SEC come get you fish.

    Note: Beat that phony you made famous with your bend and break defense. Gawd that and you were disgusting. (Don’t be contradicting no captains that speak the truth. You lost the team right there.

    Note 2: Buffalo Frigging up dang nab it. (You too AZ……windmill champ)

    1. Agree that this game was the worst excuse of a defense all year…..ASU was a close second. Remember there were comments about not preparing for the backup etc..How about an adjustment during the game?
      What worries me is that the same players in the heart of the defense that allowed this to happen are back this year

    2. Boy was that a rambling post or not? Half of it I couldn’t even figure out. Must have been Chardonnay time at the VK residence a few hours ahead of writing that missive.

      VK, you’ve got to settle down as it isn’t even football season yet. You are writing like some Gonzo Author, or something. Hunter Thompson, and Tom Wolfe have all gone up to the big sky where the Buffaloes that William Cody dispatched roam.

      Are you having dreams about Bill Parcels? It seems like a lot of your late posts refer to him or are you really missing the TV ads that used to feature Charlie The Tuna. Whatever, calm down let’s see how all this develops.

      As usual I remain optimistic and particularly with changes made this off season, and hopefully due to maturity of some of the main players on the team. Oh by the way they removed the Windmill and put in a water hazard, probably the only one in Putt Putt history here in the US.

      1. Whoa, yur still upright. Unbelievable about the windmill.You might as well retire. Oh wait you are retired.

        Ya ol Charlie was a fine fish. Maybe he still is. That post wasn’t a ramble. It was a very organized commentary on everything that matters at this time.

        Hope you are doing well.

        Played the tips today. I am old. The only good thing is there were 3 drivable par 4’s at 220 to 240 yards. Only problem is they were par 3’s

        I may have to come join you on the forward tees eh?

        Buffalo Up

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