The Arizona Wildcats are coming off their first Pac-12 road win since October of 2015, led by a record-breaking performance by sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate.
With Arizona suddenly three wins away from bowl eligibility, things have suddenly gotten very intriguing as the UCLA Bruins come to town.
Here are five players to watch this weekend.
It’s hard to imagine that Khalil Tate doesn’t get the start Saturday, and we’re going to see exactly what he can do in this offense.
While he likely won’t be anywhere close to his performance against Colorado, the hope is that the offense is still more efficient than when Brandon Dawkins led this team through four games.
UCLA is second to last in Pac-12 scoring defense, giving up just over 39 points a game, and dead last in the conference when it comes to rushing defense, giving up 284 yards on the ground. Oregon State, which is No. 11, is giving up 199 on the ground.
Tate has proven to be the more elusive runner, and if he can find any bit of open space it could translate into points. A lot of his throws were near the line of scrimmage against Colorado, so it’s important to ease him into the game plan rather than have him take shots in early-down situations.
The redshirt senior linebacker had a solid debut this season after recovering from foot surgery. He’s going to be splitting time with freshman edge-rusher Kylan Wilborn.
He came up with four stops and really should have gotten credit for Colin Schooler’s sack, too.
Arizona has lacked experience at linebacker this season, but it’s proven to be a strong core without him, as Tony Fields II, Jacob Colacion, Schooler have produced at high levels all things considered.
Miller being back only makes the group stronger, and they’ll need him to come up big against a Josh Rosen-led offense.
Whittaker has to have a shutdown performance here. Things have been inconsistent in the secondary this season to say the least, and a lot of receivers have been getting behind coverage.
Whittaker must stay stride for stride on his receivers, or else Rosen is going to place the ball exactly where Whittaker can’t reach it if he falls back.
While they might attack Lorenzo Burns more, who will need to have a great game himself, Whittaker has more potential to come up with a big play to give the offense a chance to put up points.
Schooler has racked up 14 tackles in the last two games and now finds himself tied for fifth in tackles. His performance during Pac-12 play has
It seems like every week Schooler has been involved in games early on and increased his role. Brandon Rutt has more experience, but over time it seems clear that Schooler will be taking over the middle linebacker spot full-time.
It was only one game, but Tate was able to deliver the ball effectively, which means more touches for Shun Brown.
Against Colorado, Brown had seven catches for 38 yards, although lost a fumble that probably should have been overturned.
More touches for Shun Brown means more chances to score. All he needs is space.