UCLA Football: Bruins need to find a way to contain Arizona QB Khalil Tate

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02: Quarterback Khalil Tate
TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02: Quarterback Khalil Tate /

After breaking the record for most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, Arizona’s Khalil Tate will look to do something similar against the UCLA Football run defense.

We knew Arizona had a very good running game, but this past weekend they knocked it up a notch and that is not good news for the UCLA Football team.

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Nevermind the fact that Arizona has the best rushing offensive in the Pac-12 and the 4th best in the nation with 319.4 per game, they now have an individual weapon that could bring the Bruins’ defense to their knees.

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That weapon is backup quarterback Khalil Tate who ran for an FBS record 327 yards (and 4 touchdowns) last Saturday against Colorado. It was the most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, ever. That is not a good sign for UCLA’s defense which is, well, not doing very well this season against the run.

Currently, UCLA is 128th out of 129 teams in rushing defense, giving up 284.2 yards per game. That is what we call in the business a “no bueno”.

Revisiting last season’s UCLA-Arizona game, you can tell that Tate was capable of a game like he had last weekend. Starting QB Brandon Dawkins was knocked out of the game due to injury which allowed then-freshman Tate to step up and take over after halftime. Though Arizona was too far behind for a comeback, that didn’t stop Tate.

He ran for 79 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Though UCLA had already secured the victory, it opened a lot of eyes tot he talents of Tate. That performance will pale in comparison to what he is going to do this Saturday in Tucson as it looks like he has the potential to shred UCLA’s defense all on his own.

So far he has only played in three out of the five Wildcat games this season, but has done a lot of damage in that time. Already he is the team’s leading rusher with 420 yards, just ahead of Dawkins’ 397 yards. Tate also has the team-high in yards per carry (17.2) and rushing yards per game (137.7). Those are some serious numbers and if the Bruins do not want to be left in the dust, they need to slow this guy down.

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Whether it is bringing pressure, stacking the box or or trying to contain, UCLA has to keep an eye on Tate and not let him get to the next level. And when they get Tate in their sight, the Bruins have to be fundamentally sound. Make good decisions, cut off open lanes and make the tackles. Tate is a machine that is getting smarter by the game and if can find the defense’s weaknesses, he will exploit them, guaranteed.