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Washington State vs. Arizona: Wildcats' players of the game

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There were plenty of UA players who stood out Saturday

NCAA Football: Washington State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

“It is a great night to be an Arizona Wildcat.”

That's how head coach Rich Rodriguez started his press conference after the Arizona Wildcats stomped the 15th-ranked Washington State Cougars, 58-37, on Saturday.

There were plenty of UA players that stood out in the impressive upset, so let's get to it.


Offense: Khalil Tate, QB

2017 Stats: 10-for-17, 275 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT; 13 car, 146 yds, 1 TD

Tate did exactly what he needed to tonight in order to lead this team to a win. We’ll start off with the one “oops” moment he had.

During run he had in the second play of the first drive of the 3rd quarter, Tate made a cut and just lost the ball. Wazzu recovered and subsequently scored a touchdown.

The next drive, Tate threw an interception that wasn’t his or his receiver's fault. It was a blatant pass interference against the Wazzu defender, not allowing Shawn Poindexter to raise his arms. This caused a tipped ball that was intercepted by Wazzu. The Cougs would end up scoring. Tate shook those off and just scorched the Wazzu defense the rest of the game.

One thing that stood out was Tate's passing. Almost every single one of his deep throws were right on target. He had only two or so passes that were off target all game. The rest of the time the defense was in position or drops by the receivers. And he still looks like he is going for a Sunday morning jog every time he runs.


Defense: Colin Schooler, LB

2017 Stats: 7 tackles, 1 INT (pick six)

This was tough choice, but I went with the freshman linebacker. For the second straight week, Schooler made a play when the team needed it most.

And it wasn’t just any ordinary play, it was an interception that went for six in the fourth quarter to push Arizona’s lead to 21 points. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said. Schooler is a great football player.


Special Teams: Kicking Game

It was a much-needed improved kicking game Saturday night. As a matter of fact, I’ll include the punt game too.

We’ll start there. Josh Pollack went back to the duties he had last year and that is punting added with his field goal duties. He had five punts and pinned Wazzu inside their own 20-yard line three times.

Moving on to field goals. A lot of people were skeptical about the snapping, but not once did the snap have a negative impact.

Pollack was a perfect 2-for-2 on his field goals, but the real impressive play was freshman Lucas Havrisik kicking the ball all the way to Yuma on a 57-yarder with one second left in the first half. That tied UA's all-time record.


Honorable Mention

Tony Fields II, LB: 11 tackles, 1 INT — Fields continued his strong freshman campaign. He continued to show solid tackling and had a nice pick after falling back into coverage in the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

Jace Whittaker, CB: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU — Whittaker had another really strong performance. Besides coming up with some nice tackles and a nice deflected pass, he came up with an interception in the end zone to end any momentum Wazzu was showing.

Lorenzo Burns, CB: 4 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU — Burns had another solid performance. He did give up his first touchdown of the season, and it came in Arizona’s eighth game of the season. He had a heads up play to pick off a pass that bounced out of a Cougar receiver’s hands.

J.J. Taylor, RB: 14 car, 153 yds, 2 TD — Taylor went off in the second half. He had five carries for -1 yards in the first half, but then he broke through. Multiple long runs by Taylor of 62 yards and 79 yards showed his speed is back after suffering a broken ankle that derailed his season last year. That allowed Taylor to go over 100 yards the first time this season.