KELLY: Can Tate finish the deal?

Tate did run the ball much in 2018 but he threw it effectively

Tate leaned on a friend

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s now or never for Arizona Wildcats senior quarterback Khalil Tate.

Injuries effectively killed his 2018 Heisman Trophy run as the Wildcats sputtered to a 5-7 record and lost out on a chance to play in a bowl game when they blew a 19-point 4th quarter lead and lost to rival Arizona State.

Tate admittedly due to his injured ankle, and other injuries we’ve learned of from a recent Sports Illustrated article, did not run the ball well last season.

But I judge a quarterback by their passing numbers and his numbers through the air were not that bad at all.

I laid out last season five statistical passing categories and the numbers I wanted to see Tate hit in those areas.

Tate met the benchmarks in four of those five categories.

Here is how he fared. The first number was my expectation. The second number is what he did:

  • (25) Touchdown passes (26)
  • (10) Interceptions (8)
  • (55%) Completion percentage (56)
  • (150) Quarterback rating (150)
  • (7) 300-yard passing games (3)

300-yard passing games was the only area in which Tate did not hit the benchmark.

And if you re-calibrate the numbers based on the fact he really only played ten games, that seven comes down to five and he almost hit that number as he had two games where he finished with 294 yards (Washington State) and 282 yards (Arizona State).

My expectations for this year don’t change on the passing side.

If I had to throw out total yardage numbers I want to see from Tate, I’ll stay with my comparison of him to Lamar Jackson.

  • Passing: 3,500 yards
  • Rushing: 1,500 yards

Kyler Murray by comparison last season at Oklahoma:

  • Passing: 4,400 yards
  • Rushing: 1,000 yards

But it ultimately comes down to winning. And the area that concerns me most with Tate is his performance in the 4th quarter.

The senior does not have any 4th quarter comeback wins and the only game where he made significant plays late to win a game was the 2017 overtime victory at California.

Can Khalil Tate be a closer in his senior year? We will find out starting August 24.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

David Kelly understands Khalil Tate has to run to be successful, although he still would prefer not to see it.
David Kelly understands Khalil Tate has to run to be successful, although he still would prefer not to see it.