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What Kevin Sumlin said after Arizona’s upset of Oregon

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NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

A week removed from a disappointing loss to UCLA, Kevin Sumlin delivered his first statement win as the Arizona Wildcats head coach in Saturday’s 44-15 upset of the No. 19 Oregon Ducks.

The Wildcats improved to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in Pac-12 play with the win.

Khalil Tate, who was a game-time decision for the Wildcats, threw for three touchdowns and 189 yards on 19-of-33 passing. He also rushed for 28 yards.

However, it was Wildcats running back J.J. Taylor that stole the show, amassing 212 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Here’s what Sumlin had to say after the win. The transcript is below.

Hear what Coach Sumlin had to say about Arizona Football’s big win over Oregon

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Sunday, October 28, 2018

On what led to the upset...

“We’ve had moments. We really talked about four quarters, and we played pretty well.”

On the defense...

“I thought obviously we tackled well. We really didn’t let the ball get over our heads for really big plays. With the exception of the busted coverage in the first half, we didn’t have very many of those. We kept the running back underneath...and kept the ball in front of us.”

“The tackling was probably as good as we’ve had all year.”

On when he knew Khalil Tate would play...

“I knew he was probably going to play. We practiced him on Monday...on Tuesday after practice, we probably knew.”

On the pass rush...

“It’s been successful the last couple of weeks...the difference was the coverage and the tackling. Pressuring the quarterback, we could have been better. But the issue had been if he gets the ball out, now what? But tonight, the coverage and tackling was the best it’s been all year.”

On if this win was what the future for Arizona could look like...

“That’s what we want to be. That’s our goal, to be a top 25 team. In order to do that, you have to be others in that range. That’s who we want to be. We’ve got a ways to go. But the takeaway is that for our players to be a part of that and to see it. Now they understand what it takes.”

On J.J. Taylor...

“He’s a great example to our younger players with how he approaches his daily life on and off the field. The way he approaches the game, he’s a very intelligent guy. He’s a guy that’s a leader. But also, he’s a guy who can push other people. He’s a great example for this program of what we want as a competitor and as a person.”

On the wide receivers...

“They don’t get enough credit. The perimeter game — the screens — for them to get four or five yards and sometimes more, says a lot about how they’re blocking for each other. We were able to spread them out a little more because of the perimeter blocking and what the receivers did outside.”

“We put some pressure on the perimeter. But the first half, being able to throw the screen game, created some space and some one-on-ones outside...that created some other opportunities in run support.”

On special teams...

“We’ve made some changes in our kicking situations, and everybody is comfortable with that right now. Looking at the numbers from our punting situation, we were able to execute a couple of times to give them long fields.”