An anemic offensive start gave way to a second quarter Khalil Tate-lead scoring outburst that totaled a first half lead for the Arizona Wildcats against the Colorado Buffaloes. At halftime the score stands 26 to 24.
Lucas Havrisik would close the half with a 55-yard field goal to seal the halftime lead for the Cats.
Tate, who struggled to start the first quarter, went for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the half.
The Wildcats took the lead halfway through the second quarter after a Tate-engineered 82-yard drive that saw the quarterback drop long-balls into receivers hands, culminating with a three-yard pass to Shawn Poindexter to put UA up 17-10.
Colorado would answer with its own drive, going 89 yards down the field, capped by a tricky 17-yard completion between quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Kyle Evans to tie the game at 17 all.
Tate would return fire on the next drive, highlighted by a roll-out pass for a 12 yard touchdown pass by Tate to put the Wildcats up. Placekicker Josh Pollack would miss the extra point to end the quarter 23-17.
Colorado wasn't done, striking at the end of the second half for a 57-yard touchdown heartbreaker to end the half.
After an opening drive that saw Arizona punt, Colorado return man Ronnie Blackmon nearly took the ball to the house before being pushed out of bounds at the 'Cats 14-yard line for a 59-yard return. The Buffs were unable to convert the good field position into points, and turned the ball over on downs.
Early on, the Wildcat offense struggled to get going, with false-start penalties and an inability to establish a run or pass resulting in two consecutive three-and-out's.
On the other hand, Colorado — in particular senior quarterback Montez — moved the ball with ease throughout the first quarter.
Montez, who last year was overshadowed during Tate's Pac-12 record-breaking rushing performance of 327 yards, burned UA with his legs and arm in the beginning, evading tacklers and extending plays for numerous first downs. Montez finished the half with 209 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
The Buffs finally opened the scoring with an eight-yard rush by running back K.D. Nixon to make it 7-0. Instead of answering back strong, UA running back JJ Taylor fumbled the ball on the Arizona eight yard-line to set up another short field for the Buffs.
However, the 'Cats defense would come up big and hold the Buffs to a 25-yard field goal to limit the damage to 10-0.
Arizona's offense finally got going with two minutes to play in the first quarter, and Taylor appeared to run for an 18-yard touchdown before a holding penalty took the points away and pushed the Wildcats out of the redzone, forcing the 'Cats to settle for a Havrisik 49-yard field goal.
The second quarter was another story. After a Colorado possession that went nowhere, Tate and the Wildcats finally struck pay-dirt. Tate threw a 40-yard rocket to Stanley Berryhill for the score, tying the game at 10-10.
So effective scrambling in the first quarter, Montez found it a little more difficult in the second. Where plays were extended earlier, Montez found more resistance from UA defenders PJ Johnson, Colin Schooler and Tony Fields.
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