One of the biggest storylines so far of the college football season was BYU’s ability to not only contain Arizona dual-threat quarterback Khalil Tate, but shut down who many believed would be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy Award at the end of the season.
Tate, who came in averaging 9.2 yards per carry last year and who led the Wildcats to an average of 40.9 points and 485.3 yards per game as the starter, couldn’t do much against a Cougar defense that turned the Wildcats’ home opener into a big meltdown.
Tate totaled just 211 yards of total offense and was held to just 14 yards on eight carries for a measly 1.8 yards per carry. Tate came in with all the hype as he set a Pac-12 record as he was named the offensive player of the week for four consecutive weeks. Tate also set an FBS record as he became the first quarterback to rush for more than 300 yards last year.
ESPN analysts Edward Aschoff and Todd McShay — who is calling the Arizona-Houston game on Saturday — gave their thoughts on Khalil Tate and the job BYU did to contain arguably the most elusive quarterback in the country.
- “It was a little bit surprising in that he (Tate) had just eight carries for 14 yards. It’s not what we’re used to seeing from Tate, because he’s such a dynamic runner, and that’s such a big part of his game.”
- “The hard part against BYU specifically is that they are so disciplined. They just didn’t allow for many opportunities for him to run, especially outside. They contained him with both of their edge guys. They didn’t rush him a lot and just stayed in their gaps.”
- “Houston’s good on defense. Obviously, Ed Oliver’s outstanding, and they’ve got two good defensive ends. They don’t play the same brand of disciplined defense, consistently, like BYU showed in that game, but I do expect Houston to run a lot of single-high safety, drop a safety in the box and try to emulate what BYU did and Oregon did a year ago. It seems to be the blueprint.”
- “Tate, barely registered a murmur on the enthusiasm meter in the Wildcats’ 28-23 loss to BYU. After averaging 128.3 rushing yards per game last season, Tate gained just 14 yards on eight carries for a measly 1.8 yards per carry. He also threw for just 197 yards and a touchdown. … Tate was just another player Saturday.”
- “BYU was patient on the outside and didn’t tee off on Tate, which usually opens up running lanes for him when he’s forced to take off and defenses are manned up. BYU then laid a blanket over Tate’s receivers.”
- “Seven of Tate’s eight rushes (one sack) went to the outside, but only two went farther than 5 yards. For perspective, 100 of Tate’s 153 rushes were outside runs last season. He averaged 10.56 YPC on them, scored nine touchdowns and recorded 31 rushes of 10-plus yards.”
Rece Davis votes BYU in Top 25 poll
Last week, Rece Davis, the host of ESPN’s College Gameday show, said that BYU would have no answer for Arizona QB Khalil Tate. National prognosticators agreed and bettors too as Arizona came in as a two-touchdown favorite over the Cougars.
So after BYU’s win over the Wildcats, Rece Davis placed the Cougars in his top 25 ballot. Davis, ranked the Cougars at No. 25, along with two other media members in Conor O’Neil from the Winston Salem-Journal and Brent Axe from the Syracuse Media Group.
Maybe Davis felt bad for making such a statement or he was simply impressed with the way the Cougars played. BYU did come into the year after suffering one of its most disappointing seasons in program history at 4-9 and a home loss on Senior Day to UMass.
No matter the case, at least the Cougars got some respect after last week’s win and look to jump into the rankings with a win over CAL in its home opener on Saturday. The last time BYU was ranked, was back in 2015 after the Cougars took down Nebraska and Boise State to start the season.
Rece Davis Top 25 Ballot