5 statistics that define Arizona's 0-2 start
Shawn Poindexter (19) misses the ball while playing the Houston Cougars on Sep 8. Poindexter had 7 catches during the game and racked up a total of 134 yards.
The 45-18 drubbing to Houston on Saturday put Arizona at 0-2 to begin the season, the first time the Wildcats have gone winless in the first two games since 1981. Given the high expectations that come with the arrival of new Head Coach Kevin Sumlin, losing the first two games has come as a shock to many.
Here is a closer look at the key numbers through the first eight quarters of the season.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate has averaged just 1.5 yards per carry so far after leading the nation with 9.2 ypc in 2017. All of Tate’s rushing numbers have been paltry through two games, because, when the junior has used his legs, he has not found much room to run.
Tate rushed eight times in the season opener against BYU and Sumlin said that he would utilize his quarterback’s mobility more heading into game two. However, Tate hurt his leg early in the first quarter at Houston and only managed eight rushing yards.
The way Tate’s skill set has been used through two games has been under scrutiny and his inability to provide a spark in the running game has severely hindered UA’s offense.
Another Tate statistic, but this one has to do with his arm. The Wildcat QB has only completed 41 of his 79 passes (52 percent). Tate’s completion percentage ranks last among 12 qualified Pac-12 quarterbacks.
Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone said this offseason that he planned to turn Arizona into a more passing-oriented unit, but the ‘Cats haven’t been efficient when going to the air.
Tate completed 62 percent of his throws last year and the expectation was that he had improved this summer. However, he has yet to show signs of growth as he continues to struggle in the intermediate passing game
Arizona’s defense continues to be the team’s Achilles heel. Through two games against non-Power 5 schools (BYU and Houston) here is the combined total of sacks and takeaways for Arizona: 0.
The Wildcats rank last in the Pac-12 in both categories, as Marcel Yates’s unit has been out muscled, especially in the trenches. Despite the claims that the defensive players had gotten bigger and stronger this offseason, they have yet to show it.
The Wildcats have also surrendered 21 points in a quarter to an opponent on two separate occasions. The first time came in the third quarter of the home opener versus BYU where the Cats were outscored 21-0. A week later, UA got punched in the mouth right out of the gate as Houston jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter..
Arizona’s offense is at its peak when Tate has success running the ball, but the Wildcats shouldn’t have as much difficulty running the ball as they currently do. A year after leading the Pac-12 with 309.3 rushing yards per game, the Cats are now averaging less than half that (139.5).
The offensive line’s run blocking has typically been one of the strengths of the team, but, with a new center in Josh McCauley and the absence of tackle Layth Friekh, Arizona has been a below-average running unit.
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