Arizona Football

Arizona is looking the part in a major turnaround

Where do you go to when you want to find its stars after its 45-44 double-overtime win over California on Saturday night?

Was it quarterback Khalil Tate, who continues to work his magic with his legs and occasionally with his arm? He had two TD passes and a running one and again looked the part of a future and current star.

Senior Zach Green, who has been relegated to being a backup throughout his career but turned up his game Saturday in a fill-in role to gain a career high 130 yards and two touchdowns? Arizona Rich Rodriguez said Green is a great example of an upper classman biding his time and making the most of his opportunity.

Arizona’s players react to the game-saving play made by Colin Schooler in double overtime (Arizona Athletics photo)

Freshman Colin Schooler, who had the game-saving/winning block of a pass and 15 tackles in the win?

Where, oh where, do you go for players of the game? There are a few others, but does all that matter?

Arizona (5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12) has rallied around Tate and has believed in one another to make the Wildcats one of the biggest turnaround teams in the country.

Who would have thunk it?

Just three weeks ago, many had given this team up for dead – including me, btw – but has it has re-found a purpose and some poise to have people thinking UA could possibly contend for the Pac-12 South title.

Seriously.

That’s what they were talking about on the post-game show of the Pac-12 Network. Lincoln Kennedy said it was probably “too early” to say, but, hey, it’s worth a quick thought.

Khalil Tate gets in space for a good chunk of yards (Arizona Athletics photo)

More importantly right now, Arizona is finding ways to win. And, or, not finding ways to lose.

As Rodriguez said “we are finding ways of competing” even after not playing all that well at times in the game Saturday. Of course, there were times when Arizona played really well, despite the injury to Nick Wilson and the ejection of J.J. Taylor (targeting).

In stepped Green.

“Even on the sidelines they were into the game, they kept competing,” Rodriguez said.

He added, “We’ve got a lot of things to clean up, but it’s a gritty bunch.”

Gritty, young and now exciting.

But isn’t winning always exciting? Arizona has now won three consecutive games and just one game from being bowl eligible.

Again, who would have thunk it?

Maybe it’s Arizona’s youth movement that has helped it not only survive but to flourish. Schooler is one and there are plenty of others.

“When you’re a young guy it’s probably easier not to panic,” Rodriguez said. “They just play. When you’re young you don’t think about the big moments.”

They won’t get any bigger in the next few weeks, especially next week when Washington State visits.

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