Halftime analysis: UA-ASU

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat Arizona runningback J.J. Taylor (21) gets tackled by Arizona State defensiveback Chad Adams (21) during the UA-ASU territorial cup game on Nov. 25 at the Sun Devil Stadium.

Daily Wildcat editor Saul Bookman said pregame that if Tate has over 100 rushing yards in the first half, Arizona will win. He is 10/11 with 127 yards in the air, but only 31 yards on the ground, but Arizona is leading by ten at the half. 

Arizona still has three rushing td's, but none by Tate. Arizona State is refusing to let Tate beat them on the ground so he has beat them in the air. Arizona is averaging 12.7 yards per completion, because ASU is committing a member of their secondary to spy on Tate, meaning that his sole job is to make sure he’s in position to tackle Tate if and when he scrambles. That takes away a safety from helping the Sun Devil cornerbacks with coverage. Kahlil Tate was perfect in the air in the first half outside of a last second hail mary which could be costly, Tate was slow to get up following the final play of the first half. This was also because Arizona’s pass protection was the best it has been all season. Tate wasn’t sacked. 

Arizona still had a successful ground attack in the first half. UA ran for 124 yards on 29 carries. The attention paid to Tate helped the running backs find holes. The effectiveness of the play action pass demanded attention on both Tate and the running back until one shows that he has the ball. This stretched the defense laterally, opening up gaping holes for Arizona’s backs.

The Arizona defense also looked good, but had glaring weaknesses. The Arizona pass rush was great, forcing two sacks. The front seven also held ASU to only 35 yards on the ground in 20 attempts. However, Manny Wilkins had 132 yards in the air, with a long of 48. Wilkins has had success between the Arizona safeties when they play two back. Also, Arizona is giving ASU receivers room off the line, which has allowed Wilkins short completions.


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