Arizona’s hopes of winning the Pac-12 South likely ended with last week’s loss to USC, but the squad still holds the unofficial crown as the nation’s most exciting team. Dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate looks to get Arizona back in the win column Saturday against visiting Oregon State, which has lost seven straight and ranks last in the league in scoring at 20.7 points per game.
Tate has rushed for 100-plus yards and at least one touchdown in five consecutive games to lead the Wildcats, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with last Saturday’s 49-35 loss to the Trojans. The dual-threat sophomore has accumulated 1,890 yards of total offense over the last five contests but threw two interceptions and lost a fumble before engineering a comeback effort in the loss to USC. Arizona leads the Pac-12 in rushing at 327 yards per game and heads into Saturday’s matchup looking to avenge last season’s 42-17 loss to Oregon State in Corvallis. The Beavers have won just two games since then and fell to 0-3 under interim coach Cory Hall with last Saturday’s 37-22 loss to California.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Arizona -22
ABOUT OREGON STATE (1-8, 0-6 Pac-12): The Beavers lost their 17th consecutive road game last Saturday despite a stellar effort from senior inside linebacker Manase Hungalu, who was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-high 20 tackles. The Beavers have been more competitive since Hall took over for Gary Andersen, but the defense failed to slow down Cal running back Patrick Laird (career-high 214 yards) and faces another tough challenge against Tate. Hall will look to control the clock against the explosive Wildcats, which could mean a heavy workload for running back Ryan Nall.
ABOUT ARIZONA (6-3, 4-2): The Wildcats gave up five sacks against USC and allowed more than 600 yards for the second straight week, but there also were encouraging signs during an 11-minute span in the second half, when they erased a 22-point deficit with four touchdowns. Safety Dane Cruikshank recorded 10 tackles and an interception in the loss, giving Arizona 20 forced turnovers in nine games. The young secondary includes linebacker Tony Fields II, who tied his career high with 11 tackles against USC and leads all Pac-12 freshmen with 69 tackles.
1. Arizona leads the all-time series 22-15-1, but Oregon State has won six of the last seven meetings in Tucson.
2. Oregon State LB Bright Ugwoegbu will miss the first half after the junior was ejected in the third quarter of last Saturday’s game for targeting.
3. Arizona has rushed for 200 or more yards in seven straight games and eight of nine contests this season.
PREDICTION: Arizona 41, Oregon State 24