Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate passed for a career-high 350 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 42-34 win over visiting Colorado at Arizona Stadium.
It was the second consecutive win for Arizona (5-5, 4-3 Pac-12), while Colorado (5-4, 2-4) fell for the fourth consecutive game after reaching No. 19 in the national rankings just a month earlier.
Arizona running back J.J. Taylor, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, rushed for 192 yards for his third straight 100-yard game. Over his past two games, Taylor has carried the ball 70 times for 404 yards.
The game was close down the stretch before Arizona’s defense took control as Troy Young intercepted Colorado quarterback Steven Montez near the goal line with just over five minutes remaining in the game and the Wildcats clinging to a 42-34 lead. Starting on its own 1-yard line, Arizona reeled off three first downs and killed off the remaining time on the clock.
Down 26-24 at halftime, Colorado scored early in the third quarter on a Montez 20-yard touchdown pass to Tony Brown, giving the Buffaloes a 31-26 lead.
Arizona followed just over two minutes later with another big play, Tate’s fourth touchdown pass and second of the game to Shawn Poindexter for 39 yards to make it 32-31 after a failed 2-point conversion.
After a Colorado punt, Arizona extended its advantage as Josh Pollack hit a 41-yard field goal with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
Colorado kicker Tyler Francis booted a 48-yard field goal to end the third quarter to keep the Buffaloes close, trailing 35-34.
It was then that the junior Tate took over yet again. He got loose for a season-high 25-yard run on third-and-7 at his own 16, then hit Cedric Peterson for a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the next play to give Arizona a 42-34 lead with 13:04 left.
Colorado’s offense stalled, but was given another chance after Derrion Rakestraw intercepted a Tate pass with 7:22 left. But two minutes later, Arizona’s Young stepped in front of a Montez pass at the 1-yard line for the game-clinching interception.
The first half was much like the second half.
Colorado could have scored on its first possession after punt returner Ronnie Blackmon returned a punt 59 yards to Arizona’s 14-yard line. Colorado reached the UA 6-yard line before it was stopped on fourth down.
Colorado did take advantage of its second possession, scoring on an 11-play, 66-yard drive to eventually take a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After an Arizona fumble, Colorado was able to extend its lead to 10 on a 25-yard field goal by Tyler Francis.
Arizona eventually tied it at 10 on a Stanley Berryhill III 40-yard touchdown reception from Tate early in the second quarter, then took a 17-10 lead on Poindexter’s first touchdown reception of the game from 1 yard out.
The score went back and forth, with Arizona taking the lead at halftime on an Lucas Havrisik 55-yard field goal at the gun, making it 26-24.
Colorado played without star wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., who missed his second consecutive game with a toe injury.
—Field Level Media