Sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate has resurrected the Wildcats' offense. Now Arizona could be a dark horse contender for the Pac-12 South title

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No. 15 WSU Cougars (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) vs. Arizona (5-2, 3-1)

When/Where: Saturday, Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m. P.T., Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network/710AM

Latest line: WSU favored by 2.5 points

Coach: Rich Rodriguez was hired by Arizona in November 2011, making this his sixth season. But after going 3-9 last year, the sentiment was that he’d need a good 2017 season to ensure his long-term job security. The Wildcats got off to a 2-2 start before they discovered the wunderkind that is sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate. Since Tate became the starter on Oct. 7 against Colorado, the Wildcats have caught fire. Arizona has won its last three games, and that record includes close shaves against Colorado and Cal that swung Arizona’s way. Arizona looks like it could be a dark horse contender for the Pac-12 South title.

Star Players:

QB Khalil Tate: Making his first career start in Arizona’s 45-42 win over Colorado, Tate sparked the Wildcats’ offense, running for 327 yards on 14 carries to set a new NCAA rushing record for a quarterback. He scored four touchdowns and averaged 23.4 rushing yards per carry, and he hasn’t slowed since. Tate followed up with a 230-rushing yard two rushing touchdown effort against UCLA, and is now coming off a third-straight 100-yard rushing performance after reeling off 137 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in the double-overtime win over Cal. But Tate is the epitome of a Rich Rod-style dual threat quarterback. He’s completed 72 percent of his passes for 509 passing yards and four passing scores in the last three games, and is indisputably the biggest threat on the Wildcats’ offense.

RB J.J. Taylor: Taylor was ejected for targeting in the first half of last weekend’s win over Cal, but he’ll be back to face the Cougars. Taylor is the Wildcats’ second leading rusher behind Tate, though, notably, his 366 rushing yards are less than half of Tate’s 780. The 5-foot-6, 180-pound redshirt freshman is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but has only scored two touchdowns this season.

LB Colin Schooler: Schooler broke up Cal QB Ross Bowers’ final pass attempt in the end zone to preserve a 45-44 2OT win for the Wildcats. The 6-foot, 226-pound freshman mike linebacker technically splits time with senior Brandon Rutt, but he’s started the last three games and has been a revelation for Arizona. He is second on the defense with 4.5 tackles-for-loss and he leads Arizona with 15 tackles and a forced fumble in the win over Cal.

By the numbers:

561 – Offensive yards Wildcats have averaged in the last three games since Tate became starting quarterback.

45.6 – Points the Wildcats have averaged in the last three games under Tate.