There was no stopping Arizona’s backup quarterback Khalil Tate on Saturday night. After starter Brandon Dawkins was knocked out of the game early in the first quarter by a late hit, Tate came in and ran wild all over the Colorado Buffaloes in a 45-42 victory at Folsom Field. Tate got loose early and often, and broke the FBS rushing record for a quarterback, running the ball 14 times for 327 yards and four touchdowns. He also hurt the Colorado defense through the air, going 11/12 for 142 yards and a touchdown in route to embarrassing a Buffaloes defense who has been beaten up the last three weeks in the Pac-12.
Offensively, Colorado was behind the 8 ball all night long, but Steven Montez again showed flashes of brilliance, completing 19 of 32 passes for 251 yards and three touchdown passes. The heart and soul of the Buffaloes team, running back Phillip Lindsay, had a career game as well, running the ball 41 times for 281 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a drive in the third quarter where he carried the ball 14 plays on an 85-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 14 apiece. The Colorado offensive line struggled again in pass protection, allowing 4 sacks and getting Montez harassed all night long.
The worst part of the loss was the lack of discipline, as well as adjustments that the Buffaloes were so successful with last year. Colorado was flagged 12 times for 110 yards on the evening, something a scuffling team can’t afford if they want to win games. In the final 6 drives of the night for the Wildcats, they scored 4 Touchdowns, made a field goal, and ran out the clock, which they were in field goal range on that drive as well. The lack of adjustments at halftime killed Colorado, and their inability to do anything to stop Tate from looking like Michael Vick is concerning for the team moving forward.
After a season as awesome as “The Rise” in 2016, and all the losses on the defensive side of the ball, fans knew that there would be some drop off from last year. This, unfortunately, may be a bigger drop off then was envisioned from most. All preseason, everyone, the team included, talked about how explosive the offense was going to be in 2017. Up to this point, 6 games into the season, we haven’t seen it. The “Money Gang” receiving corps talked about how awesome they were going to be, and quite frankly, to this point, they’ve underwhelmed. An offensive line touted as maybe the best one since 2001 has had massive troubles in pass protection, and hasn’t played a complete game yet this season.
Steven Montez has continued to grow, and will continue to improve, and everyone knows Phillip Lindsay will continue to play hard for his senior season. As the fans start asking themselves “is the rise over?,” the players need to band together. For the first time since before the 2016 season, the Buffaloes are facing serious adversity. Sitting at 3-3, a bowl game is anything from guaranteed at this point. Will Colorado “Rise” to the occasion, start to play hard and with discipline, or will they pack it in, and add another losing season to the resume of their head coach and the recent history at the University of Colorado? Only time will tell.