Oregon had a bye this past week, an opportunity to let injured players heal up and to game plan for the final two games of the season, of which the Ducks must win at least one to become bowl-eligible.
The time off also allowed coaches and players to watch their next opponent, Arizona, on television.
And there may or may not have been some gnashing of teeth and averting of the eyes when realizing that meant they were the next ones to have to deal with Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate. Tate ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-28 win over Oregon State, giving him 1,207 yards and 11 scores in the last six games.
The sophomore ran for a FBS-record (for a QB) 327 yards on Oct. 7 against Colorado, a game he didn’t start, and has had no fewer than 136 rushing yards in any game since. He’s averaging 11.65 yards per carry and has five runs of 70 or more yards.
Piece of cake, right? Not according to coach Willie Taggart, who must find a way to contain Tate at home on Saturday, Nov. 18.
Asked what Oregon can do to defend Khalil Tate, Taggart replied: "Pray."
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) November 13, 2017
Oregon has been hot and cold against the run this season, allowing 129 yards per game and holding four opponents under 100 yards while yielding 248 in a loss to Stanford and 247 in the last game, a loss at Washington. The common denominator in those games was a dominant rusher for the opponent, with Stanford’s Bryce Love going for 147 yards and two TDs on 17 carries and Washington’s Myles Gaskin gaining 123 yards with a TD on 17 carries.
Arizona averages 347.7 rushing yards per game, third-best in the country.