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First look: Washington State at Arizona

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 24, 2017, 3:51 p.m.

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, right, hands off to running back Zach Green during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, right, hands off to running back Zach Green during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

What is it? No. 15 Washington State (7-1, 4-1) goes on the road for the third time this season to visit upstart Arizona (6-1, 3-1), which has won its last three games.

Where is it? Arizona Stadium in Tucson.

When is it? Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PDT.

Where can I watch it? The game will air on Pac-12 Networks.

Who is favored? The Cougars are favored to win by 2.5 points.

Why Arizona will win: The Wildcats finally quelled their quarterback problems three games ago when they replaced Brandon Dawkins with Khalil Tate. Since, Tate has become one of college football’s most dynamic players and Arizona’s won each of its three games with him as the starter. The Cougars have had issues with mobile quarterbacks in the past and Tate, in Arizona’s last three games, has rushed for 694 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s also proven to be an adept passer, hitting 31-of-41 passes (76 percent) for 468 yards and four touchdowns.

Why WSU will win: Air Raid quarterbacks have put up staggering numbers against the Wildcats over the years. In the last three games between WSU and Arizona, Luke Falk, Tyler Hilinski and Connor Halliday have averaged 50 completions, thrown for 1,003 yards and tossed 15 touchdowns. The Wildcats rank 10th in the Pac-12 in pass defense this season (257.6 yards per game allowed) though they’ve only conceded eight touchdowns.

What happened last time? The Cougars won dominantly, 69-7, in the 2016 meeting between these teams at Martin Stadium. Luke Falk completed all but three of his passes, going 32-for-35 with 311 yards through the air and four touchdowns. Tyler Hilinski was productive in relief, completing 15-of-17 for 163 and two touchdowns, while three Arizona quarterbacks combined to go 11-for-23 with just 128 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Three things to know

1. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the third straight week after leading the Wildcats to a 45-44 overtime win over Cal. No offensive player has done that since USC’s Rodney Peete earned the award back-to-back-to-back in 1988.

2. The starting quarterback Tate replaced is Brandon Dawkins, a former Oaks Christian (Los Angeles) star who was once in the midst of a QB competition with Washington State’s Luke Falk. Falk transferred to Oaks Christian from Logan High School, beat out Dawkins for the starting gig, but then lost his job to the future Arizona QB later in the season.

3. Falk is now only 230 passing yards shy of becoming the Pac-12’s career leader. Sean Mannion, who played at Oregon State, has held the record since 2014 and finished his career in Corvallis with 13,600 passing yards. Falk’s thrown for at least 230 in 32 of his 36 starts with the Cougars.


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