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Arizona vs. Cal: Wildcat players of the game

These UA players stood out in Arizona’s thrilling double overtime victory

Arizona v California Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Once again, the Arizona Wildcats had a thrilling, nail-biting game against the California Golden Bears.

Between defensive struggles on third down, two ejections for targeting, and a couple of questionable penalty calls by the officials, UA came out of Berkeley with a 45-44 victory to improve to 3-1 in conference play (5-2 overall).

Here are our players of the game:

Offense: Zach Green, RB

Game Stats: 20 carries, 130 yards. 2 TD

UA had some bad news concerning their running backs in the first half. Nick Wilson suffered an ankle injury on Khalil Tate’s 76-yard touchdown scamper. J.J. Taylor was ejected for a targeting call that I, and a lot of readers, thought was not a correct call.

But the often not-talked-about Green came in and just mauled Cal’s defense.

Green had a career performance, running for a career-high 130 yards for two scores on 20 carries. He proved to be a load to bring down for the Bear defense and bounced/broke through multiple tackles for extra yards.

Defense: Colin Schooler, LB

Game Stats: 15 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 PBU (doesn't statistically count but still)

It should be obvious. This guy is a freshman and he came up with one of the biggest plays for Arizona this year.

Schooler was all over the field for UA Saturday. He recorded a team-high 15 tackles during the contest, with 1.5 for a loss. He did miss a few tackles, but all was forgiven at the end of the game. Why you ask?

Because in double overtime after Cal scored a touchdown to push the score 45-44, Justin Wilcox decided to go for two. Well when the pass was in the air, Schooler got into position at the back of the end zone and smacked that ball down with authority.

Game, Arizona (Dave Chappell Prince voice).

Special Teams: Punt Coverage Team

In another less-than-stellar night for the special teams unit as a whole, the punt coverage was actually pretty good.

Out of three punts, they only allowed 10 yards on one return. You can’t ask for more than that.

Honorable Mention

Offensive Line: I mean the line continued to dominate the line of scrimmage. No sacks given up and the majority of the TFLs the ‘Cats suffered were not the line’s fault.

Khalil Tate, QB: 10 for 15, 166 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 17 car, 137 yds, 1 TD — Tate wasn’t as sharp running the ball as he had been and had really only one “bad” throw. Plus he made some ridiculous escapes to get the ball off down the field to a receiver.

Dane Cruikshank, S: 9 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU — Cruikshank was all over the field Saturday. That had to be the most aggressive I’ve seen him play all year. He did have a sure INT that he dropped but that doesn’t take away from his play throughout the game.

Jarrius Wallace, S: 9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU — For someone who came in off the bench and saw his first extended action of his career, Wallace did quite well. He did have some missed coverages but he played aggressive and smart for most of the game. He came up with two huge PBUs and an even bigger INT in the end zone to stop a Cal Bear drive.

Finton Connolly, DT: 3 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack — Statistically, Connolly didn’t have the best game. But man, he was vicious along the defensive line. He consistently fought his way off blocks to become a disruptive force. He is only going to continue to get better and better.