Notebook: On new rushing record, senior send-off and seven pass attempts
Think the 2016 Territorial Cup game was impressive? Check this stat line out
Arizona football’s road of redeeming bad losses from a season ago continued last night as it handedly ran past the Oregon State Beavers 49-28. The Wildcats flipped the script from 2016 when they were blown out 42-17 in Corvallis. This time, Arizona put on a masterful ground display to the tune of a new school record with 534 yards.
Arizona’s seventh win of the season keeps them at second place in the Pac-12 South with a 5-2 conference record. This marks only the second time under head coach Rich Rodriguez that UA has won at least five conference games in a season.
However, because the USC Trojans also defeated Colorado on Saturday, Arizona is mathematically eliminated from winning the Pac-12 South. Still, should the Wildcats win out, a quality bowl game appearance will be in play.
Here are some other noteworthy takeaways from Arizona’s victory over Oregon State:
Ground and pound:
Yes, it is impressive that Arizona bulldozed its way to a new school record in rushing for a game, but what stands out most is the level of involvement in the running game.
UA had a total of 10 players get a least one carry and three of those players went over 100 yards. All seven of Arizona’s scores on the night came via the ground game.
Sophomore quarterback, and now cemented Heisman candidate, Khalil Tate burst open for 206 rushing yards and two scores on just 16 attempts, one of which included a 71-yard sprint to the end zone.
Senior Nick Wilson re-emerged as a key cog in the backfield gaining 101 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 17 carries. It was a fitting stat line for Wilson’s last home game after he had battled a variety of injuries the last few years.
J.J. Taylor also had his name called throughout the night as the elusive back tallied 129 yards on the ground, one of which included a 56-yard scamper.
The Wildcats have a history of sending their seniors off with a win in the final home game under Rich Rodriguez and that continued with their fifth straight win on senior night.
“I’m just really and happy and proud for our seniors. They are a great class and great group of young men,” Rodriguez said. “They have a given a lot to this program, and I hope this is a night they remember for the rest of their lives.”
Senior offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek also reminisced about his time at Arizona.
“I just don’t want it to end. It’s a weird feeling,” Alsadek said. “People bring it up. It’s your last time doing this, this and this. It started weighing on me. Just happy to be where we’re at right now and looking forward to these next three games, putting us in the best possible place we can be.”
No need for passing:
The joke of Arizona not attempting a second half pass in the 2016 Territorial Cup resurfaced against the Beavers as the Wildcats attempted only seven passes all game and only attempted one in the second half.
But when Arizona averages 9.7 yards per carry, as they did against OSU, there isn’t much of a need for an aerial assault.
Oregon up next:
The ‘Cats will hit the road for the next two weeks to complete their regular season schedule. Next week is a trip to Eugene to take on the 5-5 Oregon Ducks who have just two conference wins this season.
Game time will be 5:00 p.m. Tucson time and will air on the Pac-12 Network.
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