The Arizona Wildcats continue their quest for at least a nine-win season when they host Oregon State tonight at Arizona Stadium. Here is a look at the matchup by the numbers:
Khalil Tate has rushed for 1,087 yards, becoming the first Pac-12 QB to top 1,000 yards in a season. He has 1,347 yards rushing in his two-year career, third on Arizona’s career chart for rushing yards by a quarterback behind Brandon Dawkins’ 1,481 yards and Ronald Veal’s 1,419. If Tate rushes for at least 135 yards tonight, he will break Dawkins’ record. Dawkins broke Veal’s mark earlier this season.
Arizona ranks fourth nationally with 327.0 rushing yards per game. Oregon State ranks 94th against the run, allowing 188.7 yards a game.
Freshmen account for 49 percent of the tackles recorded by the Wildcats. Arizona’s leading tackler is Tony Fields II, a starter in all nine games at the Will linebacker position. Fields II is a true freshman who has racked up 69 tackles, including four for loss and three sacks. Of Arizona’s top six tacklers, four are freshmen, including redshirt Lorenzo Burns (58 tackles) and true freshmen Colin Schooler (57) and Scottie Young Jr. (37). Fields would become the first freshman to lead Arizona in tackles since the stat was tabulated in 1973. Ricky Hunley as a true freshman challenged for the tackles lead with 96 tackles in 1980. Jack Housley led the Wildcats with 104.
Oregon State’s record against Arizona in Tucson in their last seven games. The Beavers have won 13 of the last 16 meetings dating to 1999. Most of the success against the Wildcats at Arizona Stadium was under coach Mike Riley, who Arizona fans must have enjoyed seeing going to Nebraska. With the Cornhuskers struggling with a 3-5 record, Riley will possibly be out of a job soon. Can Oregon State, playing under interim coach Cory Hall, possibly seek Riley for a third term after this season? Joking of course. I think.
Oregon State bullish running back Ryan Nall, who gained 124 yards last season in a win over Arizona, has three runs for at least 75 yards — a school record. Nall scored on a 75-yard run in the opener against Colorado State. His others include 89 yards against Washington State and 80 against California, both coming in 2016.
Through nine games this season, Arizona has scored 395 points. That’s the highest total for the Wildcats through nine games since joining the Pac-10/Pac-12 in 1978. It’s the highest total overall for the Wildcats since Arizona had 418 points in a nine-game season in 1921. The Wildcats opened that season with an 84-13 win over Bisbee Legion, indicative of the competition nearly a century ago. The 395 points are more than the Wildcats scored in a full season in 12 of the past 17 seasons. Since 1950, Arizona has scored more than 400 points in a season just six times. The Wildcats failed to eclipse the 300-point mark in 12 games last season, scoring 297 points. The most points the Wildcats have scored in a season in school history is 496 in 2012.
Four years ago, Hall was coaching high school football as the head coach at Clovis High School in California. Now, he is coaching against Rich Rodriguez tonight in a Pac-12 game.
The Wildcats have forced 20 turnovers, which ranks tied for 10th among all FBS teams. They are No. 32 nationally in turnover margin at .44. They have turned the ball over 16 times.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.