BOULDER – Khalil Tate had the night of his life. Going into the game, the expectation was Brandon Dawkins would be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Wildcats. That changed early in the first quarter when Drew Lewis and Ryan Moeller hit Dawkins when he was already out of bounds for a late hit. Dawkins exited the game and seemingly lost his starting job all in one play.
“I just knew when I got into the game that I needed to keep the team rolling and put points on the board,” Tate said after the game.
Tate came in and set an FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 327 yards. He had four touchdowns on the ground was also able to add another one through the air. He finished 11-for-12 for 142 yards throwing the ball.
“[Tate] was phenomenal.” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said after the game. “I could tell all week he was really wanting an opportunity and a chance. I was obviously really proud of the way he ran the football, but also his composure when he got in there, his game management, how he was seeing the field. He got some great blocking up front and outstanding perimeter blocking, but Khalil certainly made a big difference today. We struggled all day defensively, but Khalil and the running game saved us.”
The Buffs weren’t prepared for Tate at all. Moeller even said in the post-game press conference that he didn’t even know his number.
“Well I didn’t even know his number if I’m going to be honest,” Moeller said. “We were expecting a different guy to back up and someone else came into the game. We didn’t execute.”
Bottom line is the Buffaloes couldn’t tackle Khalil Tate. Whatever they tried to do, he just wasn’t going to be stopped. That’s why head coach Mike MacIntyre began his post-game press conference with, “Can anybody tackle No. 14, the quarterback on Arizona?”
So why weren’t the Buffs able to stop the backup quarterback on Arizona?
“He’s really strong,” Rodriguez explained. “He’s got good vision when he’s running, but he’s a strong runner. Physically strong. when he was younger, and even earlier in the year, he would try to lower his shoulder. Then he realized that he’s got enough athleticism to make somebody miss too.”
He made a lot of CU players miss, that’s for sure. If CU stacked the box, he’d run down the sideline. If they covered the sideline and he would use his strength and run it up the middle. The Buffs literally had no answer for Tate and that’s how he ended up setting the FBS rushing yards record for a quarterback.
That was only the second most rushing yards by an Arizona player and also the second most rushing yards by an Arizona player against CU. The first one came when Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 366 yards against CU in 2012.
The Buffaloes currently have some serious issues trying to stop the run and their Pac-12 schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out. They’re going to have to figure something out or they will never stop falling.