The best player you may not be watching in college football turned in yet another October performance worth gushing about on Saturday night.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, in the relative obscurity of another late-night game on Pac-12 Network, rushed 13 times for 146 yards and a touchdown and passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Wildcats to a 58-37 win over No. 15 Washington State in Tucson, continuing Arizona's transformation into a surprise Pac-12 contender since the discovery of Tate as a breakout star.
Washington State coach Mike Leach actually benched star quarterback Luke Falk in the second quarter. Falk was replaced by Tyler Hilinski, who played only 33 minutes and yet completed 45 of 61 passes for 509 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Hilinski also threw four interceptions, and despite the big numbers, the Cougars could not keep pace with Tate and Arizona's big plays.
Tate had an 82-yard run in the second quarter that led to an Arizona field goal:
In the fourth quarter, Tate had a 49-yard touchdown run:
He also connected on passes of 68, 48, 43 and 41 yards despite attempting only 17 passes, with 10 completions. Tate wasn't alone in making big plays. In addition to his receivers, running back J.J. Taylor ran 13 times for 152 yards, with touchdowns of three and 79 yards. Colin Schooler also returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown.
The Wildcats had only 13 first downs, two third-down conversions and three turnovers, but those numbers were misleading because of how explosive the team was. They scored 58 points because they ran 51 plays for 585 yards, good for an absurd average of 11.5 yards per play.
Tate relieved an injured Brandon Dawkins on Oct. 7 at Colorado. He rushed for 327 yards in a 45-42 win. The next week, Tate ran for 230 yards in a 47-30 win over UCLA. Last week, he ran for 137 in a 45-44 win at California. Now, Tate adds 146 rushing yards in a 21-point win over a top-25 team. In October, Tate rushed for 840 yards on 59 carries.
After winning the Pac-12 South in 2014, Arizona fell to 7-6 in 2015 and 3-9 last season, putting coach Rich Rodriguez on the hot seat. Tate has erased that hot seat talk, as Arizona is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12, with a big game at USC up next.
If you missed Tate in October, you won't want to miss him in November.