TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Game No. 1 did not go as planned for the Arizona Wildcats.
Khalil Tate ran the ball just eight times.
Now you know I'm not a fan of quarterbacks running the football. It's why I prefer having a drop-back passing quarterback to a dual-threat signal caller.
I have however resigned myself to the fact that if Tate is going to be the guy for Arizona, you have to run him to be successful.
It's what he does best.
The downside will be what happened last November in Tempe. UA lost a game they were in control of after Tate left due to an injury he suffered on a running play.
Let's play with some numbers.
Last season Khalil Tate averaged 14 runs per game in amassing 1,411 yards on the ground for the Wildcats.
Here's what some of the top dual-threat college quarterbacks of recent memory averaged in terms of carries per game:
NOTE: Some of these are over a career and some are over primary season/s as a starter
- (19) Cam Newton
- (17) Lamar Jackson
- (14) Dak Prescott
- (14) B.J. Denker
- (13) Johnny Manziel
- (12) Brett Hundley
- (11) Baker Mayfield
- (10) Anu Solomon
- (9) Matt Scott
Seven of these nine quarterbacks listed above have played or will play in the NFL.
Newton has obviously had tremendous success in the league, leading the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl.
Prescott guided the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-win regular season in 2016.
Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner, is the quarterback I most like to compare Tate.
I certainly don't want to see Khalil used extensively as a runner, to the tune of a Newton, but I think realistically in games that matter you have to utilize him in that aspect at least 12-15 times per game.
He's UA's most dynamic offensive threat.
Those extra four-to-seven carries last Saturday night could have been the difference between losing to BYU and beating the Cougars.
You have to believe that if given enough chances, Tate will eventually break a big run.
In terms of the passing game, here's what I want to see from Tate this season:
- (7) 300-yard passing games
- (25+) touchdown passes
- (-10) interceptions
- (55%) completion percentage
- (150) quarterback rating
Test No. 2 is bright and early in the Houston heat on Saturday morning.