The Pac-12 is showcased in the late game with the Arizona Wildcats meet the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City. The Khalil Tate show, a guy who came into the season as a Heisman hopeful, has fallen hard down to earth. From October on in 2018, Tate was the most dynamic college football player in the country. Then he got injured and his engine began to sputter in the final two games of the season.
He didn’t look the same against Arizona State in their rivalry game, and we haven’t seen the same Tate since. His most dangerous asset are his legs. However, from a combination of things, like the injury slowing his running ability down, and defenses better prepared for their offense, Tate hasn’t been able to find room. Holes that he would have ran straight through last season, only go for 3 or 4 yards now.
Without Tate running around on the field, the Wildcat offense has become very predictable. It’s imperative to have a quarterback that can run effectively. Tate isn’t slow by any means, but he doesn’t have the extra gear that we witnessed last season. He found an opening and boom he was off for 50 yards down the field. That hasn’t been the case this season and his Heisman dreams are long out the door. Arizona enters with a record of 3-2, with wins over Cal, Oregon State, and Southern Utah. The win against Cal was easily their best victory of the year. Oregon State ranks with the worst teams in the country, while Southern Utah plays in the Big Sky.
Cal were just coming off a matchup against Oregon. It could have been argued that Cal were still thinking about that game and didn’t come totally prepared to play. The defense won the game for them, as Arizona limited the Golden Bears to just 17 points. With the offense sputtering this season, the Wildcats will need to get more performances like that out of the defense. Arizona will have to figure it out against a solid Utah defense on the road on Friday night. We’ll see what Kevin Sumlin draws up. Head below for our free Arizona vs. Utah pick on Friday night in the Pac-12.
Arizona Wildcats vs. Utah Utes NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Utah -13.5(-115)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Arizona vs. Utah Pick:
Tate’s production has tailed off significantly. Consider that he rushed for 1,411 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago. In 2018, he’s ran for only 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tate is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry thus far. He was averaging nearly 10 yards per touch just a season ago. There were several games that he eclipsed 109 yards in just a half of play. This season has been a struggle for him in that regard. Tate is trying to become a better pocket passer, and I think that will help him if he wants to go pro, but the offensive numbers have taken a dive in Tucson.
Tate has thrown 11 touchdowns and tossed 4 interceptions with a marginal completion percentage of 54.0. 54% completions isn’t going to get it done at the next level, especially because he isn’t playing in a conference with a ton of defense. However, there are a couple of really good defenses, one being Washington and the other the team he is facing tonight, the Utah Utes.
Utah are allowing just 296 yards per game for 10th in the country. That puts them a couple of spots ahead of Washington, so they are 1st in the Pac-12 defensively. They’ve also surrendered just 17.2 points per game in 2018. Trying to run against this team has been a challenge for the opposition, and as Tate has had issues getting the ground game going, it should be another tough night in that respect.
Utah are allowing only 75.4 rushing yards per game for 3rd in the nation. They’ve played some good offenses as well, including Stanford, Washington State, and Washington. If we want to go back to last season, they finished the season allowing only 14 points to a good West Virginia team in the Cotton Bowl.
Arizona were 12th in the FBS with 490 yards per game last season. However, they’ve slipped back to 44th with 445 yards per game in 2018. Tyler Huntley has been looking more comfortable at quarterback with each passing week. He played a great game against Stanford, protecting the ball and completing 81% of his passes en route to a 40-21 win.
He’s thrown 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, with 143 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Zack Moss had another big game, as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the second week in a row. He ran for 106 yards on Washington State and then 160 yards with 2 touchdowns against the Cardinal. The public will likely ride with the points on Arizona, but I don’t see how the offense performs well on a short week travelling out to Utah where the best defense in the conference will be waiting.