Two minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Arizona
Oct. 27, 2017 Updated Fri., Oct. 27, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.
Don’t take your eyes off
One of these quarterbacks wants to chuck the ball every time and the other will tuck and run whenever he spots a crease. Washington State’s Luke Falk is the epitome of a pocket passer and has completed more throws than anybody else in the country (233). He’s attempted 341, which ranks second among FBS signal-callers. On the other end of the spectrum is Arizona’s dynamic redshirt sophomore QB, Khalil Tate, who’s been credit for 46 rush attempts his last three games but has attemped only 41 passes.
When WSU has the ball…
If last week’s conditions were some of the worst to throw a football in, this week’s should be some of the best. And the WSU quarterback sure has taken a liking to these games in the desert. Falk has played three games in the state of Arizona and never has the Cougars signal-caller completed fewer than 40 passes or thrown for less than three touchdowns. In 2014, a 52-31 loss to Arizona State in Tempe, he completed 45-of-74 passes for 601 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. In 2015, the Cougars beat the Wildcats in Tucson behind 514 more yards from Falk – on 47-of-62 passing – five more touchdowns and no interceptions. In his return to Tempe last year, Falk led WSU to a 37-32 win, completing 42-of-53 for 398 yards, three TDs and no picks. Add all that up and you’ll get 134 completions on 189 attempts (71 percent), 1,513 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
When Arizona has the ball…
Tate is no doubt the man to stop, but even before he became the Wildcats’ full-time quarterback, Arizona’s offense was still scoring more than 41 points per game. Tate will hand off to his tailbacks plenty and the Cougars should expect J.J. Taylor to get a good share of the carries. Taylor was ejected for targeting last week against Cal, but it came in the first half so he’ll be eligible to play on Saturday. The freshman leads the Wildcats with 78 carries and has tallied up 366 yards and two touchdowns this season. Also beware of Nick Wilson (69 carries, 353 yards, 3 TDs).
Did you know?
It’ll be the second time this season the Cougars square off with a team that entered the week ranked atop the Pac-12 in total offense. When WSU visited Oregon in Eugene three weeks ago, the Ducks were averaging 49.6 points per game. UO has dropped off that mark substantially and now is scoring just 34.9 ppg. Now Arizona boasts the league’s top offense. The Wildcats average 43.1 ppg and gain 514 yards per game, both of which currently lead the Pac-12.
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