We get what should be an entertaining edition of Pac-12 After Dark on Saturday night, as the Arizona Wildcats travel to USC for a showdown with the Trojans. Rich Rodriguez is seeking another hallmark victory, after his team made easy work of Washington State a week ago. A coach who was on the hot seat, Rich Rod, is breathing a sigh of relief because of one guy. Kahlil Tate has taken college football by storm, infusing his unbelievable speed with his arm on the field.
He has the speed of a Pat White and Denard Robinson, but is bigger than both of those guys. Tate also has a better arm from what I’ve seen than White and Robinson. White and Robinson were all speed, Tate adds another element to his game, an accurate arm. And yes, he’s faster than Lamar Jackson. The only guy left I can draw a comparison to is Michael Vick. He will undoubtedly need to improve his arm strength before he gets on Vick’s level, but he’s heading in the right direction. The last Tate, Rich Rodriguez had, was Tate Forcier at Michigan. Kahlil Tate seems to be working out a little better thus far.
Tate has only started three games, and is already garnering Heisman attention. Is that a realistic assertion for Tate? The Wildcats are 6-2, so say they don’t lose again and he continues on his torrid pace, I’d have to say he at least gets an invite from the committee. Next year should be his money year, where his face is on the national spotlight. I will say this, Kahlil Tate saved Rich Rod’s job for the time being. This has really been the kind of quarterback he’s been searching for since Denard Robinson. It takes a unique talent to be able to run the offense effectively.
He appears to have the “it” factor. This is going to be the biggest game of his young career. Tate is from the Los Angeles area, so this is a homecoming of sorts for him. He got an offer from USC, but opted to go play at Arizona. Washington State also sent him an offer, so he’ll look to make two of his potential suitors looking silly back-to-back. USC have a favorable matchup in the vertical game, though, so it should make for a good one. Head below for our free Arizona vs. USC pick.
Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans Betting Odds:
vs. USC -7(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Arizona vs. USC Pick:
In his first appearance this season, Tate broke the FBS record for most rushing yards with the lowest amounts of attempts. It took Tate just 14 attempts to rush for a staggering 327 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing. He also added a touchdown through the air on 12-of-13 passing. Tate has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his following three starts. In just four games, he’s already accumulated 926 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns for an average of 13.4 yards per carry.
What the Trojans have to do is put a spy on Tate. In other words, have a linebacker mimic his every move. If they do this right, it will limit his ability to pull off big runs on the read option. However, problem is, Tate can throw the ball too, and has hurt defenses off a fake to a receiver or tight end across the middle of the field. Let me say, scoring 58 points on the Washington State defense is not easy. The Cougars are underrated on defense, and Arizona made them look like an FCS defense. Helping Tate this week, will be Nick Wilson in the backfield. Wilson hasn’t seen full game action since UCLA, where he ran for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. The last time we saw the USC defense against a good mobile quarterback was the Notre Dame game. Notre Dame scored 49 points and Brandon Wimbush rushed for 106 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Aiding USC in this game, is going to be the Arizona defense. Notably, their pass defense is horrendous, and their starting safety is questionable to play. The Wildcats are 128th, 3rd last in the nation against the pass, allowing 300.6 yards per game through the air. I see this as a stat-filler game for Sam Darnold, who was on track against Arizona State last week. Darnold passed for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look for 3 or 4 touchdowns from him. Tate will get his in this one, but I just don’t see how the Arizona defense is going to take away the USC offense. Points should be easy to come by, with a 45-38 final looking probable. The OVER is worth a look on Saturday night.
PICK: OVER 75 (-110)