Arizona rushes through Oregon State en route to school record performance
A season ago on senior night the Arizona Wildcats football team rushed for a school record 511 yards against ASU, this year on senior night they once again broke a school rushing record with 534 against Oregon State in a win, 49-28, at Arizona Stadium. The win moves Arizona to 7-3, 5-2 overall and firmly in control of a quality bowl bid.
The win was highlighted by the seniors on the team and showcased the dominance of the unsung heroes--the offensive line. Huge lanes were opened up by senior lineman Jacob Alsadek, Layth Friekh, Gerhard De Beer and Nathan Eldridge in their final game at Arizona Stadium.
"If I could stay here forever I definitely would do it, I mean I just feel like this has become so much of my life," Alsadek said. "...Just trying to enjoy every last minute, every second of it. I thank these guys up here and all you guys in this room for just always being here for me. It means a lot, I mean I have had some of the best memories of my whole life here."
Khalil Tate came into Saturday night’s football game against the visiting Beavers as a Heisman Trophy candidate, he left securing himself in the conversation as a possible winner as the Wildcats trounced the Beavers. Tate and the rest of the Wildcats used the run game to its full effect with the sophomore quarterback accounting for 208 of the record breaking yards.
Oregon State simply had no answer for not only Tate, but J.J. Taylor, Nick Wilson and Zach Green who in total accounted for all but two Arizona touchdowns on the evening.
The Wildcats held a 28-0 advantage going into the second half and although they allowed Oregon State to have a couple of scoring drives in the third quarter, they were able to keep the Beavers at bay on the strength of their offensive attack. One of those plays was a 71-yard sprint through the gaping OSU defense to a score by Tate which put him near 200 yards rushing on the night. He would eclipse that mark on the next drive.
Not to be left out was the improvement of the Arizona defense which had given up over 600 offensive yards in the past two games. Though they gave up more yards in the second half than the first, the contest was never in doubt. Arizona gave up a total of 360 total yards of offense, far less than the 600 plus yards they had given up in the past two games.
"When they started scoring, we started getting a little bit frustrated," freshman linebacker Colin Schooler said. "I thought we did well keeping our pose and just sticking to the game plan and not letting them scoring more points than we did."
For Taylor and Wilson, a return to the dominant rushing game was a fresh change of pace. The Wildcats had relied on Tate for a majority of its’ rushing yards in recent weeks, but the duo’s contribution relieved much of the pressure. Through three quarters Taylor and Wilson combined for 199 yards rushing on 23 carries. As a team Arizona had 451 as the third quarter ended. At the end of the night WIlson, playing his final home game, eclipsed the 100-yard mark on his final carry. He joined Tate and Taylor in the triple digit rushing yard club.
Backup quarterback Brandon Dawkins came in for Tate in the fourth quarter to up the total yards on the night. Dawkins led the Wildcats on their final score of the night, plunging into the end zone from four yards out, capping a relatively stress-free night for the Wildcats.
"He's helped a lot, every time I come to the sideline he tells me what he sees, what I could of done, what I should of done. It helps a lot," Tate said.
The last game at Arizona Stadium for the 2017 season won't go without some blemishes however. The attendance problem reared its ugly head as it was announced that 40,984 were in attendance with a little over 300 in the Zona Zoo come fourth quarter. It is a problem that hasn't affected the team, but they have noticed.
"If it had an effect we'd probably lose," Tate said in regards to the lack of fan support on Saturday night.
Arizona will now travel on the road for its’ final two games of the season, on the road next week at Oregon and then to ASU the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Currently, CBS Sports has Arizona projected to face Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
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