The Washington State football team was 7-1 heading into their matchup with Arizona last year before Khalil Tate and the rest of the Wildcats exploded for 585 total yards in their 58-37 win over the Cougars. In an interview on Monday, head coach Mike Leach said their game plan was the reason for that showing.
The Cougars never led in the game but looked like they had a chance in the fourth quarter when they brought it within 7 before the Wildcats pulled away with three touchdowns to finish off the game. Tate finished his night going 10 of 17 for 275 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added another touchdown and 146 yards on 13 carries. J.J. Taylor added another 153 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on his 14 carries.
Theo Lawson of the Spokesman review wrote an article Monday stating that the Cougars gave up eight plays of 40 or more yards with four going for more than 60 yards and two going for 70 or more.
Leach blames the approach as to why they struggled so much. He says they played it aggressively which turned around to bite them. While there is a new defensive coordinator in town, it should not be a surprise that Leach will have a few things to say to help Tracy Claeys out in his approach to this season.
“I didn’t think we adjusted very good and I also think we were pretty much in a situation where if one guy screwed up they were going to get a lot of yards and I think that puts too much stress in order to successfully defend them,” Leach said of his defense.
While Arizona won the game, the Cougs won the battle of yardage with 602 yards coming through the air and adding another 51 on the ground. Washington State will look to fix those defensive blunders this year while keeping up their offensive stats.
Tate has not been the same on the ground this year as he only has 153 yards on the entire season, he has however been able to surpass last years passing stats with 400 more yards and 5 more touchdowns than he finished last season with. Arizona had a bye this past week but in their last game against Colorado on November 2nd, Tate had a season-high 350 passing yards and matched his season high with 5 touchdowns. He had 15 yards on the ground which is just under half of his season high of 40 against California back in the beginning of October.
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Washington State’s Leach insists defensive plan is part of what made Tate dangerous in 2017 game | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State’s defensive backs may still be inhaling the dust Khalil Tate left behind in a football game-turned-track meet between the Cougars and Arizona Wildcats last October in the Tucson desert.