TUSCON, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Wildcats ran, ran and ran some more in averaging 9.7 yards per rush Saturday night. And there was little Oregon State could do to stop it.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate ran his streak of 100-yard rushing games to six, finishing with 206 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the Wildcats’ 49-28 win over Oregon State.
The Wildcats ran for a school-record 534 yards, with three players going over 100 yards.
Tate had a 19-yard second-quarter touchdown run in which he bowled over a would-be tackler in the open field on his way to the end zone. He also sprinted 71 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
”The defender got in the way,” Tate said of his first score. ”I tried to move around and then I just used my determination to get in the end zone.”
The sophomore has a rushing touchdown in each of the last six games and a team-high 11 this season. He also has four of the five longest touchdown runs for Arizona this season, and twice has run 71 yards for a score.
Arizona (7-3 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) and Tate hardly needed to throw the ball, as the ground game racked up 384 yards by halftime with Nick Wilson, Zach Green and receiver Tony Ellison running for touchdowns in the first half.
”The first half seemed like it went fast, the second half not so much,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. ”The first half I thought was exceedingly fast and our guys were executing pretty well.
”I thought the first half was the best half we played all year,” Rodriguez added.
Green ran for a pair of scores, one in each half. J.J. Taylor rushed for 129 yards and Wilson, a senior playing in the final home game of his career, added 101.
The Wildcats have won five of six.
”I’ve got nothing but respect for that player,” said Oregon State safety Jalen Moore, who led his team with nine solo tackles, of Tate. ”At the end of the day, it’s on us. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”
Oregon State (1-9, 0-7) has lost eight straight. The Beavers were held scoreless until the opening drive of the second half, which ended on Darell Garretson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Noah Togiai.
”We’ve got to put our players in better situations,” Oregon State interim coach Cory Hall said. ”Better positions to be successful, period and point blank.”
Garretson threw two of his four touchdown passes in the third quarter and Ryan Nall led the Beavers with 95 yards rushing on 22 carries, adding a 44-yard touchdown catch in the fourth. Isaiah Hodgins and Timmy Hernandez caught scoring passes from Garretson, who had 209 passing yards.
Tate completed 5 of 7 passes for 68 yards and threw his sixth interception of the season. He completed his only pass attempt of the second half and was replaced by junior Brandon Dawkins, who began the season as the starter, early in the fourth quarter.
Dawkins ran for a four-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 35-14 late in the third quarter, Oregon State got the ball on offense but couldn’t move it, and a 23-yard punt set up the Wildcats at the Beavers’ 34-yard line. Green ran for a three-yard touchdown on that drive to give Arizona a 42-14 lead with 32 seconds left in the third.
WHAT A RUSH
Rodriguez credited the Wildcats’ offensive line for paving the way to an historic night running the football.
”It starts with the big guys up front,” he said. ”We try to do some different things that can create big plays for us. The big guys and the tight ends take the most pride out of it.”
Senior lineman Jacob Alsadek said there is a mentality to running the ball successfully. ”We don’t look pretty but we beat you up,” he said.
Hall said his team is still one unit and won’t let anything divide the Beavers despite the losses. Nall said he was encouraged how the team bounced back from a 28-0 halftime deficit, and Moore said the players need to be more disciplined and execute, and that the coaches aren’t to blame for mistakes.
Oregon State: The Beavers have two more shots at a second win – next Saturday at home against Arizona State and at Oregon in the Civil War rivalry on Nov. 25. Hall said he needs to be more hands-on working with his defense and that he has faith over the final two weeks that his players won’t quit. ”As a staff I expect us to show up and work,” Hall said. ”Our job is to ensure that our players have a fighting chance.”
Arizona: The Wildcats did what they had to do stay in second place in the Pac-12 South, and did so with a representative from the Valero Alamo Bowl on hand at Arizona Stadium. While a bowl game looks certain with seven wins, Arizona has two tough road games to finish the regular season, at Oregon next Saturday and at archrival Arizona State on Nov. 25. Holding onto second place in the South won’t be easy, as both the Ducks and Sun Devils are vying for bowl berths.
Oregon State: The Beavers host Arizona State next Saturday.
Arizona: The Wildcats play at Oregon next Saturday.
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