One year after his legs decimated Colorado, it was Khalil Tate‘s right arm that did the Buffaloes in this time around.
Thanks in very large part to a 26-point second quarter, Arizona moved to within a game of bowl eligibility in Kevin Sumlin‘s first year in the desert with a 42-34 win over reeling Colorado. Three of the Wildcats’ five scores in the second-quarter explosion — they added two field goals as well — came on touchdown passes from Tate. All three of the scoring tosses went to different receivers.
On October 7 of last year, Tate ran for 327 yards — on 14 carries!!! — in a 45-42 win over the Buffs, setting the FBS single-game rushing record for a quarterback. This season, Tate passed for 340 yards and threw five touchdowns for good measure; the former total is a career-high, while the latter matches his career best. Both of those standards were set in a Week 3 win over FCS Southern Utah earlier this season.
Tate did all of his damage through the air last night on just 22 pass attempts (17 completions).
Despite the scoring barrage by the Wildcats late in the first half, the game was close throughout the second as the Wildcats entered the fourth quarter trailing by just a single point. However, Tate’s fifth touchdown pass of the game, a 57-yarder to Cedric Peterson, put UA up for good at 42-34. The Buffs had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion as they drove to the Wildcats’ 18-yard line with just over seven minutes left, but Steven Montez pass on third and 10 was picked off by Troy Young.
The Wildcats then bled the remainder of the game clock with a 10-play drive that featured a pair of third-down conversions.
In the loss, Montez passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns. It was the junior’s second straight 300-yard effort and fifth total on the season.
For the Buffs, the loss continues an absolute freefall. After beginning the year 5-0 and climbing to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25, Colorado has now lost four straight, with all of those losses coming in Pac-12 play. UA needs to win one of its last three games — No. 8 Washington State, No. 15 Utah, at Cal — to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2017 and just the second time since 2007.