The Wildcats continue their push today for a potential 10-win season and their hope to see Khalil Tate go to New York City to take part in the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
At the beginning of the season, that thought would be unfathomable, not remotely probable.
Now look at Arizona — 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12 with Tate the No. 2 rusher in the nation rushing for 161.6 yards a game. He has 1,293 on 111 carries (topping the nation at 11.7 yards per rush).
Oregon (5-5, 2-5) stands in the way today of the Tate Train continuing to gain steam with the season reaching the end.
The Ducks’ new defensive line coach is former Arizona standout Joe Salave’a, who has coached against Arizona before as Washington State’s defensive line coach. He calls Tate, “a gifted young man,” and the Ducks are “looking forward to the opportunity” to face him today in this video:
Here are some numbers of the Arizona-Oregon game to look at:
Oregon’s Royce Freeman is second in career rushing yards in the Pac-12 with that total. Charles White of USC holds the record with 6,245 yards.
Arizona has set a new school record with 3,477 rushing yards this season.
Oregon leads the nation with that many points a game since 2010. Arizona’s offense has shown to be more potent this season. Arizona has scored 35-plus points in six straight conference games, the longest active streakfor any team against Power 5 teams.
Arizona’s defense ranks 16th nationally with 21 takeaways this season, including 16 interceptions, which is third-most in FBS.
The Wildcats are the only FBS team averaging more than 7.0 yards per carry.
This will be the fourth time since 1993 that Arizona will conclude the season with consecutive road games. The Wildcats have done this in 1993, 1999, 2009 and now this season. The Holiday Bowl-bound Wildcats in 2009 beat USC and ASU in consecutive weeks to end that regular season.
Oregon ranks tied for third in the Pac-12 and 13th nationally with 3.0 sacks per game. Salave’a’s impact can not be discounted with that. Washington State became more aggressive with its defensive front with him on the coaching staff. The Ducks have four-plus sacks in five of 10 games this season, tied with eight other schools for the national lead.
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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.