The Wildcats fall to 7-4 on the season and 5-3 in conference play heading into the Territorial Cup against ASU next Saturday.
Here are three things we learned in Arizona’s loss to Oregon.
Arizona cannot defend the run
It appears to be the same story week after week. Arizona’s opponent has a running back that’s able to find a large gap in Arizona’s defensive line and is able to run for 100+ yards.
Against Colorado is was Phillip Lindsay (281 yards, 3 TDs). Against UCLA, it was Bolo Olorunfunmi (102 yards, 2 TDs). Against Cal it was Patrick Laird (130 yards, 2 TD). And against USC it was Ronald Jones II (194 yards, 3 TD).
Saturday, there were two horsemen: Royce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James. Freeman led the charge for Oregon, rushing for 135 yards and four touchdowns, while Brooks-James complemented Freeman’s performance with 124 rushing yards of his own.
It also did not help that defensive linemen Dereck Boles and Luca Bruno left the game and Parker Zellers did not make the trip for disciplinary reasons.
Unless Arizona’s defense improves, its fate will continue to rest completely on its offense. And if the offense has an off-game as it did Saturday, the Wildcats have virtually no shot ogf winning.
Which brings us to the next point.
Arizona isn’t effective when Khalil Tate isn’t
Khalil Tate had his worst game all season on Saturday. As a passer, Tate was 18-35 for 159 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. As a rusher, he carried the ball 14 times for only 32 yards. His longest rush was just 13 yards.
In turn, the Wildcats were limited to just 338 yards and their longest play went for 20 yards. The running backs weren’t their usual selves and the wide receivers dropped crucial passes.
It’s showing more and more that Arizona’s success is reliant on Tate having a good, if not dominant, game. And anytime he’s slowed down, like he was vs. Oregon, Arizona doesn’t have the defensive fortitude to overcome it.
Special teams are a disaster
Yep, you guessed it. Arizona’s special teams once again proved to be a problem for Arizona. To be more specific, the punting was a disaster.
To break this down: Josh Pollack did most of the work, punting four times for 132 yards for an average 33 yards per punt.
Arizona’s other punter, Jake Glatting, took one snap in the fourth quarter, punting for a total of 19 yards ... to the Oregon 49-yard line.
The best punter for Arizona on Saturday, believe it or not, was tight end Trevor Wood. Wood punted once in the third quarter for 36 yards, pinning Oregon at its own six-yard line.
Follow Rob Leano on Twitter @RobLeano1