Wildcats fall to BYU in home opener.

By: Justin Pierce

With a new look to the Wildcats, Arizona Football struggles to get any rhythm going at home as they fall to the Cougars in the season opener 28-17.


Both teams struggled to get anything going early as they were both held scoreless through one quarter. BYU broke the scoreless game with a one-yard touchdown run by Squally Canada to put the Cougars up 7-0 early in the second quarter with just under ten minutes left. The Wildcats responded with a 24-yard field-goal by Lucas Havrisik to cut the BYU lead to 7-3. The Wildcats end the first half with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Khalil Tate to Tony Ellison to give Arizona a 10-7 lead at the half.


BYU had a strong third quarter as they went on a 21-0 run in the third quarter. Tanner Mangum threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Matt Bushman. This was followed by a pair of touchdown runs by Squally Canada as he gets a two-yard touchdown run and a one-yard touchdown run.


The Wildcats headed into the fourth quarter down 28-10. Khalil Tate gets a marquee two-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The lead was cut down to 28-17. Khalil Tate converted a big pass to Shawn Poindexter on a fourth down opportunity late in the fourth quarter to set up a J.J. Taylor one-yard touchdown run. Arizona failed on the two-point conversion to keep it a two-possession game as Arizona trailed 28-23 with just over three minutes left. BYU was able to convert a big third down play to keep the ball late and secure the win for the Cougars as they win 28-23.


The game was highlighted early on both teams looking to find themselves early as both teams played well defensively early on. BYU took control in the second half as they ran all over Arizona’s defense early in the second half. Arizona could not find their identity on offense late in the second half. Although, they closed the gap late in the game. That did not stop the Cougars from securing a big road win to open up the season.


Arizona quarterback, Khalil Tate, had 34 pass attempts the game, the second most attempts he has had in a single game. When asked about his high number of pass attempts, Tate responded with a simple explanation


“Part of being a quarterback is throwing the ball, so I think that’s something I have to do.” Tate said.


Arizona Head Coach Kevin Sumlin went over BYU scheme against Khalil Tate from the game.


“What we saw from them today was going to be a little different, but I certainly put together a blueprint with the way they play defense with the edges and not really attacking the inside” explained Sumlin.


“Once we got the spread formations, instead of trying to get to the perimeter all the time with the big guys, we were able to run it pretty effectively inside the second half.”


The Wildcats visit the University of Houston next week as this game will be nationally televised on ABC with kickoff at 9am MST.