This is only the ninth time that Arizona has started a Pac-10/12 season 2-0 since the Wildcats moved from the WAC to the conference in 1978.
That’s only once every four to five years. Enjoy it while you can. It is only the third time since the 2000 season that it has occurred.
Some of the Wildcats’ most memorable seasons occurred with those 2-0 starts including the 1993 team going 10-2 and beating Miami 29-0 in the Fiesta Bowl, the 1998 team finishing 12-1 and defeating Nebraska 23-20 in the Holiday Bowl and the 2014 team winning the Pac-12 South championship.[table “34” not found /]
The promising start has also ended in failure, none more than when Arizona started the Pac-10 season 3-0 in 2000 only to lose the last five games. Dick Tomey was forced to resign after that season.
Larry Smith started 2-0 in three consecutive seasons from 1983-85, but the Wildcats were hindered by probation in 1983 and 1984 for infractions committed by the previous coaching staff. To his credit, Smith made Arizona competitive with a 25-10-2 overall record in that three-year span. However, after the 2-0 starts, the Wildcats went a combined 8-7-1.
In the eight previous years that Arizona has started 2-0, the Wildcats lost an average of 2.4 conference games in each of those seasons. They couldn’t finish.
Time will tell if this year’s team can complete a conference championship season. The toughest part of the schedule is ahead, starting with an 8 p.m. meeting Saturday night at Arizona Stadium against what will be an angry and determined Washington team after last night’s upset loss at Stanford.
Following that game, Arizona travels in consecutive weeks to USC and Stanford. The Wildcats’ last three games include trips to Oregon and ASU sandwiched around a home game against Pac-12 South favorite Utah. The only game in which Arizona will likely be a favorite will be at home against Oregon State on Nov. 2.
Tate The Great … Passer
Following his career-high 404 yards passing in the 35-30 win Colorado yesterday, Arizona senior Khalil Tate is No. 3 in the Pac-12 in passing and No. 22 in the nation averaging 272 yards per game.
Among the top eight quarterbacks in the Pac-12, Tate has the fewest attempted passes with only 120. He has completed 81 (67.5 percent completion rate).
Tate is now in the Arizona career top 10 list in passing yards ranking ningth with 5,452. He passed previous No. 10 Bruce Hill (5,090 yards) and No. 9 Ortege Jenkins (5,424 yards).
Arizona Career Passing Yards Leaders
He is 438 yards rushing away from breaking into the top 10 list for career rushers in Arizona history. David Adams is No. 10 at 2,571 yards. Tate ranks at No. 14 with 2,133 yards.
Arizona Career Rushing Leaders
With three touchdown passes against Colorado, Tate became one of only three Arizona quarterbacks to complete at least 50 touchdown passes. He had 49 entering the game and is now third with 52.
Arizona Career Passing Touchdown Leaders
|1. (tie)||67||Nick Foles||2009-11|
|1. (tie)||67||Willie Tuitama||2005-08|
|8. (tie)||42||Keith Smith||1996-99|
|8. (tie)||42||Ortege Jenkins||1997-2000|
With 427 yards of total offense (404 passing, 23 rushing) against Colorado, Tate moved into third in school history with 7,585 career yards of total offense.
Arizona Career Total Offense Leaders
Back to Schooler
Arizona junior linebacker Colin Schooler finished the game agaisnt Colorado with eight total tackles, one of which was a tackle-for-loss.
He now has 254 career tackles becoming only the 24th player in Arizona history to log at least 250 career tackles. With his tackle-for-loss, Schooler is only 0.5 away from breaking into the Wildcats’ career top 10.
Arizona Career Tackles-For-Loss Leaders
|2. (tie)||49.0||Dana Wells||DT||1985-88|
|2. (tie)||49.0||Joe Tafoya||DE||1997-00|
|7. (tie)||42.0||Scooby Wright III||LB||2013-15|
|7. (tie)||42.0||Mike Dawson||DT||1972-75|
|10. (tie)||40.5||Colin Schooler||LB||2017-19|
|10. (tie)||40.5||Chris Singleton||LB||1986-89|
Tough to the End
Remember when NAU scored at will in the fourth quarter against Arizona’s backup defenders a month ago? That was embarrassing then. This is now:
Through the last three games, all victories, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 29-3 in the fourth quarter. They have not surrendered a fourth-quarter touchdown since playing the Lumberjacks on Sept. 7.
The Wildcats had lost 25 straight games when trailing after three quarters dating back to 2015 before beating Texas Tech and UCLA in the previous two weeks. Texas Tech led 14-13 entering the last quarter and Arizona won 28-14. The Bruins led 17-13 last week after three quarters and the Wildcats emerged with a 20-17 win.
The Wildcats clung to a 28-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter yesterday.
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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.